Hire Like You Mean It
Tips for a Faster, Better, Smarter Hire
Although most employers regard themselves as keenly focused on profit margins and the bottom line, they usually base their financial considerations solely on things like production costs and sales volumes—things that are relatively tangible. But such a focus is dangerously narrow if it fails to consider the relationship between profitability and personnel: how much effective hiring practices and good hiring decisions can elevate productivity and profits; and conversely how much ineffective hiring practices and bad hiring decisions can harm them both in the short term and over time.
For this reason, many of our previous articles have outlined the nuts-and-bolts requirements of achieving a successful hire and subsequently a mutually profitable long-term employer/employee relationship. Today we hone in again on the hiring process itself—specifically the mechanics of conducting it as efficiently as possible and the reasons why it’s in your best corporate interest to do so.
Make a Commitment
You need to schedule your hiring process just as your company schedules all other important projects to ensure its timely completion.In hiring, your obvious first steps are, number one, to confirm the need to hire and, number two, clearly define the position you need filled. Consider that completing the hire successfully must hold considerable importance for your company’s profitability – or else you wouldn’t have inaugurated it in the first place. Also consider that in today’s just-in-time business climate, timeliness is a factor of huge significance. So as a third step you need to schedule your hiring process just as your company schedules all other important projects to ensure its timely completion.
Moreover, just as with print job workflow, a successful hire requires its own series of steps and involves more than one person. So not only must you be sure you’re serious about the hire; you must also commit the resources necessary to achieve it. And finally, for reasons explained below, you must also commit effort and respect to the people involved in the process.
A lack of sufficient commitment in any of these regards is apt to result in a hiring process that wastes time. But conversely, being committed to the process enables you to take control up front by defining an action plan, establishing a schedule for accomplishing goals, and assigning responsibility to specific people. Assigning responsibility is indispensable, because if you only vaguely presume that “somebody” will do a task, then most likely it will revert to the person who seems to do many things in the workplace: the person named “nobody”.
Being committed to the process enables you to take control up front by defining an action plan, establishing a schedule for accomplishing goals, and assigning responsibility to specific people.Set a Schedule
In compiling your hiring schedule, include the following:
- Clearly identify a point person.
- Have the point person verify who within your company is involved with interviews and the hiring decision, then set up a schedule with them for resumé selection, conducting interviews, exchanging feedback, and a final verdict.
- Choose hiring resources, such as Internet job boards or third-party staffing service providers like PrintLink.
- Communicate openly and regularly with all concerned – both internally and externally – about the status of the position.
- As part of obligatory follow-up, be sure to notify unsuccessful candidates and thank them for their interest. (One advantage of using a third-party provider is that we relay such information diplomatically to the candidates for you.)
Maximize the Benefits of Third-Party Suppliers
Staffing services like PrintLink are suppliers to your business, just like your suppliers of manufacturing tools, raw materials, and outside production services. Like your other suppliers, we receive payment following delivery, although we may ask for a deposit up front on occasion and are happy to assist, regardless of the outcome.
Partnering with staffing experts like PrintLink to achieve a successful hire can reconcile the urgency of your hiring need with the restrictions that day-to-day business management places on your time. Our industry-specific expertise helps us ensure that we have a full understanding of the position you are filling, as well as the type of personal profile that will fit best into your workplace. Consequently, we only forward candidates for your consideration who we feel are appropriate for your requirements. We also serve as matchmakers, not only seeking out the best candidates for your position but also doing our utmost to sell them on the fact that yours is a good company to work for.
In turn we ask that you help us streamline your hiring experience by talking to us openly about your company’s size, number of years in business, business volume, type of projects, and the business sector into which most of your clients fall. Of course, we also need a job description and compensation plan for the specific position you are filling.
In addition, it greatly helps us to know details of your timing requirements, including:
- Steps in your internal hiring process
- When you would like the new employee to start
- Your implications or impediments to scheduling the necessary interviews or other forms of testing
- The time frame required for a final decision once all interviews have been completed
- If anything changes during the hiring process
Similarly, we ask that you respect the value of the service we provide and our depth of expertise by considering our candidates seriously and communicating with us frankly and promptly about your hiring progress.
Respect Job Candidates’ Time & Effort
We often hear complaints from candidates that they applied to an ad or online job posting in a timely manner--or even worse attended a first interview--and then heard nothing back: no acknowledgement of the effort they expended, no subsequent follow-up, no closure.
Always communicate in an open and timely fashion with job candidates about the status of their application and the job.We believe such treatment is wrong and that a response is a professional courtesy you owe to the people who spend the time and effort to submit their personal information to you. Extending such courtesy can be simplified significantly if you take advantage of today’s communications tools, such as mail merges, automatic e-mail responses, or telephone voice messaging. Whatever the means, we recommend that you always communicate in an open and timely fashion with job candidates about the status of their application and the job. Even in the worst-case scenario, if you do advertise or post a position intending only to contact applicants whom you have chosen to interview, then at least set candidates’ expectations appropriately by stating that only persons selected for an interview will be contacted.
Remember that, as a potential employer, you basically hold candidates’ hopes, dreams, and lives—and sometimes those of their families--in your hands at a time when they are potentially most vulnerable—and therefore most likely to remember and tell others about the unsympathetic or rude treatment they have received from your company. Thus, the way you treat your job applicants should form part of your company’s public-relations initiatives and should regard them as invited guests or potential customers for your brand.
Chances are--unless you have always owned your own business, or were brought in to a family business almost as a birthright--you have been a job seeker in the past yourself. And in reviewing your own experiences as a job candidate, it is instructive to recall how you felt and were treated. As an example, one young New-York computer programmer was made to wait three hours before a job interview with no apology or refreshment offered. When he requested permission to use the restroom, the receptionist refused. Now as a manager for a major computer consulting firm, at the outset of job interviews, he always asks applicants first whether they need a bathroom or a beverage.
Moreover, a rude or dawdling selection process reflects not just on your manners, but also on your sense of justice, ethics, your own competence as a manager, and your corporate reputation. Would you have taken a job with an employer who made you wait in silence and discomfort for three hours before an interview? Such tactics may well drive away good employees through their implication that the company won’t treat its employees any better than its job applicants.
Similarly, if during the hiring process, communication from the employer wavers, candidates begin to make negative assumptions about the company and the undesirability of working there. After all, if communication or hiring momentum grinds to a halt, what would working conditions be like for employees after hiring if they need some critical corporate advice or action in order to succeed at their job? And undoubtedly without any time parameters, the best candidates will start to look more favorably on offers from other employers who are competing for their skills rather than wait around in limbo for you.
Yet the remedy is simple: even a quick e-mail or voice message, either to your staffing service provider or to candidates directly, to advise that there will be an unexplained delay will often suffice to circumvent negative assumptions by candidates. Better yet, your message could offer them a faint outline of your revised hiring schedule. In short, to attract the best, you need to be perceived as the best; so your hiring process needs to contribute actively--not detract--from making a favorable impression on candidates.