Hiring new employees is a high-stakes challenge for any business. Even the biggest, most profitable corporations, with huge HR departments and massive resources, swing and miss on their share of hires. So if you want to make the perfect hire for your small or midsize business, you need a quality game-plan.
Hiring and training a new employee costs money, sometimes a lot of it. A recent article in Forbes pegs the cost at 15 percent of a new hire’s first-year salary. So if an new employee was set to make $40,000 per year, you’re looking at a $6,000 sunk cost if that employee fails.
The time investment is substantial, too. First, you’ve got the initial, extensive task of recruiting and interviewing. Then there’s time spent training a new employee, and waiting to see if they can adapt to the job. Finally, when the hire goes wrong, the cycle repeats with the next round of interviews and training.
Missing on a hire is costly, but there are steps you can take to minimize that risk. It’s worth the effort. Hiring the right people can change the whole trajectory of your business. Let’s take a look at how you can hire great employees, regardless of your recruiting budget.
Understand What You’re Looking For
The hiring process starts with you. Consider the key traits required to succeed in the open position. Be specific. Everyone is looking for hardworking, self-motivated, personable employees who work well under pressure, so broad categorizing won’t do much to narrow your search.
- Once you narrow down the key traits and skills needed for the position, it’s time to create a hiring ad that draws top talent. The classic format still applies. Potential employees want to know what the position entails, what skills are required, and what range of compensation to expect.
- Don’t forget to search internally, too. Asking current employees to refer potential hires is often an excellent way to find qualified prospects. Aileron, writing for Forbes, suggests a referral bonus as an incentive for current employees to recommend potential hires.
Ask the Right Questions
The value of an interview depends largely on the questions you ask. Your basic, fact-based question won’t change much from interview to interview. These are the questions about education, experience, and prior employment that form the foundation of the interview. After the basics are dealt with, ask questions that illuminate behavior, as this excellent HubSpot article suggests.
- Ask questions that reveal how the interviewee handles adversity. What’s the most difficult project you’ve ever completed? Have you come up with a creative solution to a seemingly intractable challenge? What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from a failed project?
- You can also use the interview to gauge the prospect’s passion for learning and improvement. What are you interests outside of work? Are you learning about anything interesting right now? How do you feel about the latest trends in this industry?
Know When to Cut Bait
No matter how strong your hiring process, you’re still going to miss sometimes. It’s a fact of life. When a new hire isn’t working out, the best thing you can do is approach the situation honestly. You don’t want to cut bait before a hire has a chance to adapt, but there’s no sense waiting around when someone’s obviously not a fit.
- If you keep your finger on the pulse of your office, you’ll be able to tell when a new addition upsets office chemistry. Are cliques developing that didn’t exist before? Are subordinates fleeing from a new manager? Does the new hire take responsibility for their work? One person with a bad attitude can upset the entire office atmosphere, as Josh Cline details for Forbes.
- Don’t forget the basic metrics. Quotas and KPIs may not be perfect measurements, but they can definitely let you know if a new employee is failing. Give your employees the tools to succeed, and don’t be afraid to move on if necessary.
Hiring new employees will never be an exact science, but a strong plan will put you ahead of the game. As you move through the process, pay heed to your instincts. Combine instinct and analysis, and you’ve got a strong chance of making a home-run hire.
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