Hire in haste; Regret at leisure!

  • By: Ruth Evans, Owner of The Evans HR GROUP

Ever heard that saying before? Well, I don’t know who to credit those insightful words to, but all too often we find them to be true.

Hiring the right person for any job is one of the most important decisions a manager makes. Get that decision wrong, and….well…you may have a host of challenges to deal with in the future such as absenteeism, poor quality work, projects not completed on time, and worse yet…..serious issues or allegations that can result in costly legal claims.

We all know what it is like when you have an open position and work either isn’t getting completed in a timely fashion or existing employees are having to take on more to prevent things from falling through the cracks. The temptation to hire the first person that comes through the door or to hire someone referred to you by a business associate or friend can be great. And, that may ultimately be the right person. However, it is prudent to take your time and make sure that you are hiring right.

The success of every business depends on the people we hire to help us get the job done. I think this is one of the most important decisions every manager makes. So, invest the same care and time that you would when making other investment decisions. Some recommended steps to consider when you make your next hiring decision:

  1. Start with a current job description. I personally like descriptions written in terms of outcomes expected rather than statements of job duties. Whatever format you choose, make sure the duties (essential and supportive) listed are current, that the job description includes qualifications (education, experience, behaviors) and physical job requirements. Include a statement that the list of duties and responsibilities is not all-inclusive; other duties and responsibilities may be added as needed and in addition, management may modify the job description at any time.
  2. Identify those specific outcomes or goals you want the new hire to complete within the first 6 to 12 months.
  3. Determine the best sources of advertising for the position including trade magazines, associations, recruiting websites, newspapers, Cal-Jobs and so on.
  4. Set a reasonable timeline for completing the process, understanding that some positions may take longer than others to fill.
  5. As you receive the resumes, screen them for the qualifications you identified, and select those that most closely match.
  6. An optional step is to conduct telephone interviews to quickly identify whether those individuals have the actual experience, qualifications and attitude you need. Before the telephone interviews, prepare an interview outline specific to the job responsibilities, qualifications including behaviors identified for the position.
  7. Select your top candidates and schedule them for personal interviews.
  8. Consider using behavioral interviewing in addition to asking candidates specific questions related to knowledge, skills, experience and education. Behavioral interviewing focuses on past performance which is a great indicator of future performance. Instead of asking general questions, behavioral interviewing includes asking the candidate to describe a specific situation, how he/she handled it, and what the outcome was.
  9. Identify your top candidate and conduct background checks and reference checks.
  10. When you make the job offer, put it in writing and include position title, who the person will report to, starting date, salary/ and whether the position is exempt or non-exempt, eligibility for and description of benefits, and include statements regarding at-will employment status and the fact that the employee is subject to all terms and conditions in the employee handbook. Have the employee sign and date the offer letter.

And, good luck. An effective hiring process increases your odds of selecting the right person. There will be times, however, when no matter how much effort you put into the process, the person and the company are not a good match.

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