Intentional hiring is the practice of developing a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a candidate before you start to hire. It allows you to actively seek out the best possible candidate, instead of passively accepting whoever applies for the position.
Intentional hiring gives you control over your hiring process, rather than letting it control you. By overhauling your approach to finding and onboarding new employees, you can attract the best candidates and find the right fit for a position with greater efficiency.
In an ideal world, all your hiring decisions would be made with intentional hiring. This means that each new job opening would be met with a carefully crafted job description and an equally thorough plan for how to find someone who meets its requirements.
Unfortunately, many business owners use reactive hiring—filling open slots as they arise without taking time to develop a strategy—instead of intentional hiring, limiting their potential growth.
When you practice intentional hiring, you allow yourself the flexibility to grow rapidly when the time is right.
Intentional hiring ensures that you get the right person, in the right role, at the right time. It’s also a lot more efficient than casting a broad net and hoping for the best. The better your definition of an ideal candidate, the easier it will be to communicate it clearly in your job description—and attract candidates who can fulfill that description once hired.
It’s important to build a strong employer brand, too. What are the benefits of working for your company? How does this position fit into your organization’s overall goals? What kind of culture do you want to cultivate? Answering these questions will help you attract candidates who are genuinely invested in your mission.
Let’s take a look at today’s intentional hiring practices and how implementing them into your recruitment strategy can benefit your organization.
The first step to intentional hiring is defining your ideal candidate, including what they should look like on paper, how they should perform in an interview, and so on. This step helps you focus on what’s important without getting caught up in unproductive buzzwords like “passionate” or “driven.”
It may seem counterintuitive that defining your perfect candidate would help you find a better hire. However, it pushes your team to think about what exactly makes someone successful in the role you’re trying to fill, which means that when you bring in candidates, everyone will know why they fit.
Job descriptions are the first step of recruitment. They’re your chance to entice potential employees who may not have known about your company to apply for a position there.
Be clear about the responsibilities of the position and what you expect from an applicant’s résumé.
The more detailed you can be about what an employee will do on a daily basis and how they’ll fit into the larger team, the more likely it is that applicants will self-select based on whether they’d actually enjoy doing the job (and thus be more dedicated to their work once hired).
Be honest about any disadvantages or drawbacks of working at your company. If some things are less than ideal but can’t be changed (such as being required to work weekends), call them out in your job description.
People will appreciate your honesty when you’re upfront with them from the start, and this should result in higher chances of finding suitable employees during your search.
The most common mistake in interviewing is failing to ask the right questions. As part of the intentional hiring process, it’s important to ask questions that will give you a better sense of the candidate’s abilities, values, and objectives in the workplace.
Too often, hiring managers ask candidates what they think are insightful questions, only to find that they don’t elicit useful answers. Many interview questions focus on irrelevant information or fail to provide sufficient context for meaningful answers.
Instead, try asking open-ended questions designed to facilitate discussion, like “Which of our company’s core values do you align with most closely?”
This type of question requires more than a single-word response, and it allows the candidate to demonstrate their reasons for wanting to be part of your company. It also reveals whether their values and vision align with those of your team.
Intentional onboarding is designed to guide new employees through their first year in a way that will help them feel comfortable and confident.
You may even want to design your ideal first 90 days, then the first 180 days, and so on. By designing an intentional road map for each new employee, you can increase retention.
It’s a win-win for everyone, helping your new employees integrate with ease while providing maximum value for your company as they learn the ins and outs of their new position.
As you think about hiring a new employee, you should also think about the rest of the team and how this new hire will fit in with your overall company culture.
You want to find someone who will complement your team and help take your organization to the next level. You want everyone to get along and work together toward a common goal. And, you want to make sure that person is coming from the same place as you, that they share a similar vision for what you’re trying to accomplish.
There’s more to hiring than meets the eye: It’s not just about filling a vacant role with the first person who can do the job.
If you want to find people who will fit in with your company culture, work well with others, and become leaders over time, implementing the right intentional hiring strategies can change the way you find new employees and enhance your onboarding process.