What You Need to Know: Hiring Practices

Whether handled by supervisors and managers or assigned to a centralized human resources department, hiring decisions are among the most important decisions made in any organization. Good hiring practices can eliminate or reduce many legal risks, reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve morale. Ill-advised hiring decisions, on the other hand, can result in turnover, duplicative training, missed opportunities, and lost customers.

For all these reasons, it pays to take the time to find the right person for the position the first time around.

An employer’s hiring strategy should have clear goals that are aligned with the goals of the organization. Hiring shouldn’t be a function that is considered only on the day that an employee gives notice. Particularly in a tight labor market, attracting and retaining top talent requires a thoroughly thought-out hiring strategy that is tailored to the individual characteristics and needs of an organization.

Match Your Hiring Strategy to Your Company

Before deciding what approach to hiring will work best, employers should consider the overall organization. For example, what is the organization’s approach to growth? Is the employer looking to expand or only fill existing positions as they become available? Is the organization rapidly growing so that it can offer frequent advancement opportunities as operations expand?

Depending on an organization’s current status and its goals, it may benefit from hiring strategies that focus on finding employees at the entry level with potential and willingness to learn the business and develop necessary skills, and then training and promoting from within. Such a strategy allows the organization to hire employees at the entry level, where costs are lowest, and develop and tailor their skills to match the organization’s requirements over time. On the other hand, an organization that grows slowly and therefore can’t offer as many advancement opportunities, is better served by a strategy that relies more heavily on outside talent at all levels.

Along with using a hiring strategy that matches where your organization is based on growth, status, and goals, you should also match your strategy with your company culture. Hiring for culture fit is about bringing employees into the mix whose beliefs, behaviors, and values align with those of your organization. This is not the same as hiring people who merely share similar backgrounds and experiences. It’s essential to include diversity while hiring for culture fit because different perspectives and experiences will help your company improve and scale.

Determine What You Are Looking for in a Candidate

As a part of an overall hiring strategy, an employer may want to look at each of its job classifications and determine what makes a person a good candidate for that job. Employers often look beyond essential job functions and consider the background and inherent characteristics that are likely to equip a person best to perform the job. An employer should examine existing and past employees who have performed best in the job being evaluated. This will identify what was responsible for their success and help create a detailed profile of the ideal candidate. Employers must be careful to ensure that a profile doesn’t include any characteristics that might be viewed as discriminatory.

Develop a Budget

Before anything else is done, employers must consider the cost involved, and decide how much they are prepared to spend. Ideally, HR and management should work together in planning an annual budget for hiring efforts. Employers should consider the extent of projected hiring, the hiring tools that are most likely to be successful, and the average or projected cost of each.

Choose Hiring Tools Carefully

There are countless sources that can be used for locating qualified applicants. When hiring for a particular job, it is important to match the hiring tools to the job being filled. For example, it may not make sense to use a costly professional search firm to fill an entry-level position involving manual labor; neither will it make sense to use a newspaper ad to fill a position for a website developer.

Sources include:

  • Referrals from other employees
  • Internal postings
  • Internet and social media
  • Search agencies
  • Past applications on file
  • Unsolicited applications (walk-ins)
  • Campus recruiting
  • Government referral agency
  • Job fairs
  • On-the-job training programs
  • Internships and co-op programs
  • Outplacement/temp agencies

Check out a previous blog about the Search for Prospective Employees!

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