Top 10 Tips for Successful Recruiting

We’ve all know that hiring the right employee is critical for any organization, and we’ve all seen the numbers that show us the cost of hiring the wrong employee can be staggering – up to 200% of the first year’s salary. For recruiting to be such a critical part of any organization’s long term strategy, it is often thought about at the last minute. We’ve put together a list of the top tips to make your next hiring process a little easier and more successful.

Be sure there is a partnership between the hiring manager, the HR department and the recruiting team, either internal or external. Each person has a unique but interdependent role and your recruiting efforts will be more successful if there is a close working relationship. If these three key partners can work closely from the get go, issues such as job requirements, deal breakers, selling points, salary ranges, benefits, relocation, job responsibilities and understanding the company’s culture can all be clarified from the beginning to ensure everyone is on the same page. Good dialog helps to eliminate surprises and assures a successful start to the new employee’s career.

Be sure there is a clear job description. We are actually hesitant to use the words “job description” since it can denote something written years ago and buried in a desk drawer. Instead, create a performance profile that helps the candidate see what they will need to do in the job to be successful. In every case, we find that candidates – especially for those “hard to find” positions are more interested in what the job will do for them and their career.

Think long term in any hiring situation. Be sure to ask the question, “What will we need this position to do in 1 years’ time or longer?” Open positions represent an opportunity to reshape a department, shift job responsibilities and add new talent and skills that may become more important in the future. When companies think 3 or 4 “moves” ahead, they’re hiring for the future and not just filling a vacancy.

Timing Is Everything. Candidates and resumes are a perishable commodity. Once you decide to start recruiting for a position, be prepared to move quickly. Great candidates are scarce in any field and if you want the best you need to be ready to move quickly. Have your game plan ready and as the resumes start to come in, execute the game plan. When you promptly follow-up with candidates, they see a decisive organization that is eager to get started. It can have a big impact on the new employee once they are in the job.

Feedback is critical. . In the early stages of a recruiting effort, all three of the partners need to share their input and ideas on some of the initial resumes. So, as resumes start to come in, it is always invaluable to have the hiring manager and the HR department give the recruiter very specific feedback on the likes and dislikes of a candidate. One of our clients called it “beta testing” to help calibrate everyone to the nuances of the job It also creates a shared responsibility for a successful hire.

Pre-screen Candidates. Every job has some sort of “knock-out” questions that will automatically exclude a candidate from further consideration, be it salary, relocation, degree or specific experiences. Some organizations send a list of pre-screen questions to all of the viable candidates as soon as they apply. Don’t waste time on candidates that are not a fit. Focus on those that are.

Create a structured phone screen. Interviewing can be a messy process. To help keep it organized, create a structured phone screen that asks the key questions the hiring manager would like to know before bringing a potential candidate in for a face-to-face interview. Typically, these phone screens take 30-45 minutes to complete and can dig into work history, technical skills, management style and behavioral questions that help determine how a candidate will react in a given situation. Plus, through the coordination of the phone screen and the dialogue, a recruiter can gauge for other skills including interpersonal, organizational, and follow through.

Have an interview strategy. Since it is difficult to find the time when all of the key parties are together for an interview, be sure to use the time wisely. Clarify who is on the interviewing team early in the hiring process and what their role is in the hiring process. Typical roles are decision makers and influencers. If the hiring manager’s supervisor wants the opportunity to potentially veto a candidate, then that needs to be clear up front. It may make you change the search criteria if you also get the input of senior management early in the hiring process.

Interviews are both a “buying” and “selling” situations. Both the candidate and the hiring manager are making decisions off of their perceptions of each other. Be sure that the presentation of your organization is professional and organized. Candidates appreciate an agenda up front so that they know who they will be interviewing it. Putting together a packet of information for the candidate is also a nice touch. Some organizations give candidates benefit information, work schedule, insight into the business and perhaps a tour of the facility. Treat the candidate the same as you would for a prospective customer.

Follow up and evaluate. Project managers always evaluate their projects upon completion, and smart organizations do the same at the end of a recruiting effort. Evaluate such metrics as “time to fill,” “total recruiting expenses,” “total candidate flow” as well as feedback from all of the involved parties on how to make the process better the next time around. This is also a good time to be sure that all of the candidates are properly notified of the final decision.
Remember, the cost of a bad hire can be as high as 200% of the employee’s annual salary. If you take the time up front and build a partnership with your recruiting team and follow these simple steps, your chances of a successful hire are much greater.

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