Hiring well

by Jini Stolk

Hiring can involve both anticipation and anxiety. If you do it right, you can look forward to sunny days, basking in achievements and successes. If you don’t…it’s yours to fix.

Here are a few pieces of advice for managers and for board members undertaking what might be their most important job – hiring the right artistic or managing director.

This wonderful piece from Nonprofit Quarterly discusses the impact, positive or negative, of how a board handles a leadership hire, and provides step by step advice on how to get it right.

I’m entirely convinced by Vu Le’s arguments in favour of disclosing the position’s salary range in your job posting.

Apple’s Angela Ahrendt has developed guiding principles for hiring. She probes a candidate’s skills at collaboration and leadership, asking questions that reveal whether they’ll focus their energy on being an individual contributor, or on connecting and enabling a wider group, and whether they care more about their own success or about the greater good of the whole.

Adam Thurman suggests we borrow some of the criteria NASA uses to select astronauts when we select leaders and members of our artistic or administrative teams – including the ability to relate to others with sensitivity and regard; a sense of humor; an ability to form stable and quality relationships; and the ability to function normally despite imminent disaster (so genuinely useful in most arts organizations!)

This recruitment specialist emphasizes the need to listen, treat every interview as a meeting of equals, and stop asking stupid interview questions. Liz Ryan says that the interview as interrogation is a tired paradigm long past its prime, and that today’s employers need to “sell good candidates on your company,” helping them understand the culture and working style of the place from the get-go.

Here’s a hiring guide that discusses how to persuade candidates to leave their current jobs and work for you.

After conducting 10,000 senior staff interviews, executive recruiter James Citron still loves “the art of the interview”. This is a good and helpful read, whether you’re doing the interviewing or trying to land the perfect job.

Hiring for Keeps by Janet Webb was one of the Globe and Mail’s top leadership books of 2015. “One of the many ways we go wrong in hiring is not understanding the notion of fit; this book…explains what fit is and isn’t, how to build a job description that illuminates that critical feature, and how to conduct interviews that will reveal whether candidates actually fit the job and organization.”

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