Are you noticing a high turnover of employees in your business and are racking your brain trying to explain or justify it? Why is it that employees are switching jobs more frequently instead of working for the same employer for 35 years? To be honest, you can try to answer that until the cows come home, but in reality, you will probably never know the real answer. Even though you thought you had a great hire, they stick around for a few months or years and then you still have to go through the hiring process all over again.
During the hiring process, candidates can come across very knowledgeable, professional and seem like they would be a great fit for your organization. However, after they start employment, they turn out to be quite different leaving you thinking, “why did I hire them?” We can all be burned by the smoke screen that some candidates put up during the process. Below are some tips that you, as an employer, can use to assist you in hiring the right employee:
Conduct Multiple Interviews – Make sure to do a phone screen and at least one in-person interview. While scheduling candidates for various interviews, look for the little things like response time for your calls/emails, tone of voice/communication, and attitude of the candidate. During the phone screen your focus is to understand who the candidate is, why they applied for the position, and what experience they have that would apply to the role. Try to take notes without impacting your ability to listen to what the candidate is saying. During the in-person interview make sure to ask behavioral type questions (tell me about a time when…) and make sure the candidate is giving you a specific example. They will tell you where the issue occurred, what the issue was, and what they did to resolve it. Words like “we “or “they” show that they were not the ones who resolved the issue and you may have to keep them on track or ask for another example. Once again, take notes to reference later but make sure not to miss anything that the candidate is saying. If your process includes a second interview where perhaps you put them in front of their supervisor, ask the candidates some of the same questions you asked in the first in-person interview. This will help validate what they are saying and look for consistency.
Check References – The biggest argument out there is “why do I need to check references as candidates will only give you good references, therefore there is no validity in doing them”. Keep in mind that candidates may not check with previous employers to ask permission to use them as a reference and when you call you could catch them off guard and learn a lot about the employee from them. Make sure that you validate the reference before proceeding in case they are a friend or relative posing to be a previous supervisor (yes, this does happen). Some employers will not provide references for a previous employee, but can only confirm working dates, job title, reason for leaving, and if the candidate is eligible for rehire. This is just as useful as a discussion with a reference as it will validate what the candidate has provided to you.
Listen to your Gut Feeling – Usually after the offer of employment has been accepted, employers will schedule a start date and begin planning for the onboarding of the employee. The hiring process does not stop here. This is where you may notice signs that the candidate may not be what they appeared to be. Changing their mind on start dates, adding requests not brought forth after the offer is accepted, and delays in communication are all signs that the new employee may not be what you thought they were. If something in your gut says, “don’t hire them”, it’s not indigestion, it’s a warning sign.
Please don’t think that all candidates will lie and deceive you to get a job, that’s not the case. By having a solid hiring process and following the tips provided, you will be able to identify the bad apples from the good ones.