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Hiring Slow – the First Line of Defense in Employee Turnover | AMP'D

Staffing challenges remain one of the biggest concerns across all industries. AmplifiedHR clients speak to this and there are plenty of examples provided on the web and in the news. You may agree that the most painful part of hiring and retention is when your brand new employee stops showing up for work beyond the first couple shifts.

When you are exhausted from working open to close, it’s incredibly tempting to lower your recruiting standards; but when you make your new guidelines (1) are they breathing and (2) can they work the hours I need; you are setting yourself up for failure.

You already know this. “He should have never been hired” is a frequent comment I hear when my clients have hired that person they knew they shouldn’t – they showed up late for the interview, they were fired from their last job for punching the manager in the face… you can fill in the blanks for all the red flags that pop up during the interview process. I’ll tell you this –  getting a “bad hire” out the door after they have worked for you awhile is significantly harder and more time consuming then just slowing the hiring process in the first place.

Let’s talk briefly about why retention is such a big deal – how it affects your bottom line. If you aren’t interested in this part of the equation, scroll down to the tips section to see how you can train your managers to make better hiring decisions.

How long will it take you to see an ROI on your recruiting efforts? How can you keep your employees around long enough to hit that benchmark? The answer to early turnover (within the first 30 days) is very clearly found in your hiring efforts. Spend more time recruiting, hiring, on-boarding and training and you will absolutely see higher retention; but the good hire is the first step. This makes sense, right? Let’s say you rush through and hire someone who is visualizing their new job as socializing with their co-workers and running the cash register. When you ask them to clean the bathroom, they may bolt if the thought of cleaning a toilet grosses them out.

Hire slow. As hard as it is to keep your standards high when you’re short-staffed, the end result will pay off for you. So, how do you do this? What are some best practices when it comes to hiring?

Here are some TIPS for hiring slow:

  1. Review the application in detail. Don’t just look at the availability. Look at where they have worked before, how long they were there and why they left. Do these details match what you’re looking for in an employee? Check to see if they completed each section completely and if they signed the application. If they don’t care enough to complete an application, what else are they going to skimp on?
  2. Call them and do a phone screen. Ask your deal breaker questions – is there a dress code issue that you have trouble with people complying with? Do you have schedule requirements they must meet? If so, ask over the phone so you don’t waste more time if they can’t, or don’t want to, meet your job requirements. This will save you a ton of time later – if they can’t meet your deal breakers, why waste your time moving forward? (or, maybe they have their own deal breakers that YOU can’t meet for them!)
  3. Bring them in for a face-to-face interview. This is where you’ll ask questions about their previous jobs, dive into any concerns you had about gaps in employment or reasons for leaving previous positions. This should take 10-15 minutes. I also recommend someone besides the hiring manager do the deal breaker call and the hiring manager do the interview (or some similar arrangement). Two opinions are always always better than one.
  4. Finally, I highly recommend a “Realistic Job Preview“. This is when you go over “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” about the job. The good is easy – maybe you offer a flexible schedule and have a fun work environment – maybe they get to wear a cool uniform. The bad is exactly how it sounds, things that would cause some people to pass up your job – maybe it’s long shifts on their feet, maybe it’s dealing with customer complaints. The ugly is the hardest part for most managers. You are almost talking them out of your job, so when you are desperate for humans to fill your schedule it can be hard to do that! But, if you tell the candidate they will have to do the worst job in the office and they still want to work for you, there’s a way better chance of them sticking it out instead of leaving after the first week because they had no idea what it really entailed and they’re “not about that.”
  5. Check ReferencesI totally get that this part is skipped most often but I have to list it because it is an important step in hiring. Even when most employers have a policy to not give references at all or just give position and dates of employment, at least you can ask “Do you have any reason to believe this person could cause harm to our company”. Making the call will provide evidence that you did some due diligence in the case of a negligent hiring claim. It’s easy to read pauses in conversation, sighs and involuntary sounds when someone has something to tell you but are afraid to. And, playing on their sympathies goes a long way too – “dude, my boss makes me ask these questions, can you help me out?” will get you more information that you might have expected.

If you go through these steps, the odds that your new employee will last more than 90 days increase significantly. Don’t believe me? Try it and let me know what your results are!

Before I wrap up, let me put this into perspective in regards to time – since I know some of you (or your managers) are thinking “I don’t have time for that”. Below is a chart that compares what I call “warm body hiring” to “slow hiring.” Let’s look at what goes into the extra 21 minutes (it’s probably less than that – for example, you can probably do an app review in 2 minutes) that I recommend you spend on each candidate you consider for hire:

I’m willing to bet that the 21 minutes you spend will significantly decrease your turnover of employees within the first 30 days. The longer you keep your employee, the greater your ROI on that hire. Now, the on-boarding and training step will keep them even longer (I’ll cover that in a future article), but good hires are the first step to retention.

As an added bonus to the readers of this newsletter, I am offering a one-page (double-sided) Hiring Guide that I developed to make this process as simple and effective as possible. It lists the steps to complete, offers some standard interview questions that you can score and total to indicate a “green light” and some Realistic Job Preview suggestions to review with the employee. AmplifiedHR clients can also get this customized further to reflect their specific company culture and guidelines.

Request the Hiring Guide

Or, just email us.

Good hiring practices are at the foundation of your business! Without the right people in place, you can’t run your company effectively and profitably. Take the time to do it right and you will reap the benefits!

As always, AmplifiedHR is here when you need us. Don’t Worry, We’ve Got This.

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