How to hire for a role you are unfamiliar with?

As a human resource (HR) or Talent acquisition, you are task to find the right person to match a job description, but what if you are hiring for a role you are not familiar with?

It is already challenging to find the right person who fits the job description and company’s culture. This is a common challenge for most hiring managers, recruiters or TAs, and having to recruit for a role you know little about could be more dreadful.

How can you make sure you comprehend the unfamiliar role and find the right candidates? Follow these 3 steps to get started:

 1. Research

Just like how you would approach a new project, research should be one of your first steps. Look for different resources to collect all the necessary information on the position, such as details from its day-to-day tasks to long-term goals. 
To start your research, reach out to your closest resource, the manager who is looking to hire. They will certainly give you a good scope on the role and the long-term goals they want. Otherwise, reach out to your professional network where they might already have good knowledge of the position you are recruiting for.
You can also reach out to the people who are working in the field or someone who does similar things from your company. Talking to someone who already has experience in the field will give you a better idea of how to approach the role from a job seeker’s perspective.

2. Conduct a thorough interview

After you gained a good understanding from the in-depth research, you should apply this knowledge during your interview with the candidate. While conducting the interview, here are the best practices you should follow for any non-regular roles.

Have a checklist. Use all the knowledge, experience and tasks you learn from step 1 during your resume screening and see which candidates suit the profile.

Look for both hard skills and soft skills. A good candidate should have a good balance of hard and soft skills. Hard skills are the quantifiable ability that can be learned; soft skills are based on behavioural and personality traits. A candidate with the right experience, knowledge and personality will be a good fit for the role and jump start on the first day.

Conduct the experimental interview. Experimental interviews are more than a traditional ones, it will involve the candidate to showcase their skills through demonstrations or assessments. For example, if you are hiring a graphic designer, you can ask them to do a design assignment. Or if you are looking for an administrative professional, you can test their Microsoft Office skills through an assessment. Then you can consult someone internally to determine if this candidate is a good fit based on these results.

3. Ask for feedback

When the hiring process is complete, pay attention to your new hire on the job. It is best to ask for feedback from the team manager and the candidate so you can improve on different areas of your hiring process in similar roles. 

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