You’ve noticed. The job market has changed. A few short years ago, you were able to sit back and let the resumes of highly qualified candidates roll in. Between 2008-2014, you could require all sorts of criteria for candidates, and you could put them through a myriad of exercises, assessments, and interviews. But today, the candidates hold the cards. You can sit back and complain that you can’t find any qualified candidates, or you can take action to ensure that you’re adding the best people to your team. The choice is yours.
Sourcing, hiring, and retaining top talent is hard work. And it’s expensive. But high turnover is even costlier. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) estimates that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, the hard costs are between six and nine months’ that salary. At the executive level, this can jump up to 200%! These numbers do not account for the hidden costs of time or unallocated costs of hiring and training a replacement. The numbers don’t lie. It’s best for everyone to make good hiring decisions out of the gate.
How can you improve your chances of making a good hire? There are a number of things you can do, but the over-arching theme is to get real.
Get real about the business needs. That means determining how the vacant position fits with the overall business strategy. If you can’t articulate that, go back and figure it out before you start talking to people.
Get real about your “ideal” candidate. There is no ideal candidate. Everyone has strengths in certain areas and gaps in others. You’re not going to find the PERFECT individual.
Get real about the job requirements. Candidates are put off when they see a list of 87 things that you require from the mythical “ideal” candidate. Think about the top 3 strengths and attributes needed for the job and focus on that. Oh, and don’t list MS Office as a requirement. At this point, that’s like saying that candidates should know how to use a pen.
Get real about the compensation plan. Get your hands dirty and research the salary benchmarks. Far too many hiring managers simply wing it here (and they usually skew toward the lower end) and then wonder why they can’t find qualified candidates.
Get real about the way you and your team treat candidates. You need to think of the people you’re recruiting as people you are courting. It’s up to you to convince top talent to join you. That means that you and the team should keep them apprised of timelines, respond to their questions and emails and that you follow up with ALL OF THEM. Yes, all of them.
Get real about interviewing. Invest in interview training for you and the team. Don’t ask candidates stupid questions like, “Why are manhole covers round?” These interviews render no useful information and serve to annoy the people you’re trying to recruit. Don’t spend the whole time talking about yourself. Listen to the candidates more than you speak.
Get real about your demands. Do you require that candidates provide their salary history? You need to rethink that. Not only is someone’s salary none of your business and irrelevant to the position for which you’re recruiting, asking for it is illegal in some places. Do you want candidates to do multiple rounds of interviews, or go through “practice” projects? Top talent isn’t going to go for that. Make your demands reasonable and relevant to the business.