The hiring process can be a mine field, with potential disaster at every turn. Following are some employment catastrophes to avoid:
- The Cloning Disaster—Hiring someone like yourself, or someone just like the person already in the position.
- The Stereotype Disaster—Believing administrative personnel are always women and maintenance personnel are always men. These are false assumptions and should be avoided.
- The “Candidate is too Strong” Disaster—Beware of telling a candidate he is overqualified or too strong for the position, which may be inadvertently telling him he is too old. Proceed with caution. When telling a candidate he didn’t get the job, simply say, “The candidate who most closely matches the skills and qualifications for the position was selected.”
- The “Halo Effect” Disaster—You single out the one thing you like in a candidate and it clouds your judgment. This is the same as allowing one thing you don’t like about an applicant to affect your decision. Always look at the big picture.
Making yourself aware of these disasters will make your recruiting process more efficient and help you avoid legal liability. Research indicates a fundamental key to business success is hiring, training and retaining quality employees.
The most effective recruitment methods produce a plethora of applicants to be sorted and qualified. A good human-resources department will maintain and administer the process with consistency. Even without a dedicated HR staff, a formal, communicated hiring policy will increase the likelihood of selecting the right candidate who has knowledge and experience to be an asset to your business.
Define Your Needs
Your first step is to evaluate the need to hire. If the open position is the result of a termination, consider absorbing merging it into another job description, changing it to part-time status, filling it on a temporary basis, or eliminating it entirely. When a new position is created as a result of increased responsibilities or workload, the company should ask if this is a good time to consider more efficiency and use current personnel.
Have a process to identify and prioritize job openings. Remember the importance of record-keeping in recruiting. Accurate documents need to be maintained for each step, including the job description, recruiting methods used, applications received, candidates interviewed, candidates chosen, and the reason for their selection. Good records will provide evidence for valid selection criteria, which will help reduce the risk of faulty hiring practices.
Sources of Applicants
There are a number of avenues open to businesses seeking recruits. One of the most popular is the Internet. Traditional venues, headhunters and newspapers now compete with web recruiters. Determine your needs—when you need the hire and what his skill sets must be—and select an applicant source that will best match your requirements. You may want to try several.
- First, look within your organization. The best candidate may be right in front of you. Job posting is another alternative. Then look at other existing candidates. Many of you have steady stream of unsolicited applicants who have submitted applications and resumes. Maintain a separate database for these applicants and don’t hesitate to use it.
- Consider friends of friends. Locating candidates by word-of-mouth is very effective. Contact vendors and customers to see if they know of anyone who may fit. Maintain a log of people who impress you with their contact information.
- Use a job hotline. A toll-free number may be a good way to share information about available positions. The number could be included on all advertising materials.
- The Internet is another great source. A recruiting bank on your website is a great way to advertise available positions.
- Schools are a good source of new applicants. Post jobs on bulletin boards and in campus publications.
- Job fairs have become popular as the labor market becomes more competitive. Attract applicants’ attention and make a lasting impression.
- Professional organizations are a good networking source. You can post jobs on their websites and bulletin boards.
- Outplacement companies offer a valuable source of job-seekers.
- Large local newspapers may get the greatest response, but they can be expensive and pull candidates from beyond your local area. If you choose this medium, avoid advertising on Sundays and holiday weekends to keep costs in check.
- Recruiting firms may save time, but can be very expensive.
- Unemployment offices can provide many applicants, but they will likely require extensive qualification and training.
The determination of salary is based on factors such as attitude, experience, education, aptitude and ethics. Consider paying a salary higher than the industry standard and including a performance bonus. This will almost always attract a more quality candidate and, in effect, enhance the performance of the business.
The Interview Process
Efficient interviews will help you avoid hiring mistakes. Ask questions that indicate the applicant’s past performance and relate directly to essential job qualifications. First and foremost, you will need to know how the applicant works with people.
Well-phrased questions will reveal the applicant’s level of experience and skill and how he might fit your company. Libraries and bookstores offer an extensive selection of books and periodicals on the subject of interviewing. Be sure you know what you can ask during an interview. One good resource is Try Smart Hiring for Your Business by Robert W. Wendover, which includes 500 questions to help screen candidates.
The ‘State of Hiring’ Survey
Consider these findings uncovered in a survey of managers, hiring professionals and job recruiters:
- 87% of managers believe hiring the best people should be No. 1 in terms of importance to a company.
- 79% of managers said their companies did little to make sure hiring was a priority, even though they talked about it a lot.
- 84% of recruiters thought hiring professionals were not willing to spend enough time to properly review job descriptions.
- 76% of recruiters indicated most of their hiring personnel could use extensive interview training.
- 93% of recruiters said that more than half of the time, hiring professionals selected not the best person to be hired, but the person they liked the most.
- 75% of hiring professionals felt recruiters should do a better job designing the job description and assessing the candidates.
- 87% of hiring professionals did not think they were interviewing the best candidates available.
- 81% of hiring professionals said only one-third of the people they hired performed as well as expected. Another third fell short, and the final third should never have been hired.
Do these findings sound familiar? In which year do you think the survey was conducted: 1957, 1974, 1988, 1999 or 2004? This is a trick question. The survey was taken during each of these years, with nearly the same results. Lack of commitment, poor hiring systems, overvaluing presentation to performance, and using skill-based and subjective job descriptions that preclude the best people from being considered are the most historically committed hiring mistakes.
When initiating the hiring process, consider talking to a qualified recruiter who can impart suggestions on how to improve your selection process. With a cautious, well-planned, well-informed process, there’s no reason to make poor hires 66 percent of the time.
Gregory A. Call is president and CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Self StorageWorks, a management, consulting and development firm that specializes in the employment process and uses the Administaff personnel-management system. This article was referenced entirely through Administaff. For more information, call 800.779.6797;
e-mail email@example.com; visit www.selfstorageworks.com.