Hiring Considerations

From: Staffing

Hiring Considerations

Many employers spend a great deal of time and money dealing with employees that should not have been hired. This problem exists because the only measure of a hiring program’s success is the speed by which an available position is filled. A truly efficient hiring program, however, hires people who do the job required without producing problems.

Successful hiring programs contain the following elements:

  • Job Specification. Define what the job requires in terms of the necessary education, experience, physical capabilities, and interpersonal skills.
  • Recruit Diversity. Diversify the external sources of applicants to achieve the business benefits of diversity; include sources that specifically target women and minorities.
  • Selection. Interview only applicants who at least meet the minimum requirements established for the job; establish and document objective procedure to further focus the applicant pool if there are too many qualified applicants to interview.
  • Application. Require that every applicant complete and sign an application for employment, even if the applicant has a typed résumé.
  • Nondiscriminatory Interviews. Avoid asking questions that — directly or indirectly — elicit information prohibited by the EEOC; avoid personal questions that may be perceived as inappropriate and/or invasive.
  • Job-Related Interviews. Develop a standardized list of job-related questions, for each position, to ensure consistency in questions and phraseology; focus on past experiences, job requirements, expectations for the future, as well as how the applicant would handle specific workplace situations.
  • Multiple Interviewers. Involve multiple persons in the interview process; ensure demographic diversity among the multiple interviewers.
  • Nondiscriminatory Hiring. Avoid either the consideration or discussion of EEOC characteristics or customer preferences related to the same in the decision-making process; consider and document only legitimate, job-related factors.
  • Hire Diversity. Be aware that in the selection process, the human tendency is to be comfortable with similarity and unconsciously uncomfortable with difference; and that differences in style, perspective and community contacts are beneficial to the business.
  • Reference Checking. Perform a reference check before extending a job offer; document any attempt made to perform a reference check regardless of whether a response was received.

Types of Hiring

Under the pressures of operating a business, many managers treat hiring decisions more casually than they do other business decisions of similar magnitude. Often, managers have concluded from past experiences that hiring is mostly a matter of luck. However, hiring effective employees does not have to be a matter of luck.

Hiring managers generally use three quite different approaches for hiring employees, which produce vastly different results as follows:

  • Warm-body hiring.
  • Ritual hiring.
  • Performance-based, high-impact hiring.

Warm-Body Hiring

Warm-body hiring occurs when managers simply hire the first person available to fill the open employment position.

Warm-body hiring may occur when the following applies:

  • The manager lacks the time to complete a thorough applicant screening and interview process.
  • Few applicants are available for the position.
  • The job is not considered important enough to warrant a thorough screening of applicants.
  • The manager has simply chosen to not take the required steps or make an overt effort.

With warm-body hiring, an employer is essentially hiring individuals at random and without an efficient selection process. Some hires who were chosen randomly will be good employees while others may prove problematic.

The vast majority of randomly hired individuals will be quite mediocre because each position requires specific, tailored job qualifications that most likely cannot be filled through a random selection. As a result, employers with predominately random hires who are a mismatch for the employment position fail to gain an advantage over business competitors.

Ritual Hiring

Many managers perform ritual hiring where the manager hires people either through a method which is similar to how the manager was hired or as commonly seen in the workplace.

Although ritual hiring may be comfortable, in asking the same questions as asked over the last 10 years and allowing for the same amount of time as allowed over the last 10 years, such hiring is not much more likely than warm-body hiring to predict future job performance because it does not adapt to the inevitably changing workplace.

If an employer happens to use a ritual that is job related, the employer will probably end up with more effective hires than with warm-body hiring. However, if the ritual is not job related, the employer will be systematically hiring the wrong people and the results could easily be worse than random, warm-body hiring.

High-Impact Hiring

High-impact hiring offers a performance-oriented alternative to warm-body and ritual hiring.

High-impact hiring includes the following five critical steps:

  • Analyzing performance. The foundation of high-impact hiring is a thorough understanding of what an employer expects the new employee to do while on the job and how this performance adds value to an organization. The cause of most hiring mistakes is not that managers are incapable of understanding people. Rather, hiring mistakes occur because managers have not taken the steps they could to truly understand the performance required for the job. Performance analysis provides the basis for determining the critical attributes (such as skills, knowledge, or attitudes) that differentiate effective employees from the rest.
  • Anticipating turnover. By anticipating hiring needs and strategies before a turnover occurs allows an employer to avoid panic hiring through such strategies as continuous hiring, succession planning, and redesigning jobs. Panic hiring, when employees unexpectedly leave, is a common cause of warm-body hiring.
  • Recruiting high-potential applicants. Fundamentally, an employer cannot hire employees who are better than the applicants recruited. A thorough performance analysis enables employers to move beyond indiscriminate networking and advertising to a planned repertoire of recruiting efforts that build a pool of high-performing candidates.
  • Developing a comprehensive set of hiring tools. To hire for performance, an employer needs to use a combination of assessment procedures that accurately assess the attributes needed to be successful on the job. Depending on the job, this combination may include the following:
    • Structured interviews.
    • Ability to perform the job.
    • Personality and integrity tests.
    • Work samples.
    • Effective background and reference checks.

Using valid, job-related hiring tools differentiates a performance-based high-impact approach from a ritual approach, and also ensures that hiring is performed in compliance with the law.

  • Making effective hiring decisions. The hiring decision must be based on a systematic review of applicants’ capabilities for performance. Basing decisions on a guess, hunch, or on nonperformance-based hiring rituals will transform even the best hiring system into an expensive, ineffective, and potentially illegal hiring ritual.