Most skilled leaders will tell you that one of the most important factors in building a successful loss prevention career is the ability to surround yourself with talented people. This information provides no profound revelation, as any time that we consider the concept of building or developing a team, we refer to the need for investing in talent. In fact, the idea of hiring talented people is often perceived as a “given.” We recognize the need to identify those with special aptitudes and/or superior abilities, secure those individuals as members of our team, and then work with the individual to develop those talents in a way that best serves the team, the individual and the organization.
But the idea of hiring “talent” isn’t enough. Everyone wants to hire “talent.” The problem is, we don’t simply hire talent—we hire people. We hire individuals with flaws as well as abilities, egos and insecurities, experiences and opportunities. There are no perfect candidates. It’s extremely rare that we find someone that has all of the talents and abilities that we’re looking for, the training, education, and experience that we hope to discover in a candidate, and the potential that we crave to develop all neatly packaged in an individual that is affordable, available, and attainable.
How do we go about hiring talented individuals? What makes an individual good at what they do? What skills should we look for? What questions should we ask? How do we go about separating skills and abilities from hype and professional propaganda? Many of us feel that we have the answers, yet almost all of us will admit to making hiring mistakes. We reflect back on the hiring process and recognize the warning signs of a bad hire. It may have been something we saw, something we failed to see, something we felt, a question we failed to ask, an answer that we neglected to probe, or some other tangible or intangible factor that led to a poor hiring decision.
Despite the importance that our hiring skills can have on the overall success of our programs, it is a skill that is often underdeveloped in many loss prevention professionals. Enhancing these skills can have a profound effect on your talents as a leader as well as the overall effectiveness of your department in general and your loss prevention career as a whole.
There is a reason why we refer to the exercise as a hiring process. Making quality hiring decisions requires a series of progressive steps that culminate in a successful partnership between a company and an employee, a department and a member of the team, and a supervisor and subordinate. Every step in the process requires careful planning and execution in order to arrive at the desired outcome:
- Identifying the need. We have to explore the different aspects of the position that we need to fill. This typically begins with a position job description, but should explore job elements and conditions beyond the fundamental job description in order to find the best possible candidates. Learn more
- Identifying the qualities that you are looking for in a potential candidate. This is much more complicated than simply identifying basic skills sets, and is as much a process of self-reflection and program assessment as it is a candidate search. Learn more
- Understanding the company’s hiring process. Knowing what steps are required and what resources are available to bring the potential candidate to the point of a successful hire will add necessary confidence and organization to the entire search process. Learn more
- Resume review. There is a skill to reading a resume beyond a simple reference to positions, experience, and education. This document holds a wealth of information and opportunity beyond the basic limits of a career summary. Learn more
- The interview process. Developing an interview style that asks the right questions—and reveals the right answers—is a process that requires planning and practice as well as a flexible approach to the conversation. Learn more
- Candidate recruitment. This is a critical aspect of the hiring process that is undervalued and often overlooked by the hiring leadership. A job search is a two-sided process that holds deep-seeded implications for the program, the company, and the relationship. Learn more
- Presenting the job offer. Having a plan for who will make the offer and how the job offer is made is a critical step that can have significant impact on the entire candidate search process. Learn more
- Securing the candidate. Having a plan for managing counter-offers and other potential influences that can impact a candidate’s decision will carry significant weight in the outcome of many searches. Knowing how to manage the transition will often determine the success of the search and securing the best candidate. Learn more
Building a quality loss prevention program requires having a strong team with strong leadership. This all begins by having the best possible individuals on your team that are talented, flexible, and capable of meeting your program needs. Understanding the value of the recruitment process and how to secure the best possible candidates is a skill that every leader should develop, and is essential to building a successful loss prevention career.