Recruiting the right people the first time is a strong determinant of long-term business success. As well as saving time, money and stress, we have to remember that without effective employees, it becomes more challenging to grow a brand and make your business stand apart.
With several interviews, testing, reference and background checks, plus the administration involved with induction, it takes around 40 hours to recruit a permanent employee.
We can plot the lost hours on paper. But whether you’re replacing a member of your team, creating a new role, or expanding a team, we need to fully understand the cost of a poor hire versus the benefits of the right person. That’s because the financial impact of hiring is exponential.
Considering that the average time (non-founding) managers will spend at a company is eight years, that could mean a massive difference in possible innovation and productivity gains by simply settling on a ‘passable’ candidate.
A poor recruiting choice can also be damaging enough to take a company backwards. We’ve heard the story of one business who recruited their CFO through a networking function. He happened to have forged his financial qualifications and references, something that wasn’t discovered for 18 months, long after he’d advised the company on some costly investments.
Look at long-term value
In the case where an employee has chosen to leave at short notice or has been terminated, the knee-jerk reaction is to fill that position immediately with someone who has a similar skillset. However, this “one in, one out” approach may overlook the organisation’s long-term goals.
Filling a vacancy may not be what is required. Instead, looking holistically at what is lacking in the organisation will help determine what is needed from the candidate.
How to retool the role
We need to start with an exit interview (in the situation where you’re replacing someone). Many organisations bypass this step, perhaps to avoid confronting possible failures on the part of management or the organisational structure. But, in the words of philosopher George Santayana, “Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.”
Exit interviews are essential to understanding what challenges a new candidate will need to overcome, as well as gain a perspective on what may be lacking in the role or direction of the organisation. Even an employee leaving on ‘bad terms’ will perhaps be able to give you the most honest feedback about the mood in the trenches, or changes to make the position appealing long term. Those changes may simply be in the personality of the employee you hire.
Experience and technical competence are just two key indicators of an employee’s expected performance; other factors become especially important when hiring for leadership roles. For example; looking at coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.
Lastly, discussing what’s required across the various levels of your corporate strata (including knowledge- and skill gaps, and cultural fit) will help to delineate a clear goal across the recruitment process.
A lot of things need to go right to get the right person, however, start with a clear outline of what your company needs in the role, not just a cookie cutter template of what came before. Look beyond only technical capability for the cultural fit your organisation will need. And remember, the desire for a position has weight. A candidate who needs a little training and carries fire for the job is more likely to stick around in the long term, especially if they’re an ideal personality fit. This alone could save you at least 40 hours of work.