Go beyond gut feelings if you want to hire the best

July 5, 2016 Kelly Marc Alston

When companies have a lot of positions to fill, it’s tempting to take shortcuts. From rushing through resume reviews to scheduling interviews with multiple candidates in the same room to acknowledging only the ‘winners’, many companies ignore the long-term consequences of these actions simply to get someone in the role. 

One of the biggest ‘timesavers’ for organizations is allowing hiring managers to ask different questions for candidates applying for the same job. Most HR departments are great at letting managers know the questions not to ask (for legal reasons) but developing a comprehensive, systematic, and customized question bank for each role, and then holding the hiring team accountable for asking these questions, is a time-intensive endeavor and the benefits may not be clear. After all, shouldn't hiring managers be trusted to ask any question they want since they know what to look for? Isn’t hiring more about intuition and gut feeling and less about what candidates say about themselves?

In a word, no. Organizations that solely rely on manager’s assessments and gut feelings will be left behind in a world where highly effective new methodologies including predictive analytics and simulations are being used to revamp the hiring process. The best companies recognize the need to use quantitative measures to make recruiting top talent a scalable, repeatable process. And since great hiring is directly tied to great results, these companies are making the investment in time and effort required to implement these new strategies.

So how do you start? Phrases like ‘predictive analytics’ and ‘big data’ can be daunting when all you really want is to hire a new customer service rep to replace the one who quit last week. But there are ways to get your ‘quant’ on without investing in new systems or radically restructuring the hiring process.

First, talk to line managers about the superstars on their teams. Have them document the specific attributes and work habits that contribute to the success of these individuals. Is it communication style? Is it an analytical approach to problem-solving? Is it leadership qualities that can be clearly defined? Are they great at following detailed instructions? Whatever these success factors are, group them by department, then by role.

Next, read through your job descriptions and pay close attention to the ‘must haves’ to make sure they're aligned with the success factors you identified. Beyond job skills, what are the intangibles that will ensure that candidate and role are a good fit? If the job description says ‘Must be a self-starter’ but the position actually requires close coordination with leadership to succeed, take that out.

Finally, take a look at the questions you ask in the recruiting process. Compare them to the list of success factors – if you're not able to ascertain which individuals possess the qualities required based on your questions, revise them. Think back to the situations described by line managers where superstar employees rise to the challenge, then create questions based on similar scenarios for your candidates and see how they respond.

Just a few simple tweaks will result in the desired outcome of any hiring process  – landing candidates with the requisite skills, drive, and talent to make a difference.

Our hiring solutions will help you put the right talent in the right role whenever you need them. Give us a call at (877) 262-7358 to find out how.

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