Best Practices for Hiring

By Sean Gordon

Hiring is a risky process. It can be done quickly with a reasonable chance of success about 54 percent of the time. But the failures can be very costly.

Failure rates

Surveys have found that almost half (46 percent) of newly hired employees fail within the first 18 months. Only 26 percent of new hires meet with unequivocal success. That means that 25 percent of new hires do ok, but not great.

  • Most of the time, employees fail not because they lack skills, but because of issues of social intelligence.
  • Many fail because they can’t accept feedback and supervision.
  • They fail because they lack the motivation to excel.
  • They fail because they have a temperament that doesn’t fit the workplace.
  • Only 11 percent of poor hires are because the employee lacks the necessary technical skills.
  • The factors most difficult to assess, soft interpersonal skills, attitudes, and emotional fit with a specific position are the factors most important for success or failure.

The rush to collect candidates for open positions has led to the mechanization of hiring, a kind of throw-them-against-the-wall-and-see-who-sticks paradigm. Internet job boards appear to be very convenient for the mass of applicants looking for work and for the employer who wants to collect volumes of resumes. Many applicants find that they can apply for dozens of positions, send resumes out and hear nothing. Many potential employers find an almost unlimited supply of resumes quickly. They make selections quickly and as often as not can’t find the right candidate or, worse, hire the wrong candidate.

The hiring funnel

Resumes are nearly useless in assessing the genuine fit of candidate and job. The volume of resumes submitted on job boards is dizzying. According to one estimate, 250 resumes are offered for each corporate job offering. It’s a mad rush. The first resumes are received within 200 seconds after posting. The major job boards receive 427,000 resumes every week. The job board is the entry point in a gigantic “hiring funnel.” For a specific online job posting, on average,

  • 1,000 will view the posting.
  • 200 will begin the application process.
  • 100 will complete the application process.
  • 75 applications will be quick screened by someone.
  • 25 resumes will actually be viewed by the recruiting manager.
  • 4 to 6 will be invited for interviews.
  • 1 to 3 will be invited for a second interview.
  • 1 will receive the job offer.
  • .8 will accept the job.
  • What golden nuggets of talent are cut out of the hiring early? We already know the percentage of those who get so far into the machine that they are hired, actually succeed.

The interview process is not a strong technique for assessing the factors most often responsible for employee success or failure. The hiring manager often looks for some abstract idea of what a good candidate looks like, and really has no idea what the actual job calls for.

What are the best practices for hiring?

  • Write job descriptions that actually detail what the job entails. The job description should enable the recruiter to understand the kind of personal traits the work requires. What are the channels of communication and supervision in the job? How public is the job? How much social interaction does it entail? How much persuasion? Some jobs demand people happiest in isolation, others demand a high preference for cooperation. Some jobs will require upwardly mobile people. Others will require people who only want stability and do not like change.
  • Recruit slowly. Don’t overwhelm the recruiting process with numbers. Make sure you don’t miss good talent in the rush to obtain resumes. Some candidates who will succeed in your particular position, may not look like abstractly ideal business material.
  • Find ways to empirically test for the traits and skills specifically necessary in the job. Interview questions should be based on concrete facts not open attitude statements that bring out response biases not relevant to the selection.
  • Where possible, use job sample tests not only for skill testing but also to assess needed approaches to real issues and decision-making.
  • Look for ways to assess tolerance for supervision and ability to accept criticism and feedback.
  • Use a behavioral approach to hiring. Match interview statements to real job requirements.

vidREACH’s methods came to life while with hiring thousands of people and sifting through thousands of interviews. We knew there had to be a better way, one that values the time of both applicants and those doing the hiring. Please contact us to find out more.

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