Overhaul Your Hiring & Retention Strategies By Asking New Questions

Hiring Retention Onboarding

Warning: Don’t fall for fancy tech and an overly automated candidate selection process

Competition for top talent these days is brutal. And keeping good employees is even tougher. Managers who want a driven team need to think outside the traditional HR and retention box and become more agile and dynamic when hiring. Plus, you must appeal to millennials.

The first step: Learn a new style of interviewing, and not just for new hires, advises HR pro Marcia Zidle. Behavioral interviews, she says, can be used to go beyond standard assessments of a candidate’s abilities—and so-called “stay interviews” can quickly reveal employee motivators (and demotivators) so that you can redirect (and keep) top performers. 

Problem: High-Tech, Not High-Touch, Hiring Practices

The current unemployment rate is around 4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, though in some hot markets it’s half that—Hawaii, North Dakota, Colorado, and seven other states are sitting at under 3 percent. Those figures don’t tell the whole story, however, and the details behind the job picture may show why your company can’t hire the talent it needs.

“The view from a lot of chief executives is that there aren’t any good workers left,” reports the Washington Post: “Over half of small business owners in America say there are ‘few or no qualified applicants’ for the jobs they have open right now.” A survey by NFIB backs that up.

The problem has a number of roots, not all of which are because of a strong economy. Many employers seek special skills while some complain that workers show up intoxicated, late, or with too many personal problems to work effectively.

Misstep: The difficulty of finding workers has sent some HR departments into overdrive, reports Entrepreneur—all too often at the expense of sound hiring and retention practices.

“From shaking someone’s hand to actually reading through a candidate’s cover letter and resume,” Entrepreneur reports, “many employers are bypassing important aspects of the hiring process, much to applicants’ chagrin. Eighty-two percent of survey participants said they are frustrated with an overly automated job search experience, and 87 percent of respondents said that technology has made the job search more impersonal.”

Smart: Answer Just 2 Simple Questions

Too many companies use too much tech when hiring, affirms Tucker Max in Entrepreneur.

At its core, hiring should answer two questions: Does the applicant have the skills (and proof of those skills) needed to do the job? And will the applicant fit in with and get along with your other workers?

Max realized his company was hiring people who looked “impressive,” a trait that fails to capture how a person thinks or the quality of their work. The solution was to understand the exact skills a job requires, ask for specific examples of those skills, and to use the hiring process itself as a test.

Use Onboarding As a Teaching Tool

Of course, even the strongest candidate won’t tick every box. But good onboarding can help fill in some “soft skills” gaps, says Workopolis.

The site recommends spending about half your training time on high-priority skills and behaviors—relegating the spelling out of performance standards and expectations to the other half. You should be both “championing” those high-priority behaviors “and teaching them,” Workopolis says.

Meanwhile, perks that attract workers to a particular business—free car washes or dry cleaning pickup—aren’t likely what it takes to keep them there, adds CNN.

“Having a strong company culture helps workers feel more purposeful and connected to their work,” explained CNN. “That leads to more engaged and loyal workers.”

No part of the hiring or retention process can be done in a vacuum, explains Zidle—that’s why your hiring, onboarding, and retention practices may all deserve a revamp.

(This post first appeared in a ProfEd blog)

By Jeff S on 9th August 2018

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