Whether handled by supervisors and managers or assigned to a centralized human resources (HR) department, hiring decisions are among the most important decisions made in any organization.
Good hiring practices can eliminate or reduce many legal risks, reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve morale. Ill-advised hiring decisions, on the other hand, can result in turnover, duplicative training, missed opportunities, and lost customers.
In addition, an ill-advised hire may lead to employment termination; and every termination (no matter how justifiable and well documented) exposes the company to the risk of a wrongful termination lawsuit or discrimination claim from the disgruntled former employee. For all these reasons, it pays to take the time to find the right person for the job the first time around.
1. Develop a Hiring Strategy
An employer's hiring strategy should have clear goals that are aligned with the goals of the organization. Hiring should not be considered only on the day that an employee gives notice, and there is an immediate need to fill his or her position. Particularly in a tight labor market, attracting and retaining top talent requires a thoroughly thought-out hiring strategy that is tailored to the individual characteristics and needs of an organization.
The interview process is one of the most critical decisions that a company must make. Selecting employees with the knowledge, skills and abilities to get the job done and grow within the organization is critical to the company’s overall success.
Identifying the job opening and evaluating the need for a new hire is vital. Align the recruitment process with the strategic goals of the organization. Is your company looking to expand or merely to fill existing positions as they become vacant? Is the organization rapidly growing so that it can offer frequent advancement opportunities?
Depending on an organization's current status and goals, it may benefit from hiring strategies that focus on finding employees at the entry level with potential and willingness to learn the business and develop necessary skills. Such a strategy allows the organization to hire employees at the entry level, where costs are lowest, and develop and tailor their skills to match the organization's requirements over time. On the other hand, an organization that grows slowly and therefore cannot offer as many advancement opportunities is better served by a strategy that relies more heavily on outside talent at all levels.
Conduct an analysis on the core competencies and the knowledge, skills, and abilities. Are there current gaps, are skills missing from the department, what might be required now and those that may be needed in the future.
2. Accurate, Updated Job Descriptions
Development of a job description is key to a successful recruitment process. A Job Description should be used as a tool to assist with recruitment, performance management, compensation, reasonable accommodation and support for employment decisions. All of the essential information pertaining to a particular position should be represented on a job description.
While there is no set rule on the length of job descriptions, brevity and conciseness should be the goal. However, do not limit a job description to a one page document if it isn’t necessary—it is imperative to include all necessary and essential functions of the job.
Accurate job descriptions provide a basis for job evaluation and an equitable wage and salary structure. In particular, well written job descriptions should:
- Clarify who is responsible for what within the company. They also help define relationships between individuals and between departments. By accomplishing this they can settle grievances, minimize conflicts, and improve communications.
- Help the jobholder understand the responsibilities of their position. This not only enables the employee to assess everything they are accountable for, but also provides a sense of where the job fits into the company as a whole.
- Assist job applicants, employees, and upper management at every stage in the employment relationship, from recruitment to retirement. Provide information about the knowledge, training, education, and skills needed for each job.
- Help management analyze and improve the company’s structure. They reveal whether all company responsibilities are adequately covered and where these responsibilities should be reallocated if necessary to achieve better balance.
- Provide a basis from which to determine whether a disabled applicant is otherwise qualified for the job, and if so, to assist in determining what accommodations would be required for the applicant to be able to perform the essential functions of the position.
A job description does not need to account for every task that might ever be done, but should include the most critical components of the position.
- Heading information: This should include job title, pay grade or range, reporting relationship, hours or shifts, and the likelihood of overtime or weekend work.
- Summary objective of the job: List the general responsibilities and descriptions of key tasks and there purpose, relationships with customers, coworkers, and the results expected of incumbent employees.
- Qualifications: State the education, experience, training, and technical skills necessary for entry into this job.
- Special demands: This should include any extraordinary conditions applicable to the job.
- Job duties and responsibilities: Only two features of job responsibility are important: identifying tasks that comprise about 80-95 % of the work done and listing tasks in order of the time consumed.
- The first task listed should be the most important or time-consuming and so on.
- Employers can cover 80-95 % or more of most tasks and responsibilities in a few statements.
- It’s more important to list what must be performed and accomplished than how. Being too specific on how to accomplish a duty could lead to ADA issues when an employee asks for an accommodation.
3. Sourcing Candidates
Once a job description is created and the strategic goals of the company are in line, deciding where to find candidates is something that needs to be considered carefully. Depending on the type of job and skill set will determine where and how to find qualified applicants.
In determining where hiring will work best, employers should consider the cost of using a search firm or placing an ad. Also, it’s important to consider the time constraints of the position, is it immediate or can the company afford to have the position open for an extended period of time?
Employers have many options and methods to use in recruiting candidates—internal referrals, internal postings, online job boards, social media, employment agencies, or job fairs. Using a variety of methods should yield the greatest candidate pool.
4. Preparation for interviews
Once applicants are selected for interviews, hiring focus shifts to the interviewing process. In order to maximize success in interviewing, employers should consider the following:
- Setting: It’s really critical to take a moment to review your process and see the interview from the eyes of the candidate. Most interviews take place in the workplace. Are these areas private, comfortable and free from distractions or interruptions? Consider the setting when preparing for the next interview and the seating arrangement.
- Structure: Create a structure by outlining how the hiring manager and or HR want this interview process to go. When creating a structure, determine who will be involved in the interview process and why. If multiple people are involved, the process should be divided so that the candidate is not getting bombarded with the same questions time after time.
- Questions: Anyone involved in the interview process should be aware of questions that can and cannot be ask. The interviewer should decide what they want to ask to determine whether or not the applicant has the skills and abilities to perform the job. This process should be kept simple. Use only one or two questions per job requirement. Applicants past performance at similar tasks is a good predictor of future performance. If multiple employees are involved in the hiring process, determine who will ask which questions. Candidates should not be asked the same questions repeatedly by different people within the organization. A great way to end the interview is to allow time for applicants to ask questions.
- Note taking: Taking notes during the interview is important to remember certain responses by the candidate. Notes should transmit job related information about past experience and education.
- Selecting the Candidate: Once all of the interviews have been completed and the hiring managers, HR and others involved have had the opportunity to evaluate the, a candidate will be chosen for the position.
The candidate should not only be extended a verbal offer but a formal written letter as well. In addition, it is considered best practice to extend the courtesy to all applicants to be notified whether they got the job or not. Letters sent to rejected applicants should be crafted carefully. It is generally best to avoid detailing the reasons a person was not selected. There is no law requiring an employer to tell rejected applicants specifically why they weren't chosen, unless the decision not to hire was based on a consumer credit report.
The offer letter should set the expectations of the job; the nature of the duties, the pay and benefits, and any conditions that must be met after acceptance but before the first day of hire.