The Art and Science of Hiring

Develop a recruiting system that hires the right people to drive your company's results.
By Fernie Black

Good to Great, written by Jim Collins, is based on a study of 28 elite companies that went from good to great re­sults and sustained those results for over 15 years. Although it has been around for many years, it is still an all­ time favourite business book. Why? Because it provides conclusive evi­dence that universally people are a company's most important resource.

One of the simple lessons in the book is "first who, then what." Researchers found that the good-to- great companies " ... first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats on the bus - and then fig­ured out where to drive it."

The moral of this analogy is that you need to hire the right people to op­erate successfully.

Mis-hires are expensive

One of your company goals should be to increase hiring effectiveness and efficiencies and to ensure that your hiring practices fall within the law.

Hiring mistakes are costly. There are hard costs such as time (remember that time is money), advertising, lost employee productivity, loss of sales, new hire orientation and training time and costs. Costs associated with termi­nating an employee include legal ad­vice and termination pay.

Often forgotten are the soft costs, such as the loss of customer and em­ployee confidence in the company's ability to make good decisions, de­pressed employee morale, and employ­ee and management frustration.

Consider qualifications and attitude

One of the hiring secrets of great companies is to never hire solely on hard skills, like technical expertise, education and experience. Companies with the greatest hiring success take qualifications into account, but they base their final hiring decisions on soft skills and behavioral traits -like per­sonal characteristics, values and ethics and, most importantly, attitude.

Employees can be technically com­petent, but if they are not aligned with your company culture, values and ap­proach, their value to your company is low. In essence, they are a mis-fit with your position needs and with your team.

You cannot change people. Only individuals can change themselves, and not necessarily quickly or ever, to become the right fit for your com­pany and position. Human behaviour experts believe that personality traits are embedded in who we are and that we can only change to varying degrees through adaptation to our environ­ment and coaching.

Typically, companies hire employ­ees based on their qualifications. But when they fire employees, it is usually because the employees don't have the appropriate attitude. Ideally, hiring should include a blend of both. As the saying goes, you can teach a turkey to climb a tree, but it's easier to hire a squirrel.

 People are like icebergs

Hiring decisions based on objec­tive data versus gut feeling yield the best results. Instead of approaching the hiring process like a crap shoot, you can increase your rate of hiring success by using a structured and systematic pro­cess that includes a valid and reliable as­sessment tool. This ensures that hiring decisions are objective and focused on learning as much as possible about the candidate.

People are like icebergs: we know that more of them is hidden than is exposed. If we can expose the entire person during the hiring process, we can reduce the risks as­sociated with what may be lurking beneath the surface.

Published in Fitness Business Canada
March/April 2010

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