It's the best of times, and the worst of times, too, if people problems are coming between you and the commercial success that your peers are enjoying. If you're experiencing excessive staff turnover, or finding that your new hires simply don't fit in, use the following six steps to ensure that you get more of the people you need. This is The New Art of Hiring Smart.
1. Determine the Cost of Turnover
Take the annual salary of any job for which you have excessive turnover, add the typical 30 percent for benefits, and calculate 25 percent of the total. That's the absolute minimum it costs you every time that position turns over. If you provide any other benefits or incur any other costs, it's actually much more. Multiply this figure by the number of times the position turns over. Do this for every job where you have turnover.
Scary, huh? Then add other costs (agency fees, advertising, travel, etc.), training costs, lost production/opportunity costs while the position is empty, and morale costs. Now that we have your attention, let's do something about the problem.
2. Identify Hiring Problems and Mistakes
Identify any part of your organisation that's having people problems and find out what's causing them by:
- Asking your department and human resources managers why, in their opinion, these departments have turnover. Why are people quitting? Why are they being fired? Why have they become problematic?
- Conducting exit interviews. Ask each person who leaves what you could have done to help them succeed and to prevent their departure. Don't be fooled by the answer "pay me more money."
- Asking your top people what they like about their jobs and how you can make their jobs better. Try replicating whatever they like throughout the organisation.
- Evaluating those responsible for hiring and asking them (or yourself) the following: Do they need training? Do they have a system that works? Do they take hiring new people seriously?
3. Recruit People Who Fit Your Jobs
- First, You Must Understand the Job and Develop a Competency-Based Job Description.
It is critical that you document the competencies required by all of your jobs on the basis of technical, educational, experiential, and industrial know-how—otherwise, how can you know what you're looking for?
Harvard Business Review conducted a huge study—360,000 people in 14 industries over a 20-year period—in an attempt to identify what made for job success. The study discovered that people are successful only when they are matched well to their jobs. They must have the right level of learning ability and they must be motivated to do the work, and their behavioural makeup or personality must equip them to do the job well.
You cannot get the information necessary to match people to jobs from candidates' resumes or from conventional interviews. The only way you can uncover this information is by formal assessment of candidates using assessments designed specifically for this task—you can find more information about this at: www.profilesvictoria.com.au
4. Prospect Innovatively for Candidates
Consider additional sources you may not be using, such as:
- Employee Bonus for Referrals of Candidates You Hire
- Physically or Mentally Disadvantaged Candidates
- Senior Citizens
Retirees often make up a large pool of motivated candidates for many empty positions.
- Companies that Have Announced Cutbacks
Contact personnel and department managers in organisations announcing cutbacks and describe the candidate you are seeking.
- Set Up Educational Relationships
Find the universities, colleges or schools that support your industry through their curricula, and develop relationships with them.
5. Prepare for and Conduct a Winning Interview
Preparing for an interview is just as important as the interview itself.
- Review the Job Description
In advance of the interview, clarify in your mind the job requirements and the kind of competencies you expect to find in the person who will fill the job.
Lead questions are based on the job description and are designed to bring out answers that will lead to follow-up questions
The interview itself has three parts:
No candidate likes being interviewed. In fact, most candidates see interviews as a necessary evil. The Open has two objectives: The first is to put the applicant at ease and build rapport. The better the rapport, the better the information you receive. The second objective is to set the agenda and timetable. Explain the order of the interview and approximately how long you will be together.
Your overall objectives for the Open are to create excitement about the job and to put your candidate at ease.
Ask your lead questions here. When doing so, think:
Can this person do the job?
Does he or she have the necessary qualifications, experience, and competencies that you know are necessary for success in the position? Do his learning abilities match those required by the job?
Will this person do the job?
If you are satisfied that the candidate has the qualities to do the job successfully, your next task is to ensure that he or she is motivated to be successful in the position. Is the nature of the work sufficiently motivating for him/her to ensure success? This can usually be determined only through assessment of the candidate's motivational interests, using assessments like The ProfileXT (mentioned above). The purpose of the interview is then to probe any areas of concern uncovered by the assessment process.
Will this person fit our corporate culture?
A candidate’s capability and motivation are sufficient only if you are confident that the candidate will also be a good fit for your company. Again, the extent of this match is best determined using a pre-interview assessment, with the interview providing an opportunity to probe any areas where the candidate seems to be a poor match for the position. Listen carefully and take notes. Later, review your notes and form your opinions.
The Close is no less important than the two previous stages of the interview, allowing for both sides to summarize and agree on next steps.
In a book we highly recommend—Hire with Your Head by Lou Adler—there's a suggested closing statement that can be used with all candidates, especially those who will make the next cut:
"Although we're seeing other fine candidates, I personally think that you have a very fine background. We'll get back to you in a few days, but what are your thoughts about this new position?"
This close helps you create a sense of competition and job attractiveness, express sincere interest in the candidate, and gauge the candidate’s interest in the position.
6. Continually Refine Your Practices
Books like Lou Adler's Hire with Your Head, as well as seminars and workshops on best-practice hiring run by organisations like Profiles, will help you continually refine your skills in the art of hiring.
People are your most important asset. Shouldn't you invest at least as much effort in attracting, recruiting and retaining them as you invest in winning and retaining customers?