We all know that hiring someone possesses a certain amount of risk. At a minimum, most of us worry about the depth of the candidate’s abilities, the candidate’s ability to fit in with the rest of the team and the organization as a whole, and the probability that the candidate will remain with the organization and consistently produce at the level needed. Each of these in turn relate to a rather large, latent concern of what if the candidate fails to be everything hoped for, will he or she have to be let go at some point in the future. Consequently, it is common for the typical decision maker to oscillate between the excitement of increasing the team’s abilities and the fear of making a mistake.
Several past clients have likened the hiring process to trying to select the least negative outcome. One leader described hiring as “I know that it will turn out bad eventually, but I want to minimize how bad it will be.” Another characterized the process as “I know what I want and cannot afford, so I just hope to get someone that has most of what I want.” A more recent one made the point “people will say anything to get a job, so I really have to be an investigator.” When I asked the same leaders what were the real issues, three things generated the greatest concerns:
- Cumbersome nature of the hiring process
- Lack of good candidates
- Poor results of those hired
Cumbersome Nature of Hiring Process
One of the biggest concerns of managers is the time and effort it takes to hire a new employee. Hiring like other functions suffers from the “not broken, do not fix” perception. It is easy to assume if people are being hired, then the process must be working. However, research has shown that there is considerable variation in the hiring process and the associated costs and efficiencies. Although some elements of the process are necessary, many times streamlining can preserve the integrity of the process while increasing efficiency.
Lack of Good Candidates
Even in an economic downturn, it is not always easy to find strong candidates. Some of the major reasons include the reputation of the employer, labor market availability, and reaching the most desired segment of the market. In the last few years, numerous clients have indicated that there are many more applications, but the number of strong candidates has stayed the same or even decreased. Typically, a downturn serves as a mechanism for reducing the weakest segments of an organization’s workforce.
Poor Results of Those Hired
The final concern is closely related to “buyer’s remorse” or the fear that I will select the wrong option and be disappointed. As leaders, we work with imperfect information in an imperfect world. Mistakes are the nature of being human. Consequently, it is important to reduce the number of less than optimal hires to the best of our ability.
Obviously, in every organization people are the greatest asset and attracting and retaining the best people are critical to success. Going into the hiring process with dread is not the ideal. In the next few posts, we will explore what you can do to reduce worry and maximize your desired results.