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Hiring Hiccups: Hiring the Right Fit Depends on Your Process

October 14, 2019

By Keisha Ward, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

On Friday, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced that unemployment has now dropped to a 50-year low. If you have wondered why it has become more difficult to find the right hire, chances are it’s because many candidates are working and simply aren’t looking for new a job. However, the buck does not stop at low unemployment.

Low unemployment is just one factor in the quest to find the right fit. There are still those passive candidates, who are working but aren’t happy in their current roles. According to a study conducted by The Washington Post in 2017, 71% of workers are actively looking for new jobs. So, great hires are out there, hiring managers just have to ensure that their processes are designed to attract these candidates and keep their attention.

If you are continually having trouble hiring for the right fit, it could indicate an issue within your hiring process. Mark Murphy, contributor at shares the following issues many employers face with talent acquisition and their warning signs:

You are not attracting high performing candidates – Murphy says, if you’re not attracting the talent you want, it’s time to reconsider your recruitment messaging and company branding. Do your ads stand out, meaning set your organization apart from its competitors?

Your recruitment pitch should make your company stand out from all the others and incentivize high performers to quit their comfy jobs to come work for you. Start by thinking about the personality of the skill set that you seek, and appeal to that audience. Also, don’t be afraid to point out the areas that are not favorable within your organization such as gossip, change resistance, etc.

Your new hires have questionable attitudes – Hiring for Attitude research shows that 89% of new hire failures occur because of attitudinal issues, and yet, far too many organizations continue to focus on hiring for skills. Skills are great, but there’s simply no such thing as a high performer with great skills and a lousy attitude (for example, someone who brings drama, chaos, negativity, and other attitudinal problems to the workplace).

During interviews, all your candidates seem great – If all your candidates sound like high performers, your interview questions are likely at fault. A good interview question will generate a distribution of both great and terrible answers. In fact, the very purpose of an interview question is to differentiate high and low performer candidates.

Avoid asking too many hypothetical questions such as, “How would you handle a multiple priorities?” This type question will prompt the candidate to respond with ideas versus real actions.  Instead, you can ask behavioral questions such as, tell me about a time when you had to handle multiple priorities. This guides the candidate toward honest real-life examples.

Using irrelevant interview questions – Great interview questions target the attitudes that matter most to your organization, so Murphy suggests eliminating nearly all the pop-psychological questions such as “If you could be any kind of tree, what kind of tree would you be?” Such questions do not reveal any meaningful insight into the candidate’s abilities.

You do not have an answer key for interview questions – In interviews, you should know the answer to your question before you ask it.  If your hiring managers are still making gut-based hiring decisions, creating an answer key that spotlights good and bad answers to your interview questions will give you a system to confidently and accurately rate responses.

Try creating questions and answers and testing them on your top performers – making adjustments to your expected responses based on what your key performers said.  

Hiring the right candidate is key to the continued success of an organization. Ensuring that hiring processes are designed to effectively identify these individuals will not only get you to the right fit, it will also save the cost and stress associated with a bad hire.

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