How to Hire the Best Talent: Best Practices for Your Hiring Procedures

October 9, 2022
Great Interview Candidate

Have you ever wondered why finding and retaining talented staff for your organization is so difficult? 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 the challenges organizations face when searching for top talent are beyond their control; however, many other challenges can be controlled by focusing on talent as a strategic initiative rather than an afterthought.

When it comes to setting up your organization’s hiring process, the following best practices can set you up for success:

  • Utilizing a third party to assist you in your search.
  • Establishing a consistent recruitment process to follow each time you have a need to hire.
  • Including the right people in the interview to ensure the proper questions are asked and important information is shared. 

Hiring a Third-Party

There are many reasons that organizations turn to a third-party to assist in hiring. Some organizations have no human resources or recruiting department. Others may not have access to hiring resources like salary software, a job description writer, or ad specialist. Oftentimes, even organizations with HR departments choose to use a placement service for their hiring needs because they don’t have the time to devote to the hiring process. Whatever your motivation for seeking a third-party to assist with your hiring process, it’s imperative that you make the best decision for your organization to ensure that you’re getting the best talent.

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.

How to Find Right Placement Consultant

It’s important to remember that your relationship with a placement consultant should be collaborative. Your placement consultant should understand your organization, your culture and the overall goals of your business. Composing a formal job description, determining an appropriate salary range for your marketplace, and searching and screening candidates are all part of the collaborative process.

Eide Bailly’s placement process has brought success to hundreds of clients. Here’s how we do it:

1. MEETING WITH MANAGEMENT: We’ll review the position with management and determine job duties, skill sets and experience necessary to fulfill the position, as well as discuss salary range and company culture.

2. SEARCH FOR QUALIFIED CANDIDATES: We’ll compose a job description if needed, develop ads and place the ads in various mediums.

3. REFINE SEARCH: We’ll screen resumes to determine who’s qualified, conduct phone interviews, profile the candidates and make recommendations. Our team profiles the job candidates using the Predictive Index (PI), a highly effective predictor of behaviors that affect a candidate’s ability to be effective in a specific role. The information gives you actionable data about the applicant’s motivating needs and behavioral drive.

4. CANDIDATE SCREENING: Reference and background checks can be performed on final candidates.

5. MAKE SELECTION: You make an offer to a final candidate. Once accepted, we’ll follow up with the other candidates.

Internal Hiring Procedures

If you plan to keep your hiring procedures internal, consistency and preparation are key. Hiring is one of the biggest investments an organization can make and approaching that investment inconsistently or unprepared can be costly.

The first step in preparing is determining the actual hiring need. A company can’t find the right person if they don’t know what skills or experience they are looking for in the first place. Strong organizations will look at their current employees to see if there are skills or expertise that can be utilized differently so that true skill or expertise gaps can be identified. Recruitment of staff with those skills and expertise will help to round out the team and make the organization more successful.

When it comes time for interviews, including the right people in the interview process is crucial. Successful recruitment processes allow candidates to interact with company representatives at various levels to ensure different perspectives are shared and important information is gained. At a minimum, an organization should include individuals at the peer level, management level and executive level to allow the potential new hire the opportunity to connect with enough people so they can picture themselves working for the company.

Each person involved in the interview should have standard interview questions to ask and specific information to share so that the candidate leaves the interview with an overall picture of the organization and the interviewers leave the interview with information to determine if the candidate is the right fit for the position and organization.

How to Conduct a Successful Interview

Preparing individuals to be successful members of the company’s interview team includes providing them with solid training on how to be effective at interviewing. Organizations can participate in pre-recorded interview trainings and webinars or may choose to develop an interview training specific to their company. The goal of the training is for those taking the class to learn best practices for conducting a successful interview.

Interview training should include information regarding key behaviors for interviewing success, a review of interview biases to watch out for, tips for handling difficult interview scenarios and details on the company’s recruitment process so they understand their role as an interviewer.

