Making the right hires often determines whether you’ll accelerate or hinder the growth of your … [+]
Dylan Gillis on Unsplash
Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. The contributions of passionate and engaged team members can help achieve your vision and build your brand.
Disengaged employees, however, have lower productivity levels and higher rates of absenteeism, resulting in a “loss” of about 34% of their annual salary. In other words, a complacent, apathetic employee will be actively losing your business money.
Adding more fuel to the fire, Investopedia estimates that recruiting, hiring and training a new employee can easily cost one and a half to three times that hire’s annual salary. As such, making sure you hire the right talent from the very start, is essential for your company’s long-term success.
To add some more clarity to this conversation, I recently spoke with Jim Bright, Vice President of Sales at GTN Technical Staffing. Drawing from his years of staffing experience, Bright offered several valuable insights into how brands can better find and retain top talent.
Start With A Clear Role In Mind
“One of the biggest mistakes companies make is that they hire a seemingly talented individual before they’ve fully defined the position they want to fill. This is most common when a company is creating a new position or trying to expand, but even established businesses can fall into this trap. Without a clearly defined role, even an extremely talented person won’t be the right fit for the job,” Bright explains.
Employers should first evaluate which objectives the new role needs to accomplish. Strive to answer these three questions as you’re outlining your new role:
- Which projects will they be working on?
- Which problems will they need to address?
- What deliverables will they need to provide?
You should also consider how the new hire will fit in with their team and the company as a whole. Factors like team size, the supervisor’s management style and even the company culture could affect whether or not someone is the right fit for a particular role.
The better you can define what a future hire’s roles and responsibilities will be, the easier it’ll be to write a job description that’ll help fine-tune your search and attract the right type of candidates from the beginning.
Test Skills Before Committing To A Hire
There’s no getting around the unfortunate fact that resumes can be misleading.
In a recent CareerBuilder survey of 2,500 hiring managers, 56% of those interviewed reported that they had caught potential hires who included falsehoods on their resumes. Even more incredibly, 25% of these hiring managers had seen resumes where applicants claimed to have worked for companies, when in reality, they hadn’t.
“Someone can have the perfect resume, come across really well in the interview, but turn out to be a total dud once they start working in the office. This is why you’re seeing more and more companies have candidates take skills tests or submit sample projects before committing to a hire. A first-hand view of their abilities will tell you a lot about their output quality and work ethic,” Bright adds.
Some companies are taking this even further by hiring employees on an initial trial basis, with the promise of full-time employment contingent upon performance during the trial period. Because I run my own blog business on a tight budget that can’t afford to waste time making the wrong hires, hiring new employees on a trial contract basis has been extremely helpful in making sure I bring on the right people. Though this often extends the length of the interview process, it can help save on turnover expenses if the initial candidate doesn’t work out after a few months.
Just make sure that your hiring managers pay attention to any skills tests you use. A Harvard Business Review report notes that “even when companies conduct such tests, hiring managers often ignore them—and when they do, they get worse hires.”
Use Reliable Referral Sources
Look at the data about where companies find their employees, and the trends actually aren’t that surprising. A 2017 report from LinkedIn found employee referrals to be the top source for quality hires, with 48% of businesses having used this method to find their best performers.
This far outpaces internal hires, third-party recruiters, and even beat out the top online job boards. According to the report, referred employees are faster to hire, perform better and stay longer in the company.
Bright agrees, “The cliche birds of a feather flock together, is worth remembering in hiring. Your current employees have developed valuable connections over the years through previous jobs, networking events and so on. Chances are, they know someone who could take on the role you’re hiring for. Even more importantly, they’ll know whether someone in their network would mesh with your company culture and vision.”
It should come as no surprise that many companies have implemented employee referral programs in an effort to find the best talent. Even when employees are given a cash bonus for their referral, research has found that using these referrals actually helps companies save thousands of dollars per hire, while also being more likely to uncover above-average applicants.
If you don’t have a large employee pool to use for referrals, consider branching out to others in your network who can help you find top talent.
Finding And Hiring True Game-Changers
Navigating the hiring process, especially if you’re running a relatively young company, can feel like trying to cross an ocean.
Truthfully, you’ll never know with 100% certainty whether you’re hiring a future executive or a low-performer until they come onboard and start working with the rest of your team.
The good news is that you don’t have to go into this process completely blind. By clearly defining your roles, testing skills in advance and leaning on employee referrals throughout your hiring process, you can have much greater confidence that you’re making the right hire.