As HR consultants and professional recruiters, we have seen many of the hiring mistakes made by companies. This is often when we are called in to do a proper recruitment search. Finding someone to just fill a seat at your company isn’t really that hard. But if you are serious about finding great people who fit with your culture, who share your vision and who can make immediate and lasting contributions, you should examine your hiring processes. We often see very poor hiring processes in the larger companies too, so, it’s not just the small guys who aren’t hiring the right candidate!
Here are 3 key things to consider so that you can significantly improve the quality of your hires.
Proper Planning – Don’t rush the hiring process
One trait many companies share is a lack of time. Simply stated – there are no substitutions or short cuts when it comes time to hire. As painful as it may be, a very important factor in hiring top notch candidates is allotting the required time to the process. Schedule it in your day just like you would a client meeting or a business transaction. One common mistake in companies is to treat it as a one off type project, ie) gather all the resumes over 2-3 weeks, then start going over the pile. A better way to do this is to look at resumes as they come in and categorize them in terms of initial screening grade, I use a very simple A,B or C, with a few A- and B+’s in there. A’s and most B+’s are suitable for an interview. If I see something that doesn’t add up on an otherwise interview able candidate, I will call them and clarify it. This way you can keep a running tab on what type of candidates are applying, and you can get better insight also into how to initially screen or grade them. Then, at the end of the week, review your selections and short-list a group of candidates to phone screen.
For those candidates who pass the phone screen, take an hour at the end of the day to email and invite them to a face-to-face job interview. Always, without exception, meet job applicants in person. Let them know the times you have available. Because interview durations can vary in length depending on the position you’re trying to fill, plan accordingly for high-level candidates who may require a longer interview. Typically, a complete and reasonably thorough interview is not less than 45-60 minutes. If you still have quite a few candidates and need to save time, consider using a free video chat program like Skype to conduct a remote interview.
Proper recruitment requires a significant investment of your time. A company can only grow as fast as it can hire excellent people. To a large degree, the success of your business depends upon your commitment to the hiring process, and ultimately hiring excellent, good fit high performing employees.
Know Exactly what you are looking for and Write a Better Job Posting
Internet access provides candidates literally millions of jobs out there all competing for a potential employee’s attention. A job seeker can now quickly search by keyword, industry, location and other criteria, and instantly have access to millions of job ads before deciding to apply for only a handful of positions. To capture the attention of the most qualified candidates in the internet job ad marketplace, your job posting needs to stand out.
Job postings are your first opportunity to make a significant impression on a potential candidate. Many businesses don’t have a huge degree of widespread brand awareness, and many well-known companies don’t always reconcile their external personality with their recruiting materials. No matter the size of your company, job postings should reflect your culture.
Is your company cool, innovative, and entrepreneurial? Or do you pride yourself on your solid reputation and traditional business atmosphere? The type of employee who will be a good fit in a start-up tech firm or a fast-paced advertising agency will probably be different from a good fit at a manufacturing plant or an accounting firm. Be honest about your company’s culture and your hiring needs. The tone of your writing should reflect that: it can be playful, humorous, or straightforward. Think about your audience; what would catch the attention of someone you’d want to hire? What would inspire them, and what would they want to know about your company?
Candidate fit to Company is VERY Important; Screen for it
Some recent research studies have concluded that up to 35% of newly hired employees leave voluntarily or involuntarily before the end of their first year. And the number has been increasing steadily for the last four years. The main reason is poor culture fit. Culture fit has a lot to do with how an employee is managed or how the employee expects to be managed by their direct supervisor or manager.
Culture fit is significantly important in any company, but is especially important for small and medium-sized businesses. Small and medium-sized businesses need versatile people with a hunger to succeed and an ability to hit the ground running. Personality clashes tend to have a bigger impact in smaller companies, because one person in a 20-person staff already makes up 5% of the company. A poor culture fit drains organizational effectiveness, kills employee morale, and stifles creativity.
The bottom line is that employees who aren’t fully engaged with your company culture won’t give their best on the job. They may not pay attention to the work at hand, may call in sick more frequently, and may miss important project deadlines that can impact the company. Their performance could negatively affect other employees. Additionally, they can be quite expensive; a poor hire will cost a business anywhere from 1-3 times the employee’s annual salary.
A good way to screen for cultural fit is to conduct behavioral based interviews. Ask questions that uncover competencies that you can’t train for, like being a self-starter, possessing good judgment, or having personal integrity. Make sure to conduct a thorough background and reference check before making an offer. Test these culture fit questions with previous employers.
It may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it will pay off by ensuring that you hire and retain employees who will work well in your company environment over the longer term.