We hear a lot of chatter about today’s hiring practices. It’s everywhere in the news and our consulting company is regularly approached by clients asking for our help in navigating the “new norm.” We advise our clients to do exactly what worked prior to the recent recruiting and hiring struggles.
Clients who have followed a structured hiring process still see challenges, but the challenges are those that we can count on to always remain the same. One lesson we can learn about the hiring process is that change is the only constant.
Today, the labor pool is shallower and the people in it are more discerning and difficult to communicate with. However, utilizing a structured hiring process (one that mirrors the pre-pandemic hiring process) aids in finding the right employee regardless of ever-changing circumstances. If you can maintain one variable in a tumultuous environment, you create a foundation of stability and security that you can rely on.
Those clients that followed this advice still hired good team members and have good retention of those members. The clients that abandoned the structured hiring process and tried to short cut their approach began to experience the chaos of disorganized hiring practices and poor communication — higher turnover and difficulty in recruiting qualified candidates.
What is the secret to hiring in a changing labor pool? It’s employing the same process that has been successful and applying it consistently! Effective hiring requires:
- Being transparent about the position
Companies believe they need to sell a position, so they put the best aspects into the listing to highlight salary, benefits, and culture. People today are still searching for work that pays the bills and supports the lifestyle they envision for themselves and their families. In addition, more people now care about the culture of the company they work for and will look closely at the integrity of the leaders, the diversity, and whether the environment fosters authentic collaboration.
Many companies may try to sell only the perks that come with the positions, but bending the truth or hiding part of the job will only lead to high turnover. This means that any job listing needs to describe the position in honest detail. Help candidates understand the hours involved, the office environment, the opportunities for advancement, and be clear about roles and the organization’s expectations.
- Including team members who will work with the new hire in interviews
A big mistake that happens in the hiring process is not including those from the team in which the new hire will be working in interviewing applicants. The perspective of team members can help to ascertain how well a candidate will fit in with the group. They may also have deeper insight into what is required for the position and have appropriate questions to ask during the interview process to determine if candidates will have the skills necessary to perform well.
Additionally, including the direct manager and one of the team members who will be responsible for onboarding or working with the new hire creates a few advantages for everyone. First, the prospective team member can engage with a person with whom they will work. This interaction proves valuable both in weeding out people who aren’t a fit and in solidifying buy-in from the one that does. Second, the first day for the new person is much less stressful when they have someone with whom they’ve already made a connection. Finally, when more team members participate in interviewing prospects, we’ve seen a definite decrease in turnover of new hires in industries that tend to have more attrition: the trades, food service, and hospitality.
- Making onboarding a big deal
Prepare to welcome your new team member. The new hire’s first day represents an important change for your company, your team, and the person joining you. Ensure that the person recognizes they are welcome and that the team is prepared to help them acclimate and settle into their surroundings. This doesn’t mean throwing them a party. It means that your organization and everyone who will be involved in supporting the person’s first day has a plan in place prior to the new hire’s arrival to accomplish what’s needed and ensure your new team member feels part of the team from the moment they step through the door.
Ensure paperwork is ready for completion and that onboarding includes a review of company culture, the employee handbook, and relevant policies and procedures. Make introductions to anyone with whom the person may interact to help smooth the way. You don’t want the response from others upon their first encounter to be a surprised, “Oh, so you’re the new person that everyone’s talking about.”
Hiring during changing times doesn’t have to be any different than before. While the labor pool may be smaller, keeping positive and engaging hiring tactics is the way to ensure success. Be honest about what you’re looking for, include your team, and be prepared to onboard attentively.
Written by Dr. Brian Smith.
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