Archive for April, 2011

How to Hire the Best Available?

It seems harder to get good people while unemployment is so high.

Now should be a great time to find reliable and energetic people to grow and further develop our collective workforces. However, I am not sure whether we are all waiting for the economic turnaround thinking we will get our old world back or, just putting off accepting the new reality. In any case, it remains difficult to find quality workers to add to our team.

There was a time when vocational/technical schools provided a reliable stream of young people with good intuition and a desire to learn. Today, these schools are not producing enough people ready and willing to work in industrial environments. And, the challenge facing those with more advanced skills and seniority is a mixed bag; unrealistic earning requirements, less productive work habits and poor attitudes.

So how do you find the right people to join your team?  How do you know if the person in front of you is in it for the long haul?  And where do you start on the search for a qualified employee?

Filling our employment requirements used to be a constant challenge.  We have addressed this issue by creating a versatile hiring process that works for any type of employee category, from sales to shop labor.

The process starts with having a clear outline of the skills required for the position. If the position is a current one, a quick look at the formal job description should be all that is necessary to create a job offering statement. If you are creating a position for the first time or have been operating without such protocols in your company, you’ll need to create a list of skill requirements and expectations you have for the position. Then, turn the list into an advertisement.

Your ad or position statement can then be communicated through your social networks and placed in commercial job post media. There are many schools of thought on how to structure and compose a recruitment ad. The Internet is full of resources for this step.

Word of mouth is always an excellent way to begin the job search.  It removes some of the unknowns from the equation.  Ask your staff for referrals and prepare and send an email to appropriate vendors, customers and friends of the company for recommendations and referrals.

The process we developed at our company helps ensure that we find good employees who know how to follow directions. The steps are organized to quickly qualify or disqualify prospects in the most efficient manner. Our first principle is to always be on the lookout for good people.

Once we get interested in someone, we engage respondents in the process.

We insist that candidates include a cover letter highlighting their background and the reason they believe they are qualified for the position. If the cover letter does not come in, we don’t even look at the resume. Either the prospect is “Robo” responding or doesn’t follow directions.

When responses come to us, we briefly review the cover letter and resume to determine if the prospect meets our general requirements. If we believe they may, we forward back a complete job description with a questionnaire. We want to see how they write, if they will follow directions and if they are “connected” to the position. If they don’t meet the criteria, we reject them.

Even with a comprehensive interview process, sometimes things don’t work out.  It can be costly to hire and train an employee and then find out they are not the right fit.  We have found that a trial period of 30 to 90 days greatly improves the likelihood of success in hiring a new employee.

Many other companies are now doing this—offering the candidate the position on a contingency basis.  After the trial period, their performance is evaluated.  At that time, they are either let go because they don’t meet company standards or, they are hired as a full-time employee.

There should be plenty of qualified employment prospects.  Finding the right fit is achievable if you have a process. As the hard facts of our economic reality take hold, I believe workers will seek quality companies that offer sustainable wages and ample opportunity for growth.

1 Comment