Smart Staffing Practices: Don?t Confuse Activity with Results

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Does your hiring process consist of proven practices or just a hodgepodge of activities that get into gear when someone says, "I need more people" or "Sally has left and we need someone to take her place NOW?"

Smart hiring is more than running ads, screening, interviewing and checking references. It is a series of specific procedures that can work well or create bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Here are eight steps to improve your hiring success rate.

Step 1: Begin With a Discussion Not a Job Description.

  • Find out what is really needed for today and tomorrow.
  • Identify the key roles and responsibilities of the position.
  • Understand how this position aligns with the goals of the organization.

Step 2: Know Your Product ? Do a Task Analysis.

  • Precisely identify the key components of the job ? skills, knowledge, attitudes.
  • Differentiate between the 'absolutes vs. the 'nice ?to-haves'.
  • Identify department milestones for the next 6-24 months.

Step 3: Identify Screening Tools.

  • Determine the best assessment tools - personality tests, in-basket exercises.
  • Develop real life examples of competency to use as a measuring rod.
  • Formulate the behavioral traits that are necessary to look for.

Step 4: Realistically Identify the Ideal Candidate.

  • Decide what constitutes "A"-level job performance.
  • Determine how important 'cultural fit' is for the position.
  • Use these standards to measure "fit" against potential candidates.

Step 5: Make the Interview Count.

  • Review the position requirements and the candidate's resume.
  • Develop and stick to an interviewing script with key questions.
  • Manage the interview; watch the clock; take notes.

Step 6: Select Based on Fact Not Just Gut Feel.

  • Create a simple rating system to analyze each candidate fairly.
  • Decide how to decide on the best candidate for the position.
  • Focus on the technical as well as the cultural fit.

Step 7: Develop Good Metrics.

  • Measure the ROI of various sourcing methods.
  • Calculate the direct and indirect costs of recruitment.
  • Flow-chart or diagram the hiring process to find glitches and inefficiencies.

Step 8: Practice the Golden Rule

  • Treat every candidate the way you'd like to be treated.
  • Be professional, objective and fair ? and stay out of legal 'hot water'.
  • Make a good impression ? you represent the organization.

The effectiveness of the recruitment process impacts the effectiveness of the organization. A new hire that does not fit the position will be difficult to develop, will perform poorly and more likely leave resulting in need to repeat the process. Only when recruitment is approached as a specific process with definable steps and measurable results can it be managed to ensure the hiring of quality people.

Marcia Zidle, the 'people smarts' coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job ? to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management. Subscribe by going to and get the bonus report "61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers". Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks ? resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs ? fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.

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