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7 Point Plan for Making Better Hires

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Did you know that companies spend an average of $3,300 to recruit for a single position?  All told, $72 billion is spent on recruiting and hiring in the U.S. every year.  And when new hires don’t work out, 80% of the turnover is attributed to bad hiring decisions (according to the Harvard Business Review).

If you can help your company make better hiring decisions, you’ll not only be saving your employer money.  You might prevent company culture from floundering and production from faltering, two other common side effects of bad hiring.  Take the below guidelines to heart to optimize hiring decisions to assure robust revenues and morale. Trying new strategies can be awkward at first, but over time using these systems will result in a higher ROI for each new hire.

1. Work it.  Just as the savviest among us network consistently so we’re not scrambling for contacts when we desire a new opportunity, employers should continually network and keep files on candidates before a position opens up.  It’s not that you want to edge out people who are performing well, but a healthy human resources strategy means considering alternates for each role at your company.

2. What does your company bring to the table?  Laundry lists of required skills, degrees, and certifications are so 1990.  I mean, sure, sometimes they’re absolutely necessary, but Journal of Business and Psychology findings suggest that job ads that focus on candidate needs translate into better hires than focusing on skill sets alone.  So don’t stop with retirement accounts and healthcare benefits.  Share what makes your workplace desirable–and if you don’t know, find out.  What is the company’s values?  Does your organization practice shared decision-making?  Is it a green workplace?  Are you data-driven or are flashes of insight appreciated? Is it more important to think inside or outside of the box?  Are continuing education and professional development actively supported?  What is the atmosphere of the company?  Flexible? Tight-knit?  To attract the strongest candidates, shore up your job ads by focusing on what you offer.

3. Define company culture.  Take the guesswork out of interviewing and selecting a candidate by taking the time to know your company’s values and, therefore, who you’re looking for.  What is your company’s perspective on people who work after 5pm–are they the good employees or bad time managers?   Are workers ever off duty–or are they expected to check email and voicemail on evenings, holidays, and weekends?  Is overtime optional, occasional, or required to complete daily duties?  What’s most prized in your organization: self-motivation, professional development, or networking? Determine interview questions based on knowledge of your company’s traits and values. Not only will you be in a better position to pick candidates after getting clear on company culture, but candidates can self-select better when you’re translucent with what you know.

4. Conduct a structured interview.  Why a structured interview?  Research says they’re most effective.  And they’re especially helpful at keeping your company out of litigation!  Structured interviews have the benefit of being less biased and more likely to indicate how someone will actually perform on the job.  In a survey of U.S. federal court cases from 1978 to 1997, 59% of unstructured interviews were deemed discriminatory, while structured interviews were deemed discriminatory in 0% of the cases.  Check out http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/plcy-pltq/guides/structured-structuree/index-eng.htm#n5.  Having a wide range of interviewers around the table–ideally including people who have done the job before or who will work closely with the new hire–is also in your best interests.

5.  Steer clear of Interviewspeak. Answers to thousands of interviewing questions can be found online.  If you want showmanship and stagecraft, ask your tired, worn out interview questions.  If you want an authentic encounter with someone who could deeply affect the fate of your organization, ask fresh questions.

6. Listen up. (Warning: this may seem obvious.) Although interviewees will tell you everything you need to know, it only helps your decision making process if you’re listening!  This means you have to stop talking at some point and let the candidate speak.  It’s especially important to allow ample time for your candidates’ questions–you may learn more here than you do from their answers!  After the interview, throw away your pro’s and con’s list and ask: Does she fit the company?  Does she fit the role?   This is the bottom line. If the answer to either of these questions is no, you may fill a position today, but tomorrow it could cost you big time.  Do not–I repeat, do not–hire for skill sets alone.  Only an individual whose values are congruent with your organization’s values can be successful in your organization.  By the way, this doesn’t at all mean looking for a clone of current employees.  Studies show that diversity makes teams smarter! 

7. Get to know your candidate then cut to the chase.  Employers are taking longer than ever to fill positions (an average of 25 to 58 work days).  Be careful not to take too long though….you might lose your top pick to the competition!

The costs of a bad hire can be devastating.  You can waste time, money, and employee and client morale.  Or you can learn to do a better job.  Please forward your tips for hiring success–and let me know if  any of these suggestions help improve your recruiting, interviewing, and hiring outcomes.