|The Department of Labor has reported that unemployment for individuals with college degrees has trended below 2.5%* nationally. The competition for quality professionals is at an all-time high. What can you do to ensure you have the right talent on your team? Make sure you have the best process for making the best hires.
Mitigating the risk of making the wrong hire involves having a good and clearly defined interview process. Eliminate unnecessary steps before bringing candidates in for interviews: decide who is going to interview and define their role, and then have every candidate go through the same process. If you need more than one person’s buy-in, understand which interviewers are assessing culture fit and which are assessing skill. With too many people involved in the process, interviewing can turn into a popularity contest. You want feedback about how the candidate can perform the duties and how they can fit in with the culture. Professional relationships and friendships will develop on the job after everyone has had an opportunity to work together, provided the candidate fits the culture.
To fill an opening, you need to evaluate the candidates relative to the position. Regardless of the number of candidates for a particular opening, the measure should be against the job requirements and the specifications, not the other candidates available to interview. Don’t let interviewing take precedent over hiring. If you aren’t seeing the candidates you need, adjust the position requirements or expand your network. When you find a candidate that has potential for the job, run them through the process. They either are right or they aren’t; make a decision and move on.
When working with your recruitment partner and designing a job specification, determine what skills are essential and what can be developed. Candidates that have to stretch for a particular job are often motivated to perform beyond someone that has “been there done that.” By hiring candidates that have the essential skills for the position and letting them grow into the job, you will end up reducing self-selected turn-over of employees desiring a challenge. Hire the candidate that wants the challenge and the job.
Compensation isn’t the number one reason that people accept a new job, but when it’s too low, it’s the number one reason candidates turn down a job offer. There is a general market rate for the skills and background you are seeking. Most candidates have a good understanding of the compensation range that applies to their skill and the career opportunities they’re seeking. They know what peers are earning; they have access to online salary resources and, of course, they have their current salary and benefits as a point of reference. Align yourself with the resources that make you informed. If your company doesn’t have a wage and compensation department, check the available resources from recruitment providers, industry associations and your own professional network.
Determine who has authority to make the hiring decision and the offer up front, and make sure they take responsibility for the success of the hire. Integration and training are an important part of making a successful hire. Empower yourself and/or your staff to make a decision they will live with. If you are delegating the decision, make it clear to your subordinates. If you want to retain control, outline the influence the subordinate will have in the process. Ultimately, I have found that letting my subordinates make their own decisions and being there as a sounding board garners great results.
With these tips, successfully navigating the hiring process becomes more efficient and effective, maximizing the time and resources spent to make the best hire possible.
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*This article originally appeared in the January 5 issue of the Orange County Business Journal; the unemployment figure has been updated to reflect the most recent data.