Key behaviors for successful interviewers include:

  • Always prepare. Review the candidate’s resume and the position description before meeting with a candidate. Have a list of the standard interview questions and add questions that pertain to the individual candidate specifically.
  • Arrive on time. Do not show up late to an interview. Arriving late sends a message to the candidate that the organization doesn’t value the importance of punctuality or respect other people’s time.  Arriving on time allows an interviewer the proper amount of time to ask their questions and to answer the candidate’s questions.
  • Listen. When you ask a question, listen to the response and ask follow-up questions if the answer does not provide the information you need to determine if they have the skills required.  Look the candidate in the eye as they respond.
  • Focus. Get rid of any distractions that may pull you away from the conversation. Interrupting an interview with anything (cell phone, change in your pocket, jewelry, hair twirling, etc.) may send the message that you do not want to be there.  Focus on the candidate, their responses and their questions. Act like you want to be there.
  • Interact. Create an environment that is conducive to open dialogue. If possible, remove barriers such as tables. If that is not possible, sit at the end of a table and have the candidate sit at the side so that only the corner of the table is between you. Never sit a candidate on one side of a table and multiple interviewers on the other side – that sets up an interrogation style interview which is rarely appropriate.
    Limit the crowd. The best interview scenario includes a candidate and one-to-two interviewers at a time. More than two people can make a candidate feel overwhelmed.
  • Be friendly. Showcase your company’s culture by being friendly and putting the candidate at-ease. You will get better, more honest responses from a candidate who feels comfortable. Start the conversation by offering the candidate something to drink, introducing yourself, telling them about the company and position and walking them through the interview agenda.
  • Be clear. Let the candidate know what to expect from the interview experience and that they will be able to ask questions at the end. Make sure to leave enough time at the end of the interview for the candidate to ask those questions.

Interviewer Biases

Anyone participating in the interview process should be aware of the various biases that exist and focus on not giving in to their own bias(es). Some of the more common biases include:

  • Halo Effect. A candidate gives off a great first impression and answers the first few questions perfectly. At that point, the interviewer puts a halo on the candidate and only sees the “good side” and refrains from asking any questions that may be more negative.
  • Horn Effect. A candidate gives off a poor first impression and answers the first few questions poorly. At that point, the interviewer puts horns on the candidate and only sees the “bad side” and refrains from asking any questions that may be more positive.
  • Just Like Me. The interviewer finds out that they have a lot in common with the candidate and automatically makes the assumption that they would be perfect for the job – because the interviewer is perfect for the job and they are similar.
  • Casual. The interviewer prefers to keep the interview casual and just “get a feel” for the candidate.

Standard Interview Questions

Having standard interview questions to ask of all candidates helps interviewers avoid biases because even if a halo, horn, just-like-me or casual candidate is being interviewed, they are all being asked the same questions to determine if they have the skills to do the job. Standard questions also allow for the information gathered to be more professional in nature and less personal, which mitigates risk for unlawful employment practices.

Standard interview questions can also help an interviewer if they are put in a difficult scenario listed below:

  • Never stops talking. The candidate who never stops talking needs to be interrupted politely so that the interviewer can ask the standard interview questions. Interrupting a candidate can be done by saying “That is really interesting, and I would love to hear more, but I only have 30 minutes with you today and need to ask some questions to learn about your experience in a few different areas.”
  • Doesn’t talk enough. The quiet candidate also needs the interviewer to intervene. Interviewers may be able to get a candidate to open up by either rephrasing a question differently or by providing guidance by saying “I would like for you to elaborate a little more regarding your experience with XYZ. Tell me all about your expertise and skills in that area.”
  • Lack of detail. The candidate who states they have experience but can’t seem to provide much detail needs to either provide the details or admit they don’t have the skill set. Interviewers in this scenario should state a specific scenario and ask the candidate exactly how they have dealt with that scenario in the past. If the candidate responds with how they would handle it, the interviewer can say “I agree, that is a best practice. But can you tell me how you have handled it in the past?”
  • Shares personal information. The candidate provides personal information during their interview regarding their marital status, children or plans to have children, legal woes or health. Since none of that information has any bearing on whether the candidate has the skills or expertise to do the job, the interviewer should interrupt the candidate and get them back on track by saying “I appreciate you sharing that with me, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the job I’m talking with you about today, and I want to find out more about your skills to see if this position is a good fit. So, I’d like to talk about that.”

Having standard interview questions can provide the interviewer with what to say to get the interview back on track.

Interview Process Best Practices

It is important for anyone involved with interviewing potential new hires to understand the complete recruitment/hiring process and their role in that process. Organizations should provide interviewers with the standard questions to ask and the list of topics they should cover during their segment of the interview to ensure that candidates are able to tell the company all about their skills and experience while receiving a good overview of the company, department, position and benefits.

Whether you choose to seek a third-party consultant or keep your recruitment and hiring practices in-house, it is important to an organization’s success that you strive for a consistent and efficient hiring process. By doing so, you can be sure you are finding the best talent available to fill your positions and can get back to business focused on your long-term goals.

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

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