In a tough economy or a vibrant one, gaining or finding and hiring good employees is one of the most challenging, and re-curing problems confronting most organizations. We've all done it, and many still do: In our desperation to fill the empty position, we simply hire the most interested, and sometimes, the only applicant who appears close to what we're looking for. Then what often happens is, we end up paying an under-qualified individual more than current staff -- and quite often way more than we would have paid them if we weren't desperate. If that weren't bad enough, this overpaid new employee is quite often one of the first employees to leave for the next job offered that pays even more -- and thus the cycle starts all over again. So what do we do? Stop acting for the short-term and start thinking for the long-term.
"Is it really better to simply put just anyone in this job and hope for the best? Or would it be better for my customers, my other employees, and my company in the long-run, if we took just a bit more time and hired a good-fit for this position? If we panic over the possibility of having an open position, what overall damage could we do to our entire organization by placing someone who is not qualified in the position? We alienate current staff, we alienate customers, and we potentially damage our company's reputation and future growth. Given that, is it worth it?"
So how do you stream-line the hiring process and minimize its time-consuming and costly impact? Know what you're looking for and go direct. The days of running ads in newspapers, on-line, and posting Help Wanted signs are losing favor, because you and every other organization out there seeking qualified help are doing the same thing. As the marketing saying goes:
What's your differentiator? What's going to set you apart from everyone else to position your ad (i.e., company) to be more attractive than everyone else's? Quite often, the differentiator becomes price - or the wage you are willing to pay.
The real solution takes a bit more time, but increases the potential for a better long-term fit.
- First, develop a solid, clear, and specific position description of what the individual filling the position will need to be able to do immediately, within the first 30, 60, and 90 days, as well as in the long-term. What specific behaviors, characteristics and skills sets will the candidate need and to what level will s/he need to perform? I was working with a young manager recently who had spent six hours the previous day interviewing prospective junior accounting staff members. When I asked her if she could tell within the first ten minutes of the interview if the candidate had the right skills or not, she said, "Oh yeah. Sometimes I knew within the first five minutes." Yet she spent at least 45 minutes in each interview! She knew what skill sets she was looking for, but she hadn't communicated them clearly enough ahead of time to the candidates.
- Second, do what prospective employees are doing: do social networking. Direct e-mail contacts you have and ask if they know of anyone who fits the description of the candidate you're looking to hire. Post your job on LinkedIn. Search LinkedIn and other sites for qualified prospects. These warm leads draw you into contact with individuals who may not be actively looking for a new job, but are looking for one that provides growth opportunities, a better working environment, and a "personalized-fit" for them. These individuals can then check out your website, your company's LinkedIn profile or digital footprints to determine if you're a right for them or someone else they know. This, in combination with other advertising modes, spreads the word quicker, faster, and wider than traditional ads to the general public.
- Finally, interview well. Easy to say, not easy to do. It's well worth the money to hire a Human Resources consultant to help you learn how to interview well. A solid interview will help you identify stronger candidates from the weak. Pay now or pay later.
There are no guarantees to a good hire. But taking time up-front to lay the groundwork will reduce the likelihood, that your company faces a heavy turnover in employees over the next 12 months.
Stop acting for the short-term and start thinking for the long-term.
For more on this subject, check out 13 Workplace Trends We Saw in 2013 by Mary Lorenz on The Hiring Site by Career Builder.