Hiring the right people is so important that U.S. companies devote over $72 billion each year to the process. Yet, for all of the money and time devoted to hiring, mistakes still happen—and they can really set an organization back. Experts say that roughly 80 percent of employee turnover can be pinned on poor hiring choices. That turnover can be costly, amounting to about one-fifth of the bad hire’s salary.
In addition to the financial costs, disciplining and firing poor employees can suck up a lot of time and energy, too. And bad employees often leave their mark in the workplace, lowering morale and eroding their fellow employees’ sense of company loyalty.
So how do you avoid bad hires? Here are a few proven strategies:
Write Better Ads
It follows that if you can attract higher quality applicants, you can land better employees. Sprucing up your ads is a great place to start. Make sure that your job title is catchy and enticing. Tell your company story, so that people want to work for you. Sell the position, highlighting how fulfilling it can be and the perks that accompany it. Be crystal clear about how applicants should apply.
Take Your Time
Hurrying into a hiring decision is never a good idea. Out of desperation, you may settle for less than your company needs or deserves. To avoid this, try to anticipate growth so that you can know in advance when you’ll need new employees to augment your staff. And though you can’t always predict when employees will leave the company, you can save resumes of qualified applicants from past hiring efforts so that you have a talent pool to draw on. You can also work with qualified staffing firms who keep tabs on great applicants in the specialty areas that you need.
Be Creative With Your Interviews
Everything can be found on the internet—including interview questions. Employees can anticipate the standard questions and generate canned answers. Think of new, pointed questions to solicit more genuine responses. Instead of asking about someone’s biggest accomplishment (a tired and trite question), ask about what they accomplished in their last job that made them most proud. Instead of asking someone about an ethical dilemma they have encountered (also an age-old interview question), ask them how they would handle a specific, ethically-charged scenario at your workplace. By getting more specific, you can generate more meaningful answers.
No matter how competent an employee is, if they don’t gel with your team, you’re going to have some challenges. Talk with your managers and employees to find out what soft qualities are important in a new employee. For example, if you have a department full of prima donnas, you may not want another ego on board. If you have creative, “big idea” workers in place, you may want someone who is good at logistics and execution. You could even let department managers or fellow employees sit in on the interviews to get their read on how applicants would complement office dynamics.
Even if someone isn’t a downright bad employee, they can turn out to be disappointing if they don’t measure up to specific expectations—and they can become disillusioned with the company as well. But if they didn’t know the expectations to begin with, you’re headed for a disaster. Be very explicit about job responsibilities, work hours, turnaround times for deadlines, etc. That way, you can minimize the gap between what you want from your employees and what they think you want.
Establish Parameters for Feedback
Let your employees know that you will be reviewing their performance regularly and providing them with feedback. That way, they won’t be shocked when you sit down with them and relay constructive criticism. Explain how you deal with sub-par performance. For example, how many warnings will you give, what happens if poor performance does not improve, etc. All of this groundwork makes the management process more transactional and less emotional—which is helpful to the company and takes stress off of you.
Bad hires happen, but they’re not inevitable. By stepping up your hiring practices, you can increase the quality of your employees. If you don’t have the time to devote to hiring, consider working with a recruitment company. They can draw on a huge pool of applicants to get you the employees with the unique skillsets and qualities that you need for your team.
The goal of recruitment is two-fold: attract the qualified and discourage the unqualified. This means that the hiring process should be efficient to avoid screening thousands of applicants. Recruitment can be very expensive if it encourages all types of job applicants. By doing the following tips, you can streamline your hiring process.