Common sense is often lacking in many areas of life and work. One of those areas is hiring new team members. I frequently observe small businesses owners engaging in hiring practices that defy common sense and then wondering how they ended up with poor performers in their team.
When it comes to common sense, our habits often interfere with our instincts that are at the core of common sense decision-making. We get so used to doing something a certain way, we don’t see that there’s an alternative – a better way – that in the case of hiring, will result in higher performing team members and less headaches for you in the long run.
Here are four of my most frequently shared common sense hiring ideas I share with clients:
Common Sense Change #1: Recruit ahead instead of react to an open job
Change is inevitable, including that your existing employees will change jobs. Your best employees could leave today, tomorrow, next week, or next year - No matter how loyal you believe them to be. Given the negative impacts on the business (not to mention on other team members) of extended periods of time between someone leaving and them being replaced, it no longer makes sense to wait until a position is vacant to start the recruitment process. In today fast-paced world, common sense dictates that you must line up talent before you need it, especially if your business has a high turnover rate. So start sourcing a pool of talent you can move quickly on selecting from as soon as you get wind of the next resignation.
Common Sense Change #2: Make hiring decisions based upon facts instead of feelings
Most people understand that feelings aren’t facts. Yet, they allow their gut feelings, such as liking someone, to dictate who they hire. Sure, liking a candidate is a good thing. But likability isn’t proof that someone fits a job. Common sense selection requires having a list of clear criteria that help you pick the right people regardless of what your feelings are telling you. So put some serious thought in to developing a position description for each job role and writing interview questions that require candidates to explain how their past experience has equipped them to perform the requirements you’ve listed in the position description.
Common Sense Change #3: Rely on multiple sources of talent instead of a single one
Ask leaders if one resource, such as a job board (eg. SEEK, Indeed) or referrals, can be relied upon to fill every open job every single time. Most of these leaders will acknowledge it’s dangerous to put all of your eggs in that one basket. Filling jobs quickly with high quality talent requires tapping into more than one talent stream, so consider which other sources like industry magazines, universities etc.
Common Sense Change #4: Have candidates show you as well as tell you
Conventional job interviews on their own are an inaccurate way of determining fit. Why? Both the jobseeker and hiring manager are putting their best selves forward. This gives both you the hiring manager, and the candidate, a narrow view of reality. It should be no surprise that many hires fail, given that a decision was made based upon the limited information that can be gathered during an interview alone. The common sense way to interview is to seek proof of fit. Having candidates show you they can perform in the job allows you to experience them in action, while they get to try on the job for size, so consider asking them to come in for a trial, even if it’s only for an hour or two.
Time is money so I encourage you to consider how you can implement these 4 common sense changes in your business and contact us if you would like further advice around recruiting high performers into your team.
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