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Are You Sure You’re Hiring The Best in 2014?

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Attracting high calibre candidates to your organisation is only part of the job when hiring staff. Your multi-faceted candidate attraction plan has worked and you have got an impressive long-list, however does your organisation utilise a thorough and consistent recruitment process to ensure you’re making the right hiring decision?

Research has proven that the cost of a miss-hire is steep, study outcomes differ from 50% of the employee’s annual wage to 4 times the cost of annual wage. The impact is felt in hard costs of recruitment, training and on-boarding, along with the soft cost of company moral, opportunity cost and not to mention potential legal and severance costs. Avoiding miss-hire is dramatically increased by a thorough and standardised recruitment process.

Some companies boast an outstanding track record of getting hiring right almost all of the time; and the one thing these businesses all have in common; company investment and commitment to best practice in recruitment.

So what is the formula? It varies depending on the organisation however there are some basics that are essential:

  • A standardised process across the company
  • Measurement of the hiring success over time
  • Review and continuous improvement of the process
  • Investment in hiring manager’s education in good recruitment practice
  • The involvement of multiple company stakeholders in all hiring decisions
  • A comprehensive job brief including a well written job description
  • Great interview skills and defined stakeholder roles
  • Skills and behavioural testing
  • Reference, background and education checks
  • If there is doubt do not hire

A few of those points deserve more explanation. Line managers can be brilliant in their day jobs however recruitment skills are not often required as part of their day jobs; interview technique and good recruitment practice need to be taught. An internal education program on essential skills can greatly improve the experience for both candidate and line manager and ultimately positively affect the outcome.

On education days include topics like:

Start the recruitment process with a detailed job brief - a manager needs to take the time to explain the role and what type of candidate will fit perfectly into the position and the team. A good brief begins with an accurate and detailed job description. The recruitment professional can assist the manager in writing the position description but ultimately the input from the manager and potentially the incumbent in the role is essential for setting the recruitment process up for success.

Behavioural descriptive interviewing (scenario based questions such as "give me an example of a time when..." as past behaviour is indicative of future behaviour).

The role you play in an interview; each stakeholder in the interview process should investigate a different topic so the company doesn’t cover the same ground in every interview. Thorough interview notes and properly briefing the next interviewer assist in decision-making when the group reconvene after all interviews have concluded

Develop an awareness of your own interviewing style; some line managers are sales orientated and tend to dominate the interview time selling the wonderful opportunity rather than asking the right questions of the candidate. They can get to the end of the interview time allocation and realise that the candidate really hasn’t revealed very much due to a lack of good questioning. Conversely some detailed orientated line managers in more operational type roles may have an investigative style and could potentially grill the candidate for the hour and neglect to consider the candidate is also making a decision on whether this is the right opportunity for them. A good interview technique to allocate sufficient time for investigating the candidate fit and skills, time for the candidate to ask questions about the role and some time for the line manager to sell the benefits of the organisation and the position.

Do all you can to assist in the process by assessing a candidate’s specific skills and behavioural traits in a controlled environment. There are some excellent skills and behavioural tests available now at a cost effective price. They are by no means the full answer however they certainly are a very valuable part of the assessment process.

Reference checking is an essential part of the recruitment process, past employers can reveal so much about the person you are about to hire into your business. This allows for a more educated hiring decision. People assume recruiters never conduct a reference check; it’s true that the majority are positive however, there are occasions when a reference check reveals a detrimental flaw in the candidate’s ability to do their job effectively, this check saved our client the trauma of miss-hire. A comprehensive reference check can also educate the new line manager on what areas to focus on for employee development or individual strengths that should be utilised for maximum return.

Don’t hire if there is doubt. It’s important the participating stakeholders come together after all interviews and tests have been completed to make a final decision. Scoring and notes would have been taken throughout the journey and should be utilised in this decision meeting. Our recommendation is not to hire if there is doubt regarding the candidate fit, sometimes there is significant pressure from the business to hire regardless. This is ultimately a mistake, it is always better to take more time and go back to the market and be sure the candidate you are employing is absolutely the best fit candidate for your company and the role. Sometimes a contract candidate can be a short term solution whilst the recruitment process is taking place.

A company’s greatest asset is their people; if this statement is true then surely a focus on continuous improvement of the recruitment practice is a wise commitment.

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