According to a study published in the Journal of Personnel Psychology, a high performer can deliver 400% more productivity than an average performer. This makes recruiting and hiring top performers one of the top concerns of business owners. And with unemployment rates the lowest they’ve been in over a decade, employers are running into another problem: there are more available jobs than there are people to fill them. This competitive job market can make an already stressful recruiting process even more straining. The pressure to find the perfect new hire can be intense. A strong recruiting process can make all the difference in finding those ideal candidates and converting them into new hires. Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your recruiting process:
Start with knowing the role.
A recent article by Entrepreneur stressed that knowing the role you’re recruiting for is one of the most important parts of effective hiring. In order to hire the perfect candidate, you have to know what you’re looking for. Start by making sure you have a job description. What are the roles and responsibilities your new hire will be responsible for in their new position? Then, create an ideal candidate profile. What would your perfect candidate look like? Maybe he is detail-oriented or has several years of accounting experience or is a good team player. Having these descriptions and profiles will serve as a guide for your interview questions, thus helping to facilitate a productive interview. Knowing what you’re looking for will help you find it.
Practice good interviewing.
A face-to-face interview is one of the greatest opportunities you have to get to know an applicant. If done right, an interview can provide an accurate portrayal of an applicant’s strengths and aspirations. If done wrong, an interview can cause an applicant to lose interest, clam up, or create a false portrayal of who they really are. Create an interview environment where your applicants feel comfortable opening up about their goals, experiences, and personal drawbacks. If you can help your candidates feel comfortable, it’s much more likely you get an accurate portrayal of the applicant’s strengths, weaknesses, and fit within your company. Ask questions that will get your applicant talking, especially about what you want to hear. Avoid trick interview questions or “magic bullet” questions, as these will discomfort or sidetrack your applicant. Additionally, pay attention to nonverbal cues, such as body language, tone of voice, dress, attitude, personality, etc. What the candidate doesn’t say can provide even more insight than what the candidate does say.
Don’t be a one man show.
Nothing is more devastating to your hiring process than believing you can do it yourself. Involving others in the hiring process is crucial to good hiring, and starts before you’ve even begun interviewing.
Start by seeking referrals from employees inside your organization and acquaintances outside your organization. Don’t be afraid to mention to your team, your barber, or your pastor that you’re hiring. In recent research by Jobvite, over 50% of employers and recruiters said that the recruiting process was shorter and less expensive when recruiting via referrals. In addition, employee referrals have a much higher applicant to hire conversion rate: 40% of employee referrals end up being hired, whereas only 21% of candidates found via a career site and 15% of candidates found via job boards converted to new hires. Take advantage of the huge network of referrals at your disposal. Your employees’ friends, neighbors, church leaders, gym buddies, financial advisers, and other connections could be your ideal candidate. Don’t be afraid to ask them for referrals!
After you’ve found your pool of candidates, involve others in the interview process. Invite other managers or employees, whether inside or outside of the candidate’s department, to participate in initial or follow-up interviews. Your accounting manager might be able to see things differently and provide key insights that your HR manager might not notice, so involving both in the hiring process will allow you to fill in your own potential blind spots or see a candidate in a new and valuable light.
Finally, there is crucial information that you won’t be able to glean from an hour-long interview that will help you make your hiring decision. Contacting employee references is of utmost importance to hiring the right candidates. Previous employers, supervisors, and coworkers can provide invaluable information about how a potential employee is on the job. Are they a good team player? How do they respond to stress? Can they communicate well with management? These are questions a candidate probably won’t be able to answer completely, but a good reference call can provide the insights you need to know who it is you’re really hiring.
There will be times when finding the right candidate seems impossible. Whatever you do, don’t give up and settle for less than what you need and deserve in your organization. Sometimes recruiting feels a lot like shopping at Savers: you’ve got to sift through a lot of stuff before finding that perfect steal of a deal. Don’t set unrealistic expectations, but don’t give up and settle for your grandma’s old sweater. With patience, diligence, and a little bit of good luck you’ll find the candidate perfect for your organization. Your ideal new hire is out there, you just have to go find him.
Questions on how you can improve your organization’s recruiting process? Contact one of our expert HR representatives at (888) 407-1032 and we’ll help you get on the road to smarter HR.