I am sharing my OPINIONS here because I was an
HR novice till the day I retired.
Hiring is fun.
We hired most of the staff we had through the grapevine. Ads and Services turned up lots of bad-fit people. We found it better to ask other architects if they knew of someone who might be interested. I stayed involved in the local AIA long past the ‘Best by’ date to have contact with other architects just to have a leg up when hiring.
Bear in mind that the most hiring we ever did was two people in one year. Usually we had a need every three years or so. If you differ a lot, keep that in mind.
My first boss after college had an outlook on the appropriate number of staff that said you should always be ‘one person short’. Of course, this means lots of overtime occasionally, but it is safer financially.
What do you look for in the job candidates that you interview?
Strangely, a great match with the level of experience that you need is not the main criteria. It is second or third. What I found is that it was more important that the person was a /learner/ and had a good /cultural fit/.
It isn’t easy to determine how much of a learner a person is. If a candidate thinks you value something, don’t be surprised to find they have it. You have to read between the lines. It also matters that their learning is related to architecture. Architecture is such a deep field of study that there isn’t time to be a budding musician, a master gardener, or a cabinet maker. So you are looking for someone who has deeper skills than they would ordinarily have at their experience level. Investing in themselves is another aspect of being a learner. A learner is going to get better and better. A non-learner is going to just get by.
I am assuming that you aren’t a firm of 20+, but one of the majority of firms that have less than 10 people. In a small group, it is my opinion that you don’t have the time or resources to be distracted by people problems. This isn’t about race, religion, disabilities or foreign cultures. This is about the candidate’s willingness to become a member of your little group. You have your own culture that is expressed in your attitude towards: punctuality, accuracy, work ethic, general ethics and grooming. You should feel very comfortable about the candidate’s ability to fit in - with your firm and with your firm’s clients.
There is one tool that can help you choose the right candidate. The Kolbe Profile. Check out this post for more about Kolbe.
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