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21 Steps to a Successful Hire

April 7, 2011

By: Omnia Group

Have you ever hired someone you liked, but who couldn’t do the job?

Ever hire someone with nearly every skill you’d ever need listed on the resume, but who couldn’t get along with your existing team?

When calculating the cost of a bad hire, consider:

  • your time – reviewing resumes,
  • the cost of a classified ad/internet advertising,
  • morale (either the existing team is overworked or frustrated because they’re working at the same rate of pay as a poor performer)
  • lost client opportunities and lost client confidence (yet another rep is assigned to their account)

The best way to stay focused and have a successful hire is to have a plan and to remain dedicated to working the plan.

One way to help you stay focused is to consider this: a bad hire who works 90-180 days costs a minimum of one year’s annual salary! In other words, a person hired for a $30,000/yr. position who only lasts 3-6 months costs you at least $30,000. And that’s before you advertise, recruit, and interview to replace the position.

If you are like most companies, you don’t have a designated Human Resource department. If you are like many managers, hiring is a headache, which is dealt with only on an “as critical” basis. Hiring is risky, there are no guarantees, and people continue to have gray areas unpredictable. By “gray areas,” we are referring to the fact that people are not always consistent. How many machines do their morning commute or the fact that their boss isn’t social and is not inclined to say good morning to the team? The need for an individual who is comfortable with the work AND the workplace is critical.

Obviously, this is a task to consider carefully. The steps below will help you to focus on a successful hire and avoid costly mistakes. While no process is perfect when dealing with human beings, staying on plan definitely gives you the edge you need.

Step 1: Develop a new hire checklist.

Step 2: Identify your needs.

  • Can this position be filled internally, temporarily, or not at all?
  • Identify the traits of a job. For example – Claims adjusters must be analytical, Sales reps must be assertive.

Step 3: Identify what doesn't work.

  • Example:  those who need a great deal of recognition to be hired for an inconspicuous job, those with big egos for a job that requires more of a support, those who are passive for a job that requires cold calling or more aggressive actions.

Step 4: Identify recruiting channels – don’t only seek experienced applicants because that can lead to the “recycling” of unsuccessful, yet “experienced” individuals.

Step 5: Remember, recruiting is not one person’s exclusive responsibility. Every supervisor/manager should have an ongoing goal that states, “through my own networking, during hiring times, I will solicit and present two viable candidates per month.” This is especially true for anyone with a private office and a door!

  • It is easy to get comfortable in your own office but getting out in the community and letting people know you’re looking for talent is wonderful PR. The type of position does NOT matter. Networking is important whether you’re recruiting an executive assistant for yourself, a sales rep, or a manager.

Step 6: Get professional assistance if you use online job boards and/or classified advertising on the Internet or the newspaper. Asking someone unbiased questions about your ad’s content will result in more qualified responses. The more targeted your advertising is, the less filtering you’ll have to do.

Step 7: Filter your response using the list of traits identified in step 1. Watch for “date blending” on resumes and resumes that contain only years.

Step 8: Send “not interested” letters to the appropriate candidates. Remember the rule of thumb – disgruntled people reach at least ten others. Happy people tell only one or two. This, like networking, is a very inexpensive positive PR.

Step 9: Contact applicants and schedule a five-minute phone/screening interview. Explain your process to the candidate.

Step 10: Send qualified candidates an Omnia assessment.

Step 11: Interview the candidates in person at least two times on two different days. There are many reasons for two interviews: to ensure they arrive on time both days, to ask a couple of duplicate questions to check consistency, to give them a chance to ask additional questions they didn’t think of on their first visit.

Step 12: Interview using both traditional questions, such as “How many hours did you work at XYZ Company?” or “What is your ideal job?” and behavioral questions, such as “Tell me about the last time you had to deal with an irate client” or “Tell me how you ranked competitively among the local sales team for the last quarter.”

Step 13: Have at least one additional interviewer meet the applicant.

Step 14:  Have the applicant meet with at least one potential peer members.

Step15: Have the applicant do a “job preview." By job preview, we mean that each applicant should sit with, ride with, etc., someone doing the proposed job now for at least 2-4 hours. Incompatibility with the job is cause for 50% of employee turnover.

Step 16: If possible, have the applicants prepare and present some presentation or role-play. By this, we don’t mean “sell me the pen." Instead, while on your premises, ask the applicant to write a short proposal, a business letter, or do a mock sales presentation, any of which are tied to your line of work and to the job for which they are applying. If you’re seeking a sales rep to sell an intangible, asking the person to sell you a Bic is not job-relevant, but asking them to review your collateral materials for 15 minutes, then make a presentation based on that is very job-relevant.

Step 17: Evaluate all results using an applicant scorecard. See attached for a sample of areas you might consider in your post-interview analysis.

Step 18: Proceed with a full range of Background Checks.

Step 19: Write an offer letter outlining the position, the expectations, benefits, and the compensation (monthly or weekly increments).
Explain in the offer letter that this is not a contractual agreement. The offer letter should begin with “Pending satisfactory background checks.”

Step 20: Ensure a proper employee orientation on the first day. You’ve worked hard to get them; you mustn’t ignore them. If your company’s busiest day is Monday, consider making Tuesday or Wednesday your “new employee” day. The last page of the New Hire Checklist is an Orientation Checklist that is helpful.

Step 21: Manage them.
Use the profile results and your own experience to ensure your new hires get the support, time, etc., they need. Try and be a better boss than the one you answered was your “best boss” when YOU interviewed. Remember to learn from your experience with your own superiors regarding timely feedback, semi-annual performance reviews, etc.

Omnia Group

For over 30 years, we’ve helped organizations across the world improve and optimize their workforce operations and company cultures. While we take a unique, scientific approach to hiring, development and retention, we also believe every business is a people business. Our passionate advisors always put people first.

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