Let me tell you a little story.

Carol R. was interviewing for a position with a new financial services company and she couldn’t have been more excited.  She had done her research, read everything she could find about the company, and even exchanged emails with her (hopefully) boss-to-be.  Carol was enthusiastic about what she imagined the job to be and couldn’t wait for her interview.

Meanwhile the new company was scouring through résumés and selecting other top candidates for interviews. These people looked terrific on paper and company execs were sure they would “just know” when they met the right candidate.

Fast forward six months:  Carol was hired.  After all, she made a great first impression.  She ended up being competent at the job but it turns out her goals did not really align well with the company. Her co-workers were frustrated.  Carol was disappointed.  Her job responsibilities were not what she had imagined them to be, and the day-to-day experience was not at all what she wanted.

After spending thousands of dollars on training, and investing hundreds of hours in this new employee, Carol left the company after only six months.

Actually, this is a composite story of a worst-case scenario, but my guess is that even in some small way, this story resonates with you.

Hiring new employees doesn’t have to be a guessing game.  New technologies make it possible to radically increase success and retention in hiring.

Last month we talked about how the simple change of placing your most objective screening tools first improves both the efficiency and effectiveness of your process.  But resequencing is not the only way to optimize for successful hiring.

Here are some ideas to improve your hiring process:

  • Streamline your interview process. Using online virtual interview tools, you can quickly narrow down the pool of applicants, and accurately identify the best candidates to invite for an in-person interview. What a time saver! Virtual interviews using situational and behavioral questions prompt concrete examples related to real-life situations.
  • Combine different types of screening tools. For instance, if you currently use survey or personality measures, consider adding tools that assess job performance as well.  Two examples are job simulations and work samples. These tools allow candidates to perform the same kind of activities they will perform on the job.
  • Market your employment brand. Consider effectively projecting your company personality through engaging multimedia previews, sharing your company story and highlighting your values, goals and mission. This helps candidates understand what it’s like to work at your company and determine if your company culture and goals align with theirs.   As much as the candidate wants to win your favor, you also want to put forth your best effort to win the candidate.
  • Present a realistic preview of the job. The more strategic information you can exchange with candidates, the better able you will both be in making the right employment decision. Candidly share both the intrinsic rewards and challenges of the job. Adding a realistic job preview allows candidates to self-select out if they discover something about the job they don’t like. Plus, candidates that have realistic expectations about the work make a smoother transition and are less likely to leave prematurely.
  • Consider job shadowing. One busy call center allows vetted candidates to sit with actual call center reps for 10-15 minutes, watching and listening as the reps handle live calls. INDICATOR:  If you find yourself losing employees shortly after they’re hired due to unrealistic job expectations, job shadowing might be a good step to add to your hiring process.

Back to our story. If the new financial services company had invested in virtual interviews, combining them with objective screening tools, more accurately represented their company’s brand, and presented a realistic preview of the job, they would have increased the likelihood of a successful hire, saving themselves a lot of time and money, and their valued employees a lot of disappointment and frustration.

Changing your company’s hiring practice to include one or more of these improvements will position you ahead of the competition to identify the best candidate and to improve employee retention.

But change isn’t easy.  Join us next month when we will talk about how to incorporate these initiatives into your company’s culture and address the concrete issues that might be standing in your way.