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There's no "Silver Bullet" in Hiring

I’ve been very fortunate to have excellent mentors throughout my years as a recruiter and talent acquisition leader. They have always challenged me to evaluate and revise my hiring practices to yield a more consistent result in hiring. Regularly evaluating and adjusting your recruiting practices will allow you to develop more proactive recruiting strategies that anticipate the needs of the business rather than react to the needs of the business. There are several elements that are key processes in putting together a strong talent acquisition strategy that is unique to your organization.

Skip the Latest Hiring Practice Trends

Remember how popular Google’s practice of using brain teasers in the hiring process was? Then it wasn’t. (This article details the change of direction: We can all gain some insight from this change of direction: First, evaluate everything you do in the recruiting process for its effectiveness. Ask yourself “why” you are doing the things you are doing. Ask yourself how it adds value to the evaluation process or to the candidate experience. Second, your recruiting processes are an outward reflection of your company culture and are a major component in building your brand as an employer. Make sure that your recruiting processes accurately reflect the culture of your company. Recruiting practices that are inconsistent with you company culture will create confusion for candidates and decrease the likelihood of finding and attracting the right fit for your organization. It is important to understand that from the candidate’s perspective, your hiring practices (which make up the candidate experience) are a data point that right-fit talent will use to align themselves with the organization and determine fit.

Focus on The Candidate Experience

The candidate experience is the summation of your recruiting practices and how you interact with candidates throughout the interview process. It tells candidates a lot about how your company functions, and the “right” talent will use it as a significant factor in evaluating whether or not they want to join your company. So many leaders look to companies like Zappos, Amazon and Google for best practices in hiring. They duplicate these hiring practices only to find out that they are not realizing similar results. The reason? Hiring practices are an inimitable source of competitive advantage because done correctly they are derived from the unique culture that exists in each company. In short, the reason that Zappos’, Google’s and Amazon’s hiring processes work so well is because their recruiting processes (from attraction to on-boarding) align with who they are as a company.

So what can we make of this and how can we use this to attract the right fit to our company?

  • Your hiring processes must be unique to your company.

  • It is incumbent upon talent acquisition leaders to learn the business they are supporting. They must also understand the culture and unique attributes of the teams and hiring managers they are recruiting for.

  • Continuously evaluate your hiring practices for their effectiveness (i.e. their ability to provide better predictive values in how well a candidate will fit in your organization).

  • Review the quality of hires within the first 30 days, and again after 90 days to determine if your hiring practices are working (surveys are a great way to do this)

  • Ask hiring managers for constructive feedback after every hire.

  • Quit looking for the “silver bullet” in the hiring process, and think more about your overall talent strategy in the context of the overarching strategy of the business.

Build the Right Hiring Profile

Putting hiring practices together with a focus towards the candidate experience, vastly increases the likelihood that you can attract the right talent into your organization. It will also help them to join the organization with the right frame of mind and a proper perspective. I am a big advocate of developing a specific interview guide for every position you recruit for. If this isn’t feasible in your organization, then perhaps do so for the positions that you recruit for most frequently. In general, the candidate evaluation process should consider the following areas:

  • Experience (specific work skills and applicable work experience)

  • Capabilities (evaluate soft skills such as work ethic, attitude, judgment, decision-making abilities)

  • Potential (evaluate “upside” of the candidate utilizing assessments that evaluate capacity: IQ, EQ, Personality, etc.)

  • Fit (culture)

You must have a clear picture of what you (and hiring managers) are looking for in each of these areas in order to build the right hiring profile. How you evaluate each of these areas is unique to your organization and can change over time as the organization changes. It can be approached by using interviews (panel, one-on-one and working), assessments, tests, etc. The key is that the approach you use should be consistently applied and align with your company’s business strategy and culture.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, recruiting well is a difficult job. It is a blend of art and science in an effort to use the past and present to try to determine how someone will behave in the future. Most of us are well aware of the significant hard and soft costs associated with hiring the wrong fit. This is why it is important to build and treat your recruiting processes like any other business function in an organization. Develop a plan, execute that plan, evaluate its results, adjust the plan. . . repeat. Over time, your recruiting processes will reflect the best practices that you have established for your own organization, giving your company a source of competitive advantage that rivals those of the industry titans.

Happy Hunting!

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