The task facing the panel of wise heads appointed to choose the next All Blacks' coach before Christmas is bound to strike a chord with hiring managers everywhere.
Never mind that most of us will never have the international profile of panel member and World Cup-winning coach Sir Graham Henry – every hiring decision, whether it's made by a small business owner or the chief executive of a larger organisation, brings both opportunity and the weight of consequence with it.
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As we look to augment our teams, we all face our own versions of potential World Cup success – or failure. Put simply, none of us can afford to drop the ball on recruitment.
The All Blacks, of course, are governed by a well-documented set of core values, which tell us as much about the team as their on-field performances.
Here at Northland Inc, our values as an organisation are also paramount; accordingly, when we hire new staff, we are first and foremost seeking candidates who fit our values – the values of wellness, courage, honesty, inclusiveness, integrity and understanding.
No matter the size or profile of a business, these shared values are the glue that binds us together. It is essential that everyone buys into those values and feels comfortable with them.
The right set of values not only creates a high standard of integrity, it helps everyone within a business to step up. Getting this right is fundamental, both to the success of a company and the recruitment of its staff.
As the regional economic development agency, we assist many small businesses throughout the region, and it would be no exaggeration to say that the wrong hiring decision can often have a detrimental effect on the culture of a company.
So, how does a small business ensure that it avoids making that mistake?
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An effective way of finding someone who fits your values, we suggest, is to use an interview panel of three. Three is a good model for achieving both success and consistency when hiring, particularly as each member brings his or her own particular area of expertise to bear on the interviewing process.
When interviewing candidates, we always ask questions specifically tailored to find out how he or she would fit in around our values. This invariably involves asking questions outside the box; these are not designed to catch you out, but to provide an insight as to who you are, or how, for instance, you might react under stress or deal with conflict.
More importantly, it tells us what your own personal set of values might be and how they ally with ours.
Of course, you want your candidate to have a strong skill set, or see where their skill base is transferable or aligns with the job description. I believe that, while skills can often be taught, a good attitude at work is worth its weight in gold.
Businesses should also be looking for candidates who come well-prepared and have done their homework on the organisation, and even the people who are interviewing them.
A candidate must always be on time, relaxed and confident in his or her abilities. I've been interviewing for more than 20 years, and I'm always impressed by candidates who are eager to engage with us and ask questions of their own.
Another thing: a strong CV is not enough by itself, you still have to convince us that you're the right person for the job.
One way of doing this is to demonstrate your flexibility. These days in the work place, you are being asked more and more to perform other duties around your specific job, and you have to show us that you are capable of doing this, too.
The hirer must also be aware that the work place is evolving, and flexi hours or working from home are becoming an increasingly important structure of our working life.
Nowadays, the spotlight is trained not just on how companies attract staff but on how they retain them. If you want to attract the right people, you have to be forward thinking and, if you want to keep them, you have to be in step with modern work practices.
Choosing the right person for a job is never an exact science, and we all get it wrong from time to time. I've no doubt, however, that if you have a strong set of values at the heart of your interviewing procedure, you are more likely than not to pick the right person for the job – and to create your own winning team in the process.
• Tammy Fromont is Corporate Services Manager for Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency.