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Fresh Ideas for 2006


Image shutterstock_485623.jpgHiring the best talent on a consistent basis is an ongoing challenge for many organizations. As the business climate in BC steadily improves, hiring those who can live your company’s core values and have a positive impact on customer satisfaction will be more important than ever.

Technology has revolutionized the recruitment process, making it infinitely easier and cheaper to reach hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates with a single ad. Newspaper classified advertisements remain a high-priced recruiting method that can give significant advantage to those employers with deep pockets. Today, job boards have leveled the advertising playing field to the point that any company with a couple hundred dollars to spare can compete on the same level.

While the response to online postings may be instantaneous, the volume of responses greatly increases the time it takes to weed through the candidates, conduct interviews, extend an offer and finally hire a new person. This “just-in-time” recruiting method often turns into an inefficient use of resources, and without check and balances, can actually extend the time and costs involved in hiring.

A more proactive approach to recruitment and selection is needed to make the best possible hiring choice in the shortest amount of time, using the least amount of resources. A powerful metaphor to keep in mind is a “spinning top” approach. Here’s how it works. Most hiring managers spend just 15 minutes placing a web or print ad, and then 15 days screening the hundreds of resumes that result. Instead, invert this approach and spend more time at the start of the process and less time screening unqualified resumes and applicants by creating a tighter application and screening process. You can do this by controlling or managing the four key decision points in the recruitment lifecycle. Let’s take a look at each of them:

1. The applicant prospect – controlling an individual’s decision to pursue or not pursue your opportunity. The key at this stage is to market your openings with a detailed, but marketing-oriented, description of your position that differentiates it from other openings on the market. Include the challenges unique to your setting, and the qualities of someone who will be successful in the role. Avoid phrases such as “excellent communication skills” or “detail oriented”. Concentrate on skills that are truly essential and unique to your opening and your environment.

2. Prescreening – controlling the recruiter’s decision regarding which prospects to screen. This is one of the most critical and most time-consuming; however, by having applicants answer several supplemental questions when they submit their resumes, it simplifies the recruiter’s ability to quickly zero in on the top five or ten resumes within a short period of time.

3. Creating the short list – this means controlling which prospects warrant an in-person interview. Detailed telephone screening will ensure that the hiring manager’s time is spent interviewing only the best candidates. The hiring manager should be presented with a summary of the applicant’s responses to the prescreening process, giving the manager a much clearer picture of the applicant than what’s on the resume.

4. Conducting a fair interview process. The key to managing this step in the process is to ask a consistent set of questions and evaluate the applicants based on their responses to the same questions. In order to compare apples to apples, you’ll need a list of job-specific, behavioral questions to guide you through a process that is fair, objective, and provides the best data about each applicant.

Whether you are hiring an entry-level employee, or a senior manager to join your executive team, you can avert a hiring disaster by being aware of some common hiring mistakes. The three we see most often are: firstly, not knowing what you are looking for. If you don’t have a current position profile that clearly spells out your requirements, your hiring process won’t stand a chance for success. You need to conduct a complete review of the position and the ideal candidate before you start your recruiting activities. Secondly, we see a tendency to hire too quickly. While expediting the hiring process may relieve an impatient manager and overwhelmed team members, it often results in a failure to do a complete due diligence, resulting in a less-than-the-best person being hired. Thirdly, an inadequate or inconsistent interviewing process not only results in ineffective decision making, it can also be a turn-off for strong candidates. Given how important hiring top talent is to a company’s success, more attention and more resources must be invested in making hiring a formal business process.

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