Your employees do more than get the work done. They have the potential to be a true asset to your business, helping you build and grow – or an obstacle to your success and the success of their fellow coworkers, spreading negativity and frustration like a cancer within your organization.
Jim Roddy, a former hiring manager, managing editor for Business Solutions, cancer survivor, and author, put the hiring process into perspective while overcoming his own obstacles, inspiring him to write Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer. Roddy applies lessons learned from battling cancer to shape simple, yet effective practices and strategies for making the right hiring decisions.
In a recent Vantiv webinar, Roddy outlines nine key hiring rules that any business can apply to improve its hiring processes, and thereby improve the quality of its workforce.
1. Raise your standards
The right skills aren’t enough to make a potential employee a successful fit, nor is an agreeable personality, Roddy says. Add character and mapping (the candidate’s natural inclination towards fulfilling the responsibilities of the position) to the mix, and you’ll raise the bar for an ideal fit. And don’t settle for the candidate who doesn’t meet all of your requirements. Although it may take some extra time, you’ll save yourself the pain of hiring the wrong person for a less-than-satisfying experience.
2. Fire your lousy employees
If there have been hiring mistakes in the past, the time to correct them is now. That doesn’t mean terminating all under-performing employees immediately, Roddy explains, but it doesn’t mean giving them years or even a quarter to show improvement. Have a measurable performance system, provide an action plan, schedule regular reviews and team meetings; but if it’s just not working out, letting an employee go is the right thing for the organization and probably the right thing for the person. Building a positive culture starts with laying a foundation that will support your values and goals.
3. Make your website people-focused
Your website often makes the first impression on people unfamiliar with your business, including potential employees. It should be professional, attractive, and user-friendly. And for the prospective applicant, that also means making your careers page easy to locate. Once there, the applicant should understand quickly and clearly what the position is and what the job entails without stumbling through industry jargon or outdated information. A personable website can show candidates why you’re a great company to work for and get prospects genuinely excited to apply.
4. Take aim
A very specific job description can help you hit the mark. To take better aim, see that you meet the Society for Human Resource Management standards, as Roddy recommends. Complying with SHRM measures includes providing more than the basic job information. Not only does this give the candidate an honest and detailed depiction of the position, you’ll be given all the information you need to craft more precise questions for the interview. Knowing upfront what the position includes and requires should leave no surprises down the road for your potential employee.
5. Test, don’t guess
How do you know you’re not just being told what you want to hear? Do your research, Roddy says. The data you collect can give a much more vivid picture of your applicants. Aptitude tests or even simple assignments in addition to the required application materials can offer you new insights into who you’re interviewing. And it can help prompt you to tailor specific questions directed to the applicant’s strengths or weaknesses. A better understanding of your candidates can only help you make better hiring decisions.
6. Slow down
Carefully considering the amount of information you gather should take time, so make sure you’re giving it all the time it deserves. For key positions within your organization, this is fundamental. Don’t base your decision on a single interview. Allocate the appropriate period to conduct multiple interviews, allowing for personal interaction time with you and your team. And check the references, Roddy stresses. Whatever you do, don’t rush it.
7. Ask behavior-focused questions
Past behavior is the best predictor of future conduct. Allowing a candidate to express his or her employment history is best accomplished by asking open-ended, past-tense questions, Roddy says. First, have them share their stories, and then see how their prior behaviors align with the position and its requirements. The transparency of their answers relies heavily on the direction – and flexibility – of your questions.
8. Challenge them
No job is without its challenges. If you’re not testing your future employees’ responses to obstacles, you’re missing out on a fundamental piece for predicting how they’ll fit into your workplace culture. How do they respond to criticism, Roddy asks? Be kind, but be honest and direct, he advises. Constructive criticism can be an important tool for professional growth. Make sure they can be receptive to feedback and ready for improvement.
9. Set clear expectations
In the interview process, be honest about the expectations: what you’re expecting from the candidate, and what they should expect from you. Ensuring that everyone has a clear understanding at all points of the hiring process will not only confirm that an applicant would be the right candidate for the position, Roddy concludes, it will help establish an honest and trusting relationship over the course of his or her employment.
The investment you make in your organization’s hiring processes and strategies can have a significant impact on the future success of your workforce. Use Jim Roddy’s nine steps to get your hires started off on the right foot. You can listen to the full webinar here.