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A Ten-Step Employee Selection Process: Don’t Leave Hiring to Chance

March 1, 2021

By: Wendy Sheaffer

Welcome to March! It seems like a great time to talk about luck. You know, because of St. Patrick’s Day. And who doesn’t love St. Patrick’s Day? Some cities dye entire rivers green just for fun. Not to mention the parades (well, maybe not this year), green beer, leprechauns, shamrocks, and pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Symbols of luck and prosperity. We all want a little luck on our side.

This March also signifies a full year since our world took a drastic and unexpected left turn. Collectively our luck ran out. We embarked on a year that was startlingly weird, trying and even scary. There were ups, there were downs (there still are), there were lessons learned for better or worse. And here we are, again, continuing to drive our businesses forward despite the obstacles. Like many businesses, you may be ready to hire again, or you are in a growth cycle and ready to hire more. Regardless of the reason, you know that hiring is important and not something that should be left to chance. Of course, knowing something intellectually and executing on that reality in the harsh daily grind of everything else you have to do are two very different things. That’s why it can be all too easy to hire based on gut and a little luck. But in the long run, that can be a costly mistake.

Hiring is a big deal. People propel your business, so selecting the best talent for your organization matters to the bottom line. Getting it wrong costs not only money, but also time, frustration, and a little bit of your sanity. And really, we can’t afford to have that chipped away anymore after 2020!

Getting it right isn’t always easy though, even when it goes perfectly. And beyond the hiring phase, there’s onboarding, training, a natural but often unproductive learning curve during the first 90 days, and a need to draw on existing staff to make it all happen and ultimately retain that new hire. With that much at stake, why rely on luck? Luck is great when you have it, but as any gambler knows, luck rarely lasts, and it’s never consistent.

Therefore, make your selection successful by relying on process, planning, preparation and as much data as you can get your hands on to make effective hiring decisions. The planning and preparation are the tedious parts, the parts no one likes. It’s like the sanding, filling of holes and taping off of windows, baseboards and doors before painting your room shamrock green. It’s time-consuming and laborious but gives you a top-notch job. If you skip those steps to take a chance, the paint job looks sloppy and starts to peel. Same for hiring, skip the prep, and you risk hiring someone who doesn’t last.

To get you started, here’s Omnia’s tried and true 10-step hiring process for increasing your odds of selecting top talent. I realize that statement still suggests a bit of luck is involved, but that’s only because of unexpected left turns.

Step 1. Assess the position requirements. If it is an existing position, has anything changed since the last time it was filled? Maybe the position is remote now and new technical skills are required, or maybe some duties have been removed and new responsibilities added. If it’s a new position, taking the time to write a job description will help you define your needs, so you know what to look for as you screen resumes and conduct interviews.

Step 2. Make a list of what you have to offer. For example, things like competitive pay, great benefits, an inclusive culture, an awesome coffee bar, remote work, and career development opportunities. You can use this list, along with your new or newly updated position description, to help craft a great job post. And if you’d rather not, Omnia can take that off your shoulders. We write job ads for just $29.

Step 3. Recruit. Set up your recruiting channels (job boards, employee referrals, recruiters, job fairs). Always use your company name and the position title.

Step 4. Screen resumes. Have a checklist you can use for all candidates.

Step 5. Conduct phone screens. This is especially helpful if you are hiring for a job that requires good phone skills and speaking voice. It is also a time-saver when screening candidates.

Step 6. Assess fit. This is where Omnia shines and provides you with extra data points and valuable insights for making more quantifiable hiring decisions. Administer The Omnia Assessment, an employee personality assessment, before the first interview so that candidate responses are not clouded by too much information about the job and your expectations. There is never a charge to take the assessment, only for any reports you order. You learn a potential employee’s tendencies and preferences as they relate to the job. You can also assess cognitive ability for employment at step 6 or wait until the first in-person interview.

Step 7. Interview. Omnia recommends at least two interviews, and at least two people conducting each interview. The first interview is a great time to administer job-relevant skills tests and the Omnia Cognitive Assessment, though these can also be done online if your process is virtual. Using two interviewers is a great way to compare notes and examine different perspectives as the field narrows. Your second interview might include having the candidate observe the job, if possible. You might also consider a job simulation. For example, if the candidate will be presenting to a group, have them put together a presentation for a panel of interviewers.

Step 8. Check references and background. Avoid negligent hiring by conducting the appropriate background checks of your final candidate.

Step 9. Make the offer. Make a personal phone call to offer the position. Once the offer is accepted, send a follow-up letter that outlines important information such as start date, salary, benefits, and work hours.

Step 10. Notify. Notify the other candidates and thank them for their time and interest. This courtesy goes a long way in maintaining a positive image of your company.

Of course, this is a guide that can be modified to fit your specific needs. You’ll likely adjust some steps for various positions based on timing and resources and the position itself, but the key is consistency throughout every hiring cycle. For example, if you are hiring a temporary receptionist while your permanent person is on unexpected leave, you may not have the time to conduct two in-person interviews. If you are hiring a top executive, you might do more than two in-person interviews including a large panel and a board presentation. The key is to make sure the process is the same for every candidate within that position hiring cycle, though not all candidates will make it through all the steps since narrowing the field is the goal.

The hiring process is the first impression your organization makes and shows others you are serious about getting things right from the start. In the sage words of Roman philosopher, Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Top talent is the opportunity you are searching for; be ready when they show up.

Wendy Sheaffer

Wendy is the former Chief Product Officer of The Omnia Group. She is a subject matter expert in behavioral assessments and in using Omnia’s 8 columns as a tool to make more-informed hiring and development decisions and effectively engage staff. For more information, email or call 800.525.7117.

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