In today’s world of employment, choosing the right candidate for an open position can be an arduous task for most businesses. The time and effort needed to fill open positions with the right hires is proving to be time consuming and costly even when making the right decision. Selecting the wrong candidate can result in higher turnover; have a negative impact on workplace morale; and reduce an organization’s overall productivity. The Harvard Business Review recently pointed out that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. Getting the decision right up front has never been more important. Getting it wrong has never before been more costly. A hiring strategy for getting it right includes some simple but important fundamental elements.
Revaluate and verify requirements. With the ongoing impact of a poor performing economy on business, few if any existing job descriptions reflect the reality of today’s workplace environments. The need to downsize has resulted in the need to increase the scope of the retained positions, making past job descriptions obsolete. Revaluating and identifying the true needs and wants of the organization is a critical first step in an effective hiring strategy. As with any formula, importing flawed data can only produce flawed results.
Use all the tools and resources available. Making a hiring decision should not be the sole purview of any one individual or singular departmental function. Consultation and collaboration will improve the outcome of the final hiring decision. Involving others in the interviewing process will help flush-out a prospective candidate’s qualities and capabilities and identify candidates that will better fit the organization’s culture and workplace climate.
Don’t rely on “seat of the pants” technology alone. The “he or she feels right to me, hire them” approach is still being practiced, even in the most trendy of companies. But using computers and software (big data) to objectively evaluate a candidate’s skills, experience and knowledge can be very effective to objectively determine the suitability of a candidate and will remove undesirable bias from the hiring process. Choosing the right data tool will enhance the decision making process and will focus the hiring efforts on the organization’s specific goals and objectives.
Don’t overlook the intangibles. A candidate’s skill set isn’t limited to functional, “hard skills” capabilities but also includes how well he or she works in a collaborative environment. Overlooking or down-playing the importance of soft skills such as leadership and communication may result in a missed opportunity for capturing a very desirable employee.
Cultivate the personal connection. Identifying a strong resume or profile is just one aspect of a successful hiring formula. Establishing and cultivating a personal relationship during the interview cycle will reveal important character traits not readily identifiable on a job seeker’s written document. Casual personal conversation often permits an interviewer the opportunity to ask open-ended questions and to get a deeper understanding of the candidate’s personal qualifications and attributes that determine an applicant’s qualifications for satisfying the company culture requirements.
Ask for the sale. In this very competitive job market and economy, qualified people are in high-demand. The best candidates have multiple opportunities, making marketing an important part of the process of hiring and retaining qualified talent. Selling your favorite candidate on the features and benefits of your organization may be the most important factor for a job seeker’s decision. Show them why they should choose your organization over a competitor. Present a desirable and competitive sales pitch and ask for the sale.