It is hard to believe, but fall is once again upon us.  For many companies, this season brings the kickoff for next year’s budgeting process and with it, the identification of talent needs.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1.     Make sure you are hiring for the right reasons.

Before you begin your search for a new employee, take time to ask yourself, “Why do I need this person?”  Is the company growing, requiring more staff to cover the additional work?  Did someone vacate a position? Are you backfilling gaps in areas that have needed more workers for some time?  Knowing why you are hiring will help you better articulate your expectations to potential candidates.

2.     Sell the company.

Candidates interview you, too, so you must be able to sell your company to a potential candidate.  Be sure you can articulate your company’s strengths, culture, and vision before you walk into the interview.   Ultimately, be prepared to answer the question, “Why would I want to work here?”

3.     Don’t oversell—be realistic.

That said, be careful not to oversell the position and the company.  It is important to manage candidates’ expectations and paint for them a clear picture of the position and the company.  If the boss is demanding or extra hours may be needed to complete the job, you need to communicate this information.  The last thing you want is to bring in new employees, train them on your company’s procedures, and have them leave because they felt they were misled.  This will result in having to go through the search process again.

4.     Conduct reference and background checks.

One of the easiest but often neglected areas of the interview process is conducting a thorough check into a candidate’s background.  It is important to check criminal, financial, and educational backgrounds before extending an offer, thereby avoiding any glaring issues that could come out after the candidate has been hired.

Asking for professional references from previous jobs is a must.  You can learn extremely valuable information such as work style and compatibility with others.  For instance, learning a candidate only likes to work independently, while your company believes in frequent collaboration, would be a red flag.  Finding a person who is a good “fit” is just as important as whether he or she can do the job.

5.     Consider hiring outside help.

When you are busy growing your business and attending to internal issues, you may not have the time to read hundreds of resumes and talk to numerous candidates.  Outsourcing this process to an expert will not only save you time but ultimately can help in finding the best person for the job.  The right firm will have your best interests at heart and thoroughly understand your company’s culture, industry, business goals, and skills needed for the job.  You should expect the search firm to streamline the process by screening potential candidates and presenting you the best three to five candidates.  The firm can also check references and perform background checks.