Step Ahead
Getting Your Workforce to Work For You

by Lori Dernavich

Hiring Techniques to Save You Time and Money

Can you relate to any of these scenarios?

  • You are sitting at your desk when the boss hands you a resume and asks you to help interview a job candidate waiting in the lobby.
  • You receive a significant number of resumes from people responding to your job posting. You are overwhelmed with the response, but manage to pick out eight of the best resumes and invite all eight candidates in for a first interview.
  • You interviewed a candidate who is a friend of one of your employees. The interview goes well, you are busy, so you decide to hire the candidate without checking all references because your employee wouldn't have recommended the candidate if she wasn't good.
  • Even though you have heard he can be difficult to work with, you hire a candidate because he has a reputation in the industry of being one of the best.

So what's the problem? On the surface, it seems like nothing. These are par for the course in business, but in reality, everything is wrong with these scenarios. They often end in disaster as you hire someone you wish you hadn't. Bad hires create great headaches and hit your wallet hard, to the tune of nearly five times a person's annual salary. In today's environment where everything needs to be done yesterday and we're all wearing several different hats in order to compete, the most valuable thing your company can do is to develop a thorough hiring process and consistently stick to it, no matter what internal or external forces may pressure you to do.

Here are some tips to help get you on your way:

  1. Start with a job description tailored specifically for your open position. Gather information from everyone on the team as to what a candidate will need to be successful in the role. This way, everyone on the team will be prepared to give a spontaneous interview.

  2. Ask questions that elicit more than a yes/no answer from a candidate. Past actions often predict future ones, so ask questions that require a candidate to give you examples of their skills and behavior.

  3. Consider not only what skills and experience are needed for the job, but go a step further in defining the behaviors and personality traits that will fit best in your environment. The environment includes culture, management style, customer profile, and teammate personalities.

  4. If you have too many applicants for a position, have a structured 10 minute telephone conversation with each candidate before bringing them in for an interview. You are guaranteed to pare down the list of who you will bring in.

  5. Do not cut corners or rush the process. This means checking all references, conducting background checks, and affirming the truthfulness of a resume, even if the candidate is well-known in the industry or referred by a friend.

Lori Dernavich is President of Step Ahead Consulting. She specializes in executive and team coaching, and conducts job candidate behavioral assessments to determine “fit”. She can be reached at .

Many more articles in The HR Refresher in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2006 by Lori Dernavich. All rights reserved.

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