How to Hire the Best Talent

February 2, 2020 | Article

Hiring Practices to Help Your Organization Grow

Have you ever wondered why you can’t find talented staff who stay with your organization? You’re not alone. This problem affects all types and sizes of organizations, no matter the business model, and it can be caused by a number of issues. Some of these issues are beyond your control. What you can control is how you train your staff who conduct the interviews, so they ask the right questions, make candidates feel comfortable and spot misinformation. Finding excellent long-term employees is the ultimate desired outcome of the hiring process, and with a little preparation, your staff can help make that happen.

Training and preparation are key. Research shows that untrained interviewers have no better than a 50-50 chance of identifying false or misleading information during an interview. When you look at other investments your organization makes on a regular basis, does a 50-50 chance of success meet your expectations?

When it comes to preparing your organization with the best possible hiring process, the following options can improve your organization’s hiring procedures:

  • Bringing in a third party to assist you in your search
  • Requiring the staff members conducting the interviews to complete an internal interview training class

Need help finding the right talent for your organization?

Head Hunters vs. Placement Consultants
Although there is a cost associated with third-party assistance, it’s often worth it to save time and ensure an efficient and professional hiring process. There are two types of external assistance: head hunters and placement consultants. Both can help you find qualified candidates and make informed hires. They may sound like the same thing with different titles, but these two professional services are really quite different.

A head hunter actively seeks out, cold calls and recruits candidates on behalf of the business that hired them. Placement consultants, on the other hand, focus on the internal process of hiring. In other words, the head hunter brings in the candidates—who may or may not even be active job seekers—while the placement consultant does the heavy lifting work normally carried out by a full HR team.

What’s the better option? In most cases, a placement consultant will end up saving you more time and more money, while also delivering top-tier candidates for you (the business doing hiring) to choose from in the end.

Interview Training Class
If you plan to keep your hiring procedures internal, then putting together a simple interview training class curriculum, or even a pre-recorded webinar, is an easy and cheap option. The goal for those taking the class is to learn the best practices of conducting an interview. Here’s how to conduct a great interview in order to hire the best talent:

  • Always prepare. Come up with a standard list of questions to ask every candidate that you interview. Review the candidate’s resume or any notes prior to the interview and write down your additional questions for them specifically.
  • Listen. Trying to take notes during the interview will derail the conversation and look like you’re not paying attention.
  • Focus. If you don’t care to be involved in the interview, neither will they. Keep your focus and be present in the moment.
  • Interact. When possible, remove desks or tables as a barrier to interacting with the interviewee.
  • Limit the crowd. It’s best to have a maximum of one or two people interviewing a candidate at a time. More people can make the candidate feel overwhelmed.
  • Be friendly. Make an extra effort to put the candidate at ease. The more comfortable the candidate is, the easier it is for them to provide you with information. You can do this by offering them something to drink, introducing yourself and telling them about your position with the company and then walking them through the interview agenda.
  • Be clear. Let the candidate know what to expect and note that they will have time to ask their own questions at the end. Make sure to leave enough time for those questions.

In addition to key points you want your interviewers to be sure to include, there are also some major “don’ts” when it comes to conducting an interview. Here are the personas you want to be sure to avoid:

The Interrogator: An interview is not the time to play detective and make your interviewee uncomfortable by grilling them with question after question. You should be on the lookout for red flags or potential reasons the candidate may not be the right fit for the role. You can do this in an unintimidating way and probe them gently about areas of concern. The goal of the interview is for both you and the candidate to decide if the position is a fit and should be a guided conversation with a set of consistent questions that you ask every candidate. It should also leave plenty of room at the end of the conversation for the candidate to ask you questions of their own.

The Overly Personal: Never ask a candidate questions about their personal life, such as how old they are, their ethnicity, marriage status, if they have kids, personal views on religion or politics, etc. If the candidate mentions this or starts talking about one of these topics, it’s important for you to cut them off. It may be hard to do but it can be dangerous if the candidate isn’t hired. They may claim discrimination based on one of these topics so it’s important to steer them back to your standard interview questions. You can do this by saying “I hate to cut you off, but I only have a limited amount of time with you today, and I still have quite a few more questions to get to ...” You should also avoid questions like “tell me about yourself,” as this opens the door to a candidate saying whatever they would like about their interests or personal life.

The Unprepared: You forgot about the scheduled interview and barely have time to print off the person’s résumé or go over questions to ask. This will make the candidate feel unimportant, and it reflects poorly on the company. It will also be harder for you to make a decision on the best candidate for the job. Make sure to print everything prior to the interview and give yourself plenty of time to review the notes so you can ask other questions outside of the standard questions (anything from the resume that is unclear, any gaps in employment, etc.) This will help ensure a successful interview.

The Off-the-Cuff: Some interviewers might prefer to keep the interview a casual conversation and not prepare a list of questions. This is not a best practice for interviewing and should be avoided. Conversation can veer off-course into personal territory since it’s more casual and you aren’t being consistent. You will have different types of conversations with different people, and you’ll gravitate toward the person you like talking with the best rather than the skillset they possess. It’s important to use a standard list of interview questions for every candidate to remain consistent and avoid unconscious biases.

Whether you choose to seek a third-party consultant or train your staff internally, it is important to the company’s longevity that you strive for an efficient hiring procedure. This way, you can be sure you’re finding the best talent available for your positions. Finding the best fit means running a more harmonious organization, so you can get back to business and focus on your long-term goals.

Eide Bailly’s business advisors can assist you in outsourcing your company’s needs.

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