Honesty, diligence, open-mindedness – keys to finding the “best-fit” talent for your business

FitForCommerce’s Recruiting Service developed “organically” as a result of requests by clients to help find “best-fit” talent. FitForCommerce consultants help hundreds of companies define and execute strategies to grow their businesses significantly. And, as any good businessperson knows, you need more than technology to grow your business; you need people. Highly-skilled, highly-motivated, smart, hard-working people – who understand and internalize your goals and are a good fit for your organization. Since we knew the clients, their strategies, their goals and their culture, they would ask FFC to help the find those people. And our Recruiting Service was born. FitForCommerce leverages its strong network, other ecommerce communities, and recruiting tools, to provide good hiring options to our clients. Because of our extensive reach and our place in the industry, often these candidates are people FFC has known and worked with in various capacities over the years.

What have we learned works best?

Honesty: Don’t sugarcoat anything.

It’s important to give a “warts and all” view of your company – the culture, the role, the opportunity.

If you paint an overly-pretty picture, you risk the candidate being disappointed when s/he sees the reality. You won’t be able to fool them for long. It’s better that you are very open with the challenges or problems s/he is likely to face. That way, you’ll hire someone who is “forewarned” and someone who feels energized by the challenges. That is what you want – someone who feels that the job isn’t for everyone; that she or he is the one who can take it on and be successful. Be clear that it takes a special “right fit” for this job.

Be honest about your culture. Don’t say you want an “agent of change”, if you and/or senior management aren’t really going to support that. That candidate will always feel like a square peg in a round hole, and be frustrated by lack of support for what senior management said they wanted.

Same for investments. Don’t entice someone by promising big plans for capital investment, hiring a team, etc., if you are not really committed to doing that. It’s fine if investment is not in your plans – but you need to say that up front. You don’t want the candidate to feel it was a bait-and-switch. In the end, they’ll be disappointed and frustrated … and will probably leave. That is a waste of time for everyone involved.

Diligence: Dig deep! And then dig again.

Dig deep on the relocation issue – multiple times!

Even if the spouse is saying “yes! I would love to move to XYZ town/state” – push harder. More than one deal has fallen apart after the job acceptance because, when the reality hits, it turns out the spouse doesn’t really want to move. Invest in a trip for the candidate and spouse to your town; chat with him/her yourself.

Dig deep into their management capabilities. Be sure to get at least one reference from someone who reported to the candidate. Do “back door” reference checks, when possible. This is important, not just because you want the candidate to be an effective manager, but because you don’t want your good employees to quit because you’ve hired someone who ends up being a bad manager.

Dig deep into what the candidate REALLY wants versus what they are saying they want. Sometimes, candidates are so eager to get an offer that they are not honest enough about what they are looking for (role, compensation, culture, level, etc.). Again, that will lead to disappointment and, potentially, the new hire resigns after precious time has been wasted.

Open-mindedness: Don’t have a fixed image of the candidate.

Ecommerce / Omnichannel commerce is still a relatively new industry. That makes an apples-to-apples comparison of job levels/titles/expertise challenging. A Director of Ecommerce at a billion-dollar multichannel retailer is not the same as Director of Ecommerce at a $50 million one. For example, the Director at the large retailer is probably more experienced at navigating within a big corporation but might be less hands-on than the director at the smaller retailer. Someone who owns all of ecommerce at a smaller company might become frustrated at trying to “influence manage” and achieve goals in a complex, matrixed organization.

Look at the candidate’s experience, level of responsibility and “soft skills” to determine what role or level s/he will fit in in your organization. Focus on the roles and responsibilities and culture – and not the titles.

Being in sync with respect to your culture and your goals/strategy is more important than having every box on the “dream candidate requirements” list checked. Expect that the right candidate can learn or hire for some of the “nice to have’s” on the list.

Be open-minded. If this person isn’t exactly what you had in mind, it doesn’t mean s/he’s not a great fit. Maybe you have an image based too much on the previous person in the role or an “ideal” that doesn’t exist. Maybe someone who might shake things up a little would be good. Maybe not.