As a business owner, you know that hiring the right staff makes a huge difference when it comes to running a successful operation. If you’ve been noticing your revolving door increasing in momentum, it might be time to review your hiring strategies and interviewing skills.
Katelyn Braidberg, a recruiting manager based in Calgary, Alberta, notes that the wrong hire can cost a lot. “Time spent training, onboarding, pulling other staff off their focus to supervise or mentor… if an organization has to repeat this process several times for a single position, the amount of time and money wasted quickly adds up,” says Braidberg.
Here are some key methods entrepreneurs should use to minimize time and profits wasted on hiring and training new employees:
Do your homework
Recruiters spend all day, every day, interviewing candidates. Over time, they can refine their techniques to help companies hire the best staff. Before you begin, Braidberg recommends being sure you have a thorough understanding of the position and necessary skills required, as well as the culture and “fit” a candidate may need to thrive within your organization.
“Be sure they understand any challenges, management styles, and future opportunities,” added Braidberg, who recommends meeting with candidates in person, giving them an opportunity to see the office or workplace environment. “This will assist the vetting and qualifying process of candidates.”
Be prepared for your interview and follow an agenda so time doesn’t slip away from you. Notetaking throughout the interview will ensure you remember to ask the right questions and probe for specific examples from the candidate. This also makes comparison of candidates during decision time simpler.
Understand market challenges
During this economic downturn, hiring is more important than ever. Feeling the impact of the recession stronger than any other area in Canada, the oil and gas industry has flooded the job seeking market with over-qualified and in some cases frantic applicants. In a flooded job market, Braidberg estimates there are likely less than 3 to 5% of qualified candidates in that mix. Avoid being overwhelmed if your administration job posting gets over 300 resume responses by delegating.
“Small to mid-size companies are relying more heavily on professional recruiters—they need their expertise especially through the vetting process, which can be in areas that they are not qualified in,” said Braidberg. “As a recruiter, you can match the company’s culture as well as confirm technical skills, which companies can end up spending large amounts of time interviewing and not finding the right candidate.”
Ask the right questions
You’ve got a list of required skills or training you’ll need to get the job done, but don’t be afraid to look for other opportunities in a candidate.
“I think organizations are always looking for someone that can ‘do more’,” said Braidberg. “Experience in other areas that are beneficial to the specific company could be very appealing.”
But don’t forget to cover your basics. Braidberg doesn’t hesitate from initiating conversation with the standard ‘tell me about your background’ opener. Then, ask them to highlight specific achievements and accomplishments, preferably something that they can quantify or identify areas where they can add value.
Always ask why they left a position to move to another. Questions about what they liked or disliked in their least or most favourite manager can provide good insight on fit, too.
“Sometimes I like to ask about a time that they failed reaching a professional goal,” said Braidberg. “This tells me how honest someone is willing to be and how reflective they are.”
Ensure to bring up their understanding of future goals in the long and short term, and what path they see themselves taking.
“Technical skills are important but fit is crucial, so ask questions that will identify if someone is going to succeed in your environment,” advises Braidberg.
Follow up thoroughly
An effective candidate screening and vetting process should include in-person interviews, reference checks from two to three direct managers, and additional background checks if required.
The reference stage is arguably the most critical, as this is where you will receive important information regarding someone you might hire. Be organized in your reference conversation, just as you would your interview.
“Be sure that the candidates can provide you references from people who actually supervised their work and verify that,” said Braidberg. “Be prepared to have a thorough and lengthy conversation with their references.”