What’s the cost of one bad apple? About one day per week, if you’re a manager.
Financial executives surveyed by Robert Half found that supervisors spend 17 percent of their time, on average, overseeing poorly performing employees. In another recent survey, nearly one-quarter of executives reported that a bad hire can cost their business more than $50,000 (£33,000) — enough to give any employer indigestion.
Taking care to pick the “good apples” among candidates can create many positive returns for your firm, including greater productivity and higher morale for your whole team. While the hiring process is never perfect — it involves human beings, after all — there are ways to improve your chances of selecting someone who will be a strong fit for the available position as well as your work environment. Here are some strategies for success:
Gather input from relevant parties.
Before you even post an ad for employment, ask colleagues what competencies and attributes they believe the professional will need to succeed in the role. Be sure to ask for input from those who would work directly with the candidate; they’re likely to have especially good insight on what a new hire needs to bring to the table in order to complement the team.
Be on-target with details.
One critical mistake many employers make when hiring is matching professionals to outdated job descriptions. Asking others in the organization for their input is only part of the updating process, however. You’ll also want to study leading employment sites to see how other businesses are advertising similar positions.
Think critically, too, about what you want the candidate to deliver to the firm over the long term. For example, is the available role one that could be a stepping-stone to a management position in the organization? If so, make sure you’re considering a candidate’s leadership potential in addition to her current skill sets and abilities. (See Robert Half’s website for some additional tips on creating effective job descriptions.)
Go deep with interview questions.
Ask candidates to tell you what they know —and what appeals to them — about the firm, its industry and clients, and its culture. The last item is especially important. A candidate who truly wants to be employed by your organization will have done his homework about your work environment and researched what employees, past and present, have said about their experience working for you. (Another tip: Before you conduct interviews, give potential hires a quick tour of the office so they can see your team at work; their impressions will be an important factor in whether they decide they’re a good fit for the organisation.)
Lack of proper attention to the hiring process is often the root cause for a bad personnel decision. If you know you simply don’t have time to evaluate candidates thoroughly, you may want to consider committing a dedicated resource, such as a specialized recruiting firm, to the task. This can help to ensure your firm has a bounty of good apples for consideration.