The process of interviewing and selection is one of the most critical jobs you perform for your organization. Few functions are more important than hiring people who will go on to be competent, motivated, and productive employees that enable your business to be successful.
Despite this, many organizations rush to hire and it’s certainly no surprise. If your organization is short-staffed or you have an immediate need, it’s natural to want to get someone on board as quickly as possible – especially when the competition for talent is fierce.
Regardless of your urgency, you should never rush the hiring process. It will likely result in a poor hire which will be costly for your organization – to the tune of 35% to 200% of an employee’s salary. Think about it: in addition to the extra recruitment expenses, there’s further training time, lost productivity and revenue, and overextension of other resources. This may result in lower morale and engagement among your existing team members, increased turnover and employee relations issues, and ultimately unhappy customers.
Let’s look at it another way. A recent study revealed that a bad hire costs you 17 weeks. That’s almost a third of a year, and time is money.
It will probably take you about a month to determine that you made a poor hire. It could potentially take twice that amount of time to let the person go. Then it will be at least five weeks or more before you have a replacement working. Plus, there’s the additional time to get the new hire up to speed.
As the old saying goes, hire slow and fire fast. It’s better not to rush the hiring process and know how to hire the right person the first time. So, where do you start?
Before hiring, take a fresh look at the job. It’s easy to say, “Jane left, let’s backfill her position,” but organizations’ needs change, and by evaluating your current situation (as opposed to filling an empty seat), you can make sure you are deploying your resources in the most effective way possible.
Perhaps Jane was an accounting clerk, but your organization’s growth has been such that you now need a payroll manager. Examine the workload as well as the skills of existing staff members who may be able to assume some responsibilities, and then determine the position for which you should hire.
Once you’ve determined your specific needs, it’s time to plan. Most organizations have an unstructured process or blindly hire, which may quickly fill a role but fail you in the long run.
For each position you should use the job description to identify the particular experience, skills, and competencies (including culture/values fit) that are needed to be successful and create a structured behavioral interview guide for each candidate. In addition to protecting you legally, this will ensure you are consistently evaluating each candidate against the requirements of the job, which will enable you to be highly effective in selecting the right person for the job.
While it can take more time, you should consider involving several people in the interview process (panel interviewing). In addition to the fact that groups generally make better decisions than individuals, engaging a number of people can reduce unconscious biases and enable candidates to see how your team interacts with one another.
Work sample testing is one of the top predictors of successful job performance, so why not take the time to let your final candidate(s) show you what they can do?
Hiring a software developer? Let them write some code for you. Looking for an email marketer? Have them develop an email campaign. This is a very effective way to confirm that candidates have the skills they say they do.
One of the top reasons new employees quit is that the work was different than they expected, so take the time to ensure that you fully describe the job to your candidates – the good, the bad, and the ugly. In addition to describing the actual duties and responsibilities, you should also discuss limits of authority, future goals and objectives, and any eccentricities about how your organization and/or department works.
You may also wish to consider having your candidate shadow someone for a few hours so they can actually see the job they would be doing every day. All of this will help eliminate possible misunderstandings and frustrations on the job that can lead to serious problems. You want to leave your candidates with no doubts about what will be expected if they join your organization.
Finally, don’t forget important housekeeping items before you extend an offer (or at least make the offer contingent upon successful completion of these items): background and reference checks.
No matter how strong the candidate’s resume seems or how well an individual conducts themselves during the interview, it is important to run background and reference checks before making an offer. It’s a sad fact that many people misrepresent themselves in some fashion on their resume or during the interview. These checks will enable you to verify all information and confirm your candidate has the skills, experience, and competencies they claim to offer.
In addition, these checks are important because you can’t be too careful these days. It’s critical to ensure that your candidates are the upstanding citizens they portray themselves to be. In addition to protecting your organization’s reputation, you have a primary responsibility to maintain a safe and secure work environment for your staff, customers, and anyone else associated with your business. A background check can confirm this for you.
While all of these steps take valuable time, it is worth making the investment upfront. A bad hire will cost you much more time on the backend, as well as potentially impacting your and your organization’s credibility. Never rush the hiring process, hire slow, and watch your business soar!