Hiring quality employees means better customer service and higher sales, which translates into a more robust bottom line. Learn to find the best pool of candidates by honing your recruitment skills.
By J.D. Piland
Depending upon the level of the position within an organization, the cost of hiring a new employee can be double the expected salary of the new hire. So, making the right decision is vital.
Otherwise, “it’s a lot of money to flush away if this person is only with you for 30 days,” says Sue Murphy, association manager of the National Human Resource Association (NHRA).
All too often, small business owners don’t take enough time to do their homework on a candidate, Murphy says. If you don’t do your homework, then you may find yourself in the situation above.
This begs the question: How do you find the right person for the job? It really isn’t that difficult, but you have to know what you want in a new hire and resist the temptation to hire too quickly.
Looking forward a year or two may help in your decision making. Jim Stoynoff, a counselor with SCORE-Chicago, tells clients that they should hire strategically; a forward-looking strategy will help flesh out whom will best fit in with the company culture and grow professionally as the company grows.
Attracting the right candidates starts with conveying what you want from them, Murphy says. And yet, that isn’t always clear from a job ad.
You should ask yourself what exact criteria you are looking for and define the position based on that. The more specific you can be, the more potential candidates will self-screen.
One important addition that is often neglected is providing a thorough description of the company culture, especially in the interview process. You don’t want to get into a situation where the new person is not comfortable with whatever your company culture is. That can cause ineffective working relationships, and then you’re back to deciding whether this new person is, or was, worth the hassle.
Simply hiring someone who has the necessary hard skills, yet lacks good interpersonal or soft skills will cost you dearly, because that person may alienate co-workers and clients, and will negatively impact productivity by not being a team player. For instance, Stoynoff says, if the new hire doesn’t fit in or can’t work well with others, then your other employees may decide to look for other employment.
And then you’re back to searching for a new employee again, which means more money out the door.
Location, Location, Location
That saying applies most often to real estate, but in this case, it refers to where you place your job ads. It used to be that every open job would end up in the classifieds or employment sections of a newspaper. But that could cost you upward of $20,000, depending on the size of the ad, how often it runs and its placement within the paper, Murphy says. Plus, if you decide to run the ad on a Sunday, what happens if that perfect candidate doesn’t pick up the paper that day?
Many businesses are going with the more cost-effective strategy of online job postings, Murphy says. Unlike most newspapers, the Internet can reach someone in California, even though you are based in Massachusetts. Your job pool just got substantially bigger.
You can even get specialized with online job-ad placement. Professional associations and trade publishers often have job postings on their Web sites. And with that, you’ve hit the audience with your target skill set.
Murphy also advocates internal job postings and employee referrals, and this often can be the best place to start. Promotion from within, or at least the possibility thereof, is a great motivating factor. In addition, you’ve already placed your trust in your current employees, so anyone they might recommend would be prescreened — to an extent. Other opportunities include college placement offices or employment agencies.
Take Your Pick
Choosing the right candidate is almost an art. You’ve got to balance many factors to determine the best person for the job: objectives, career experience and interpersonal skills.
Once you’ve finished checking references and the candidates’ backgrounds, and your interviews are complete, get together with anyone else who may have interviewed the candidates, Murphy says. Since you have determined the job to be filled and the type of person you are looking for, discuss with your colleagues how each person fits the mold you’ve carved out.
Doing this may help you avoid investing time and money into someone who isn’t worth the trouble.
Learn how personality tests can help you choose the right people for your company and place current employees in the right positions.
Administering personality tests to potential employees is a double-edged sword. Some say they can be good, especially at companies where teamwork is a way of business life. Others say that while they can give insight into the psyche of a candidate, the tests have too many nuances to be effective.
But that doesn’t mean they are not used. The National Human Resource Association doesn’t necessarily promote the tests, but admits they can be helpful, and are used often in corporate settings when looking for a replacement CEO or other executive. Jim Stoynoff, a counselor with SCORE-Chicago, on the other hand, says they are very useful at determining the “soft skills,” or interpersonal skills, of candidates.
Two of the most popular tests are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Disc Profile, both of which group answers to test questions into personality types. But, there are hundreds more out there; in a Google search of “employee personality tests,” nearly 1.9 million links resulted.