Tips for successful employee selection and hiring

Anyone who has worked with an unsuitable co-worker probably has at minimum a general idea that they can cost a company in terms of lower output, increased training and assessment time, and impacted morale.  Replacing them is even worse as people have to cover for that missing employee in addition to completing their normal duties.  A couple of bad experiences can make people wary of the entire process.

How much does a bad hire cost a company?  Depending on your country of operation it can cost you US $65,000 or more.  A few such cases in a short period of time can have a significant impact on the corporate balance sheet.

So how can a company minimize the chances of hiring an unsuitable employee?  The first thing is to not stretch out the employee selection and hiring process.  A natural reaction is to increase the level of screening, research, and testing in order to weed out the undesirables.

The problem with that is while you are doing your due diligence, your prime candidates are interviewing elsewhere and getting hired there.  What does that leave you with?  You guessed it, a higher probability of hiring another unsuitable candidate, while your best fit is settling in at your competitor telling office partners how non-committal you are.

So where do you start to improve your hiring process?  Begin with your communications strategy, in particular your online presence.  Is your website user friendly?  Is it easy to navigate so prospective employees can quickly find everything they want to know about you?

Think like a job seeker and ask what information you  wanted to know before you were hired at your current employer.  Of course salary is an important consideration, but do you describe ongoing education and cross training opportunities?  Is your workplace providing opportunities for your co-workers to engage each other?  Many people indicate that a positive work environment is a strong factor in deciding where they wish to work.

Do you have a social media presence?  Is your corporate Facebook page regularly updated with success stories and significant corporate achievements?  Are your employee contributions in the community recognized? Tweets and Facebook posts about vacancies are easily forwarded and are the way much of the world now communicates, so if you are not doing it, or are doing it poorly, you are not reaching everyone.

How responsive is your web page?  A website that takes too long to load, especially on mobile devices, is annoying and says you are not current.

Some companies struggle with their communications strategy.  How else can you tell people how great this company is and how your employees are happy and content?  While you are improving your communications strategy, look to your employees to be your best ambassadors.  We associate with people like us so existing staff are likely to bring people with similar qualities into the organization.

Put another way, will a good employee risk their status in the company by recommending someone likely to be a lazy malcontent?  Probably not.  The best employees should also have a solid grasp on what it takes to truly succeed in the position more than a human resources person writing a generic description who might not even be in the same location.  Some companies offer a bonus payment system to reward people who bring successful hires into the organization.

There is another way successful employees can help your organization.  Study how they came to be hired.  Many companies in the digital age are surprised to learn how many people heard about an opening via social media.  Pinpoint where each staff member heard about you and concentrate your efforts on the most popular methods.  Successful politicians do this all the time.  They determine which pockets of their constituency exhibit the highest levels of support and they concentrate much of their efforts there during election campaigns.  Conversely they virtually ignore the areas where they stand little chance.

You may find out those big expensive newspaper ads provide little benefit to you.  While you may get some qualified applicants, how much time do you waste sorting through clearly unqualified applicants?  There are software packages that help you keep track of where your hires are coming from and assist with recruitment.

Many human resource directors share how important it is to be proactive in their recruitment of staff.  A lack of communication between departments often results in a situation where one area is planning a firing or expansion that the human resources staff are unaware of.  Like any good HR department, they are constantly on the lookout for good candidates by monitoring social media, appearing at schools and trade fairs, and networking.  On occasion they have to tell an eager candidate there is no opening when actually there is.  They contact that person only to find out they got a job somewhere else.

There are also a few steps you can easily implement in your interview process that help you hire better employees.  Do you match the interview questions with the actual job you are hiring for?  Some people do not do this.  The end result is they generate a large amount of information that has no practical application in the hiring process.  Work with your top employees to develop a series of situational based questions that describe common scenarios seen in that role.  You end up with accurate questions and in many cases help the staff involved feel more emotional ownership of the company, which increases self esteem and productivity.

Companies are also increasing the amount of testing they do during the hiring process.  In addition to psychometric tests, candidates have to complete tasks using common software programs in use at the company or have to write reports that can be graded for depth of knowledge.

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