At CareerPlug we know that our people are the heart of our business. It is our people who execute our mission and vision and live our values every day. Having the right people in place has empowered us to innovate, explore, and grow as a company. And this isn’t unique to us – HR leaders across many industries understand the impact people have on their organization. From top to bottom, people set the pace and pulse of a workplace, ultimately impacting the culture, growth, and reputation of the company.
So why it is so easy to fall short when it comes to hiring the right people?
There are many common answers we can insert here: Hiring managers don’t have enough time. The hiring market is too tough right now. This person seemed perfect during their interview… it’s not our fault they left two months later.
There is no formula for making perfect hires 100% of the time, but there is a path to predictable hiring results. It’s true that hiring rarely comes at an opportune time for hiring managers. They have full workloads before the hiring responsibilities of reviewing applicants, conducting interviews, and then devoting days or weeks to training land on their plate. When a team is understaffed there’s even more pressure to fill a position as soon as possible. Maybe the hiring manager skips a reference check to expedite the process. Or settles for someone they would’ve passed on if they had the leisure of another week. It seems like a Catch 22: We rush through the hiring process to fill the seat quickly and save time, but then risk that new hire leaving sooner than expected (or having to show them the door) and starting the process all over again. And again. And again.
To stop this cycle of turnover, organizations need to develop a consistent hiring process and give hiring managers the tools and resources to execute it. It’s common for individual managers to develop their own process, and maybe some of them have a knack for always making great hires… or maybe they don’t. By removing the uncertainty and adopting consistency, companies can make predictable hiring decisions to build stronger, lasting teams.
Build Your Process
Start by standardizing job descriptions for every position. Job descriptions are the core of performance management. Before the hire is made, job descriptions attract the right applicants, lay out the expectations of the job, and set the hiring criteria for hiring managers. After the hire is made they guide training plans, set the foundation for performance reviews, and can even indicate when employees should be on performance improvement plans. While every job description will differ based on the role, first consider what key components each job description should have to help attract the right applicants. Remember that your job postings should not be a bulleted list of responsibilities, but rather communicate the purpose and impact of the position. Highlighting growth-potential, training opportunities, and other company benefits and perks will make your job descriptions more attractive.
Next, outline the essential steps each hiring manager should execute during the hiring process. While this could differ by position, it should not differ by hiring manager. At CareerPlug, we have a standard set of hiring steps across all our departments which include a phone screen, personality and cognitive assessments, multiple in-person interviews that involve in-depth interviews that uncover career aspirations and motivations, and reference checks. We also incorporate a “role play” exercise, or a job shadow, depending on the position.
Our more comprehensive process is a recent development; many of our seasoned employees were hired with a quick phone screen and in-person interview (or less). As a smaller company we definitely made our share of “gut-feeling” hires and were fortunate to get some truly talented people on our team. But that luck doesn’t last forever, and we have since shifted our hiring process to make more predictable hires. Focusing on building a consistent, effective hiring process has made our hiring managers more efficient and has enabled our teams to confidently add new, high performing team members.
Train Your Team
Not every hiring manager is going to have experience interviewing. Taking the time to train managers on how to run an effective interview is crucial. Clear hiring criteria in job descriptions, identified competencies for the position, and standard interview guides will set managers up to make better hires. When I sit down with new hiring managers, they often don’t know what to expect from the hiring process. Providing them with resources to execute and thrive is essential to success. Pre-screen questions and assessments save time on reviewing resumes; interview guides cut down on interview prep and help make the selection process more objective. We use our ATS to centralize email communication and move candidates through the interview and verification process. In the end, having a set process brings peace of mind to hiring managers and saves them time, all while helping them consistently hire great people.
As you consider what hiring steps make the most sense for your positions, consider these 3 essential components to a superstar hiring process:
Component #1 – Assess
Resumes are a great indicator of job history, but often fall short of digging into what you really need to know upfront about a candidate. Using prescreen questions on the initial application gives you immediate visibility into the most important questions that are relevant to your open position, such as certifications, work availability, or years of experience in the industry. Make sure these questions are consistent each time the job is posted. This way, hiring managers can expect the same info and evaluate applicants on the same criteria.
Once you’ve collected the initial information from applicants, use assessments to learn more. Personality assessments can measure soft skills like assertiveness, emotional intelligence, sales potential and service orientation, while cognitive assessments can be an indicator into problem-solving and verbal skills. Evaluate each of your positions and consider which competencies are most important to be successful in the role. Then, have current top performers in each role take assessments so you can benchmark their scores against potential hires. By utilizing assessments hiring managers can begin to see which candidates would complement their current team.
Component #2 – Interview
Interviews are the backbone of the hiring process. They are a chance to truly get to know a candidate, ask specific questions about their experience, and learn if they are a professional and cultural fit. But again, if hiring managers are not consistent in how they interview the evaluation process will be for naught. When all hiring managers ask the same questions to every candidate, it’s easier to evaluate on the job criteria and make more predictable hires.
Here’s a more detailed look at CareerPlug’s interview process:
- Phone Screen – This is a short interview hiring managers conduct first to learn about a candidate’s current position and what they’re looking for in their next role. We use this interview to screen for basic qualifications: skill set, salary expectations, and ideal work environment.
- Assessment – All candidates complete a personality assessment and a timed Math/Verbal assessment. Because we have benchmarked these scores against current employees, we have learned which scores are indicators for success in certain positions.
- In-Person Interview – Lasting between 30 and 60 minutes, the first in-person interview validates the assessment results and explores in-depth behavioral and culture fit questions. This interview indicates whether the candidate has the experience and potential to perform well in the role. Their responses should also demonstrate alignment with our values (i.e. Communicate Openly and Innovate & Grow Every Day).
- Life Story Interview – This interview takes a deeper look at a candidate’s professional history and asks them to reflect on past jobs and education. By learning about their highs, disappointments, and lessons learned, we can see if CareerPlug makes sense as the next step in their professional story.
- Motivational Interview – The motivational interview digs into the question “where do you want to be in 5 years?” We ask candidates to expand on their motivations and goals for their career, finances, and other personal ambitions. This interview is essential to establishing CareerPlug as the right company to help them achieve these goals.
- Leadership Interview – As a small, collaborative company, most positions work closely with multiple departments. It’s important to get leaders involved in the hiring process to offer perspective and to support incoming hires. Leaders of adjacent departments conduct short interviews with final round candidates to further explore company fit.
While we make slight adjustments based on the job, like adding a role play or a technical interview, we never sacrifice the core components of our process.
Component #3 – Verify
It only takes one time to regret not verifying a candidate. I approach hiring with the assumption that people are generally trustworthy, but that doesn’t make reference checks and criminal background checks any less mandatory in our hiring process. Reference checks should verify your assumptions about a candidate and give you an opportunity to learn how to best manage someone if they are hired.
At CareerPlug, all our offers are contingent upon completing a criminal background check. Rather than just another hoop to jump through before the hire, verification instills confidence in the hiring manager – and the company – that the right person is joining the team.
How CareerPlug Can Help
Creating a consistent hiring process that speaks to our values and culture has helped make CareerPlug’s team what it is today. We’ve seen the benefit of investing time in our hiring process played out in the dedication, service, and innovation of our employees in every department, and we are passionate about helping other companies build the hiring process they need to grow their business.
To learn more about how you can build a hiring process to get the right people in place, request a demo of CareerPlug’s hiring software today.