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Recruit, Motivate, Elevate, and Retain the Best BC Professionals

Thu, 08/31/2006 - 8:00pm
Cheyene Haase

Staffing correctly is essential to the success of every business continuity program. Without the right people to develop, implement, and roll out your program, your organization could be left in the lurch during a time of crisis. Working with human resources or as a hiring manager, you will need to understand your organization, team, and BC program requirements and use these as a benchmark to evaluate the candidates you are recruiting, interviewing, and, ultimately, hiring.

Identify Your Company BC Staffing Needs

The smartest employers are strategic with their staffing initiatives. They invest the time up front to understand clearly what their company and team needs in order to achieve success. Without this initial assessment, you could find yourself changing your staffing needs and requirements during the interview process, which means lost time in your efforts. In a worst-case scenario, you could find yourself hiring someone who fails to meet your company, team, or program needs. As a hiring manager, it is crucial that you invest the time up front and evaluate four factors to ensure a smart hire:

  1. Determine what your (company and team) BC program needs are today and what they're likely to be tomorrow. It is important to understand the goals of your BC program, appropriately budget the time needed to accomplish these goals, and evaluate the number of professionals needed to execute your objectives.
  2. Next, the company culture must be considered. Not every professional will work within your company culture. For example, process-oriented individuals who require a structured environment will not last long in a dynamic, fast-paced organization.
  3. Then, the current BC program team personalities must be assessed. As an example, there are leaders and doers. A successful team will not function properly if everyone is a leader or everyone is a doer. Your team should consist of a mixture of personalities without causing friction.
  4. Finally, you should determine the skill sets, expertise, and competencies required and preferred with your next hire. Assess your current team in regards to skill sets and expertise and determine if there are any missing gaps that may be required of your future hire(s). What expertise and competencies will add value to your current team as well as to your organization?

Follow A Systematic, Documented Screening Process

Once you have determined your company, program, and team needs and you have defined the skill sets, expertise, and competencies required and preferred with your next hire(s), you are ready to begin the search process. A defined, systematic documented process begins with an accurate job description and continues with the interview and screening process. Following a documented process will save you time and ensure that you are recruiting for the expertise and competencies that you have already identified.

The Job Description

One of the most common recruiting mistakes made by hiring managers today is a direct result of a faulty job description. Job descriptions quickly become outdated and many hiring managers fail to ensure that their job description is communicating the right message. In many cases, a hiring manager will share the job description and then explain in a telephone conversation the type of professional they "really" desire. Many of these hiring managers seem shocked that they are not attracting the right talent via their Internet job posting. And many candidates may have noticed the job description but never submitted their resume because the position either seemed beneath them or not challenging enough. In some cases, the job description may have even erroneously communicated the company's lack of commitment to the BC program. Taking the time in writing a complete, accurate job description up front will enhance your ability to attract the talent you require. The job description communicates to new employees not only the job requirements and expertise required and preferred, but also conveys a message about your company, your program, and you as a manager. A complete job description should include the following:

  • Position details (job title, location, salary details and reporting structure (hiring manager job title, business line and reporting department)
  • Company information
  • Position summary (should communicate the purpose of the position or key objectives)
  • Primary responsibilities
  • Key relationships (should include a list of groups the new hire will interact with and their involvement/focus with each group)
  • Key performance indicators (should list objectives that will be used to assess the new hire's performance during annual and semi-annual reviews)
  • Required experience
  • Desired or preferred experience
  • Competencies, (including core company competencies, continuity competencies, and technical competencies. Each competency may have a rating of importance to the position.)
  • Physical requirements

A well-written job description should communicate the level of BC personnel you are seeking to hire and at the same time, it must allow for flexibility in the hiring process. Always be careful what you list as required experience. For example, you could be missing out on some top BC talent if you list that a specific degree is required but in reality, you would hire someone who exceeds many of the requirements but does not have that degree. Failure to maintain a flexible job description could lead to your HR department to discard top BC talent, or top BC professionals may never even respond to your job posting.

The Interview Process

A documented, systematic interviewing process is essential in accurately assessing a candidate's qualifications. Many hiring managers are uncertain about how to conduct a thorough interview. And it can be difficult to assess a candidate's credentials and qualifications in a short time frame. These days, savvy interviewees do their research up front in order to put their best foot forward come interview time. They know the answers you want, and they know how to portray themselves as competent and marketable. As a manager, it is crucial to develop a list of questions to use in accurately benchmarking the candidate's expertise and competencies to what you have already taken the time to identify up front. It is also important to develop a rating scale in order to effectively compare and assess the candidates to ensure the best hire.

Interview for the expertise you desire with open-ended questions. Develop questions that get interviewees talking about their experience and their involvement within previous programs. Ask questions like: "Tell me about this situation? How did you interact with the team on this project?" The more a candidate talks the more you learn about what they know and who they are. Behavioral interviewing techniques are recommended to interview for the competencies you have previously identified. Behavioral interviewing includes questions that can be used to assess how candidates reacted in previous situations in order to predict how they may react in the future. A sample series of questions may include: "Tell me about a situation when you were put under a lot of stress and your co-workers were not delivering on their piece of the project. What was your reaction? What was the outcome? What did you learn from this situation?"

A thorough interview process includes others from your team. Again, you want to be sure that your team can function as a team to achieve your company, team, and program goals. Thus, it is important to include your team and other key company contacts in the interview process. You can suggest a list of questions that are appropriate for each of these interviewers and include them in the rating scale. A panel of interviewers brings others into the selection process to help ensure the right candidate is selected for the job.

Creative Recruiting

With today's competitive staffing market, employers must be creative in their approach to identifying and recruiting top talent. Top BC professionals typically are not out hitting the pavement and posting their resumes on every job board. If you are advertising on the Internet, you will most definitely receive an overwhelming response, but most respondents won't even understand BCP. This will not only be frustrating, but it will also add time to your recruitment process as you and your HR department weed through hundreds of unqualified resumes.
So how do you find hidden top talent? The key is to continuously network. Hiring managers, like potential job seekers, must always be networking. The smartest of hiring managers keep in touch with those professionals they have identified as top talent regardless of whether they have a current opening for them. It is important to have a candidate pool at your finger tips at all times. Be sure to establish and maintain relationships with people within your organization, at your local associations, and at conferences. Hiring managers need to think outside of the box and seek out every opportunity to recruit.

Hiring the right person not only elevates your program, but it also helps you look good as a manager. Investing the necessary time up front will be invaluable later on in identifying, recruiting, and hiring the best BC professional for your company, team, and program. CI

Cheyene Haase is president of BC Management. She can be reached at (949) 250-8172 ext. 204.

Pull quote: With today's competitive staffing market, employers must be creative in their approach to identifying and recruiting the top BC talent. The top BC professionals are not typically out hitting the pavement with their resume posted on every job board.

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