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Recruiting & Hiring

7 steps for ensuring long-term hiring success

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If you’re experiencing high staff turnover or your new hires are not fitting, follow these seven steps to make sure you’re following smart hiring processes and you’re getting the best from your people.

Even when your business is profitable and running smoothly, you shouldn’t ignore issues that could spell trouble down the road for your organization.

If you’re experiencing high staff turnover, for example, or your new hires are not fitting well with your organization and its values, follow these seven steps to make sure you’re following smart hiring processes and you’re getting the best from your people.

1. Determine the cost of turnover

Most managers either shy away from this task, leave it until the last minute, or have no idea it’s even a thing. However, it’s not as difficult as it seems, and it can be extremely valuable in determining how much you should be spending to recruit candidates. (Hint: it’s a lot more than you think.)

Here’s the formula: Take the annual salary of any job for which you have excessive turnover, add the typical 30% for benefits, and calculate 25% of the total. That is the absolute minimum it costs you in hard currency every time that position is turned over. Multiply this number by the number of times the position has flipped and do this for every job you have turnover.

And don’t forget about the costs incurred with onboarding and hiring (fees, travel, advertising, training).

Do this exercise a few times and you quickly see how valuable it is to get the right person in the right job every time. 

2. Identify any hiring problems

The first step in rectifying a turnover problem is to identify which parts of your organization are having problems and why. The process is straightforward:

Simply ask HR, department heads and managers for their observations. Why are people quitting? Why have they become problematic? Why are they being fired? And don’t settle for anything but honest answers—even if they hurt or make someone look bad.  

Always carry out exit interviews. Ask people who leave what you could have done to help them succeed and prevent their departure. Don’t be fooled by the typical “I need more money” answer. Money is just one of many motivators that can keep people working happily. Many employees are simply hesitant to tell you about problems they’re having with your company culture, your job policies or your staff.

If you offer perks such as tuition reimbursement, flexible hours, or gym membership, check to see if these are still attractive to potential hires.

Ask your top people what they like about their position and what you can improve on. Then, focus on what they like and replicate it where possible in the organization, keeping in mind that what motivates one personality type might not motivate another.

Evaluate whether the managers responsible for hiring need training or additional support in terms of personnel, tools, or education. How well do their processes and procedures work? What kind of people are they to work for? 

3. Understand the job

When you’re looking for new hires, you must be able to understand and outline a competency-based job description. How can you expect people to fit your jobs, if you don’t know what you want or what’s expected of them? Make sure to document all competencies required by all jobs in your company on the basis of technical, educational, experiential and industrial know-how.

Take the time to make sure every job description accurately reflects your needs, and that you and everyone on your team agree upon the requirements for the candidate and the role. Be sure to also let applicants know why your organization is worth working for. Find out what’s being said about your company on sites like Glassdoor. Do you need to fix some internal issues before you can attract the best talent?

4. Recruit people who fit your job

Prospect innovatively for candidates. Many employers get into a rut, using the same old techniques or media that have worked in the past. When’s the last time you tried some of these?
  • Offer an employee bonus for referrals of candidates you hire.
  • Look for companies that have announced cutbacks, acquisitions or sales.
  • Take another look at candidates you didn’t choose for a previous opening, but who might work for a different one.
  • dentify universities, colleges, schools, or unions that support your industry through their curricula and develop a relationship with them.
  • See if there are possibilities in your internship, apprenticeship and training programs.
  • Use assessments with current employees to discover those ready for promotions to higher positions or even for lateral moves.
  • Tap your website and social media networking sites to promote your company’s job openings and culture.
  • Hire a recruiter to discover in-demand or hard-to-find candidates.

5. Match people to jobs

Employers all over the world are finally learning that experience and education just aren’t enough to ensure a good fit between job candidates and jobs. Cognitive testing is indispensable at demonstrating a candidate’s most basic skills for the role. Personality and behavioral tendencies also indicate whether a person will fit well and enjoy the position and the organization.

This information is not accessible from traditional job interviews or background checks. Only assessments like PXT Select can give you the tools to analyze multiple attributes like thinking style and behaviors. Pre-screening applicants can weed out those who don’t have the cognitive skills or personality traits that are really required for the job.

6. Prepare for a winning interview

Few people really know how to do a job interview right. Follow this checklist to improve your interviewing skills:

  • Who must be in the interview? Make sure the same people are available for every interview whenever possible.
  • Develop questions based on the job description that will lead to follow-up questions. Use questions based on the candidates’ assessment results. Some assessments, like PXT Select, provide interview questions as part of the results reporting. 
  • Do your homework. Always review the job requirements before the interview. 
  • Be welcoming and warm. Interviews can be stressful for all parties. Be sure to explain the order of the interview, including how long it will be and what you will cover.
  • While asking questions, think to yourself  “Can this person do this job?” and “Will this person do this job?” But don’t get so caught up in your thoughts that you don’t listen to the candidate’s responses to your questions.
  • Take good notes!
  • Make sure to summarize with the candidate and outline the next steps. We recommend Lou Adler’s book, Hire with Your Head, where he outlines a very suitable closing: "Although we're seeing other great 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?"

7. Continually refine your practices

Make sure you’re always working from the latest best practices for hiring in your organization. Books like Lou Adler’s, plus workshops and seminars, can prove extremely beneficial.

In the end, people are one of the most important assets of your company. Shouldn’t you invest at least as much effort in attracting, recruiting and retaining them as you invest in winning and retaining customers? Without these great employees, there would be no customers.

Originally published on Workplace 101 by Aoife Gorey. Edited and republished by Kristeen Bullwinkle, March 2018 and Michael M Davis, February 2020