You Wouldn’t Hire a Stranger – or Would You?

You Wouldn’t Hire a Stranger – or Would You?

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 10, 2019

0 Author-Jeanne, Blog, Hiring.Best Practices, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS get connected

PACE Staffing NetworkHiring is a Risky Business!

Think about it.  If you’re a hiring manager you’re betting that the person you interviewed on Friday is the person who shows up for work on Monday.    If you’re a candidate,  you’re betting that the job you accepted on Friday contains the same work described to you during your interview.

If either of these “bets” are off, both the hiring manager and a job candidate may end up feeling like you’ve either hired or gone to work for a stranger! 

With 50% of all hiring decisions ending up as hiring mistakes, chances are you’re one of those people who have hired someone you wish you hadn’t!

We see a lot of hiring mistakes stemming from hiring managers not doing their homework – not knowing enough about a candidate before they’ve hired them.  That’s easy to do when the hiring process isn’t designed to produce the right hiring results.   We go too fast and miss important information during the initial resume review.   Our interviews are disjointed or irrelevant.  We don’t check references.  In short, we don’t take the time necessary to gather up the information we need to make a good hiring decision – we don’t know what we don’t know.

Here’s some things we typically need to know about a candidate BEFORE WE HIRE THEM…

  • Where the candidate has worked. For how long and doing what?
  • Why did they leave these jobs?  Why did they stay?
  • What type of work have they done in their past that has kept them engaged? What type of work has turned them off?
  • How do they like to be supervised?  Are you the type of supervisor that will bring out their best?  What changes will you need to make in how you supervise their work?
  • What are their strengths/things you can count on them to do well? What are their weaknesses/things you may need to help them with?
  • What do they hope to accomplish if they decide to work for you? What kind of raises are they expecting after six months?  one year?  What kind of career advancement are they expecting?
  • Based on their work history how are they likely to address the types of challenges they are going to face in the near future? How do you expect they will react to these types of pressures?
  • What will they need to learn in order to do their new job well?  Based on their work history, what is the best way to get them trained?
  • Why do they want to work for you – really?  What are they hoping to accomplish in their career by accepting this role?
  • How long will it take for them to get to work? Is their transportation to and from the job dependable?
  • How closely did the information they provided (in their interview, application or resume) match up with what you learned from talking to former employers or coworkers? How comfortable are you that you can trust them to tell the truth without exaggeration?
  • If you see any gaps in a candidate’s work history – what was the candidate doing during those gaps?

This list can grow (or shrink) depending on what you know about the job you are trying to fill.  If you don’t know enough about the job, you can’t know what candidate information to gather.

Where and how do you get the information needed to turn a candidate who is a stranger into an employee you know well?   

Here are some “to dos” you can use to avoid hiring surprises! 

  • Make sure you are working with an accurate, current and relevant job description.  An incomplete or inaccurate description of the responsibilities of the role and how they are carried out on a day to day basis, is a big contributor to hiring mistakes.  Candidates who believe they are accepting an opportunity that is a step up, and end up in a job that is actually a step down from their previous jobs, will quickly uncover their mistake and act like a stranger when they come to your office to give notice.
  • Get clear on a short list of key requirements – those things the right candidate needs to bring to the table that are directly related to on the job success.  Make sure all participants in the hiring process are clear about what those key requirements are and that your vetting process fully explores how each candidate meets those key requirements.
  • Require each candidate to fill out a formal application.  While you can start your hiring process by reviewing a candidate’s resume, we highly recommend that you all job candidates to complete a structured application form where key information can be collected and viewed in a standardized format.
  • Organize a sequence of structured interviews, involving all hiring stakeholders.   The interviewing process should have many steps – starting with a phone screen but followed by a series of organized conversations (interviews) with the hiring manager, future team members, and senior management stakeholders, all organized to learn something important about the candidate that is relevant to how they will perform on the job.  To make sure you have effective comparisons between candidates, every candidate should be asked the same questions in the same way.   
  • Make sure your selection process includes “casual” off line time – either an initial “get to know you meeting” at a nearby coffee shop, or some type of a casual “outside the norm” conversation that takes place prior to your decision to hire.  Getting a candidate away from the office for conversations involving minimal structure and no “drill downs” will reveal things about a candidate you would never pick up in a formal interview.
  • Include professionally crafted  skill and aptitude testing….focused on the relevance of the information the candidate provides to the actual work content. Assessments of a candidate’s cognitive ability are particularly important in many work environments where the ability to learn is key to the ability to perform.  At PACE we find that professionally crafted assessments of a candidates’ motivational fit for a specific type of work content can be quite revealing with respect to who a candidate is – really.
  • Don’t short cut relevant convos with previous employers. If you aren’t talking to a candidate’s former employers and coworkers to “verify” what the candidate has told you is “true”, much of the information you are gathering may turn out to have no value.   A properly conducted reference check – focused on verifying the information that the candidate has already provided – is legally defensible, provides information not available via any other screening process, and often  provides valuable insights on a candidate’s self awareness.

Does just thinking about all these steps in the hiring process make you tired?

We thought it might.

The good news is that PACE has all the hiring solutions you need – ranging from full package recruiting and placement services to a menu driven set of candidate evaluation services you can purchase separately to augment your own hiring process. 

Want to know more?  LET’S CONNECT!

PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire the right employees for over 40 years.  A  3 time winner of the coveted “Best of Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire placement services, and Employer of Record (payroll) services.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees, contact us at 425-637-3312 or email our Partner Solutions  team  at infodesk@pacestaffing.comu


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