How These 4 Key Changes Dramatically Improved My Hiring Process

April 13, 2016

Up and coming new business? Check. Best place to work? I think so! Great sourcing process, incredible records system (ATS) and my interviewing process was second to none. Even my onboarding was running smoothly. But something wasn’t working.

I still saw people who weren’t a match for my culture. What was I missing? What did I need to ensure my hires knew what they were getting into? I run a tight ship, and I expect big things out of everyone I hire. How can I get that across?

The answer: More communication…with my candidates, my employees and myself. With that in mind, here are the four steps I took improve my hiring process.

1. Understanding why new hires fail

According to Leadership IQ, new hires failed for these reasons:

  • Coachability – Coachability is the number one reason new hires fail. 26% of new hire fail due to their inability to accept feedback from those they work with, including bosses, colleagues, and customers.
  • Emotional intelligence – A close second to lack of coachability is lack of emotional intelligence. 23% of new hires fail due to their inability to understand their emotions, and those of others.
  • Motivation – 17% of new hires fail due to lack of motivation. They lack the drive to succeed and excel in the job.
  • Temperament – 15% of new hires fail because their attitudes and personalities are unsuited to the functions and tasks of the job and conditions of the work environment.

All these attributes are absolutely necessary to succeed within our small, fast-paced company, so the first step I made was internal reflection.

If 81% of new hires fail, I knew I was going to have to make sure the candidates I was considering were aware of what my company stood for and needed from its people. In order to do that, I needed to highlight my values and create my own definition of a successful employee so I could, in turn, find those qualities in someone else. Once I had a clear idea of my non-negotiables, I could begin to see why others may have failed in the past.

Here are the three steps I took to fix my hirng process and find employees that would success at my company.  

2. Bringing transparency into the interview

With a clearer image of what I needed in an employee and what my employees would need from me, I now had to find a way to not only communicate the findings to applicants, but actually show them I wasn’t kidding. There’s more to communicating with candidates than simple one-sided interviews. I have always been a proponent of transparency within organizations, so why not begin the practice before my people were my people?

I made sure to begin bringing a great deal of honesty to interviews. It meant a more intense first meeting with applicants, since I generally spent a few minutes driving home the fact my people do not coast to Friday; we run marathons at a sprinting pace. With transparency by my side, I began to more clearly see the people who had a passion for my world as well as those who might do better elsewhere.

3. Adding assignments and checkpoints into the application process

Speaking of the interviews, I had to rethink that, too. To have the best interview process, you have to step outside the monotony. Sure, classic processes work, but is there something unique to add to the norm?

I decided the phone interview followed by a one-on-one meeting could use some sprucing up, so if a candidate wasn’t sent packing after the intense no-nonsense interview speech, I gave them an assignment relating to their potential position.

The task came with a tight deadline. My company is bootstrapped and small, so we need people who are quick, accurate and scrappy. If you can’t finish my assignment or don’t feel the need to at least try, you’re not cut out to work here. Sorry.

Including checkpoints within the application process helps to discover which applicants are dedicated to applying. If they feel strongly about working for our company, their work in the application will show. If they don’t have resilience now, then it’s best for me AND them to go our separate ways. Just be sure you really consider and stand by all the hoops you set since 60% of job seekers don’t complete job applications due to their length or complexity.

4. Communicating bad news

I get lost in my email daily. Every hour actually. I’m always getting something from someone somewhere and, in the past, that meant I was missing correspondence from applicants -- bad news. It might be time-intensive to reach out to every interested job seeker and I might not like having to reject a bunch of people for the position I’ve posted, but I still needed to show my candidates and employees exactly how much respect I have for their time.

If you’re not talking to candidates, you can be sure they’re talking about you. With 83% of candidates likely to talk to their friends and family about their experience applying to a company, you run the potential risk of losing a strong candidate just by word of mouth.

It’s this type of attention to communication that strengthens more than just my brand; it strengthens my culture. I’m leading my people by example while demonstrating just how much pride I want them to have in their employer.

Making it easier for already successful employees to talk up my company to their skilled friends allowed for a better chance of referrals. Not only did I not have to recruit those people, referrals are generally people who fit our organization. We aren’t alone; 51% of employers say referred hires are a better cultural fit and value match than other hires.

The hiring process is a human one. That means you can put everything you’ve got into making it an amazing and enlightening experience, yet still end up hiring someone who just doesn’t fit your organization. Over communicating and reworking my application and interviewing process has made the difference for both our internal processes and our external recruiting initiatives. I have a better picture of the people who succeed in our company, more of an appreciation for the people who continue to work for me and a lower new hire turnover rate. 

*Image from Red Branch Media

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