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Don’t rely on your gut alone: How to hire the right employees

Many entrepreneurs and managers pride themselves on their instincts: after all, these are the same instincts that continually guide them to success in the business world. However, when it comes to hiring, relying on your gut instinct alone can be a costly mistake, according to Paula Maidens, Managing Director of Recruitment Coach.

Job Ads“Too often, business owners and managers are blinded by a candidate’s confidence and ability to talk the talk, only to find out later that the new employee lacks the actual skills or commitment required to succeed in the role,” said Ms. Maidens.

With the cost of a bad hire estimated at anywhere from 30% to a shocking 200% of the employee’s salary, employers have a lot to lose if they hire the wrong person. For the best chance at hiring right, Ms. Maidens urges employers to park their gut feeling at the beginning of the interview and instead focus on the candidate’s actual skills and experience to determine the candidate’s likelihood to succeed in the position.

“To reduce your risk of hiring a dud, it’s essential to put that instinct on hold until at least the end of the interview. Collect the facts first and then review that information in conjunction with your instinct to make a more objective decision,” said Ms. Maidens.

To ensure your interviews will give you the information you need to make that decision accurately, Recruitment Coach recommends three simple steps to structure your interviews:

Step 1: Think of the outcome you want your new employee/s to achieve

First, create a snapshot of success for that position to use as a template of the areas to explore during the interview process.

“Imagine your new employee’s success in 6 or 12 months time: ideally, what will they have achieved? Do you expect that person to have performed exactly like that before or are similar activities and transferable skills sufficient?” said Ms. Maidens.

Step 2: Think of the behaviours you want to see them demonstrate

After you have defined what success will look like for your new employee/s, consider how the candidate will perform to reach those results.  These behaviours may include organisation, attention to detail, teamwork, or problem-solving, depending on the role.

Interviews should then be structured to explore whether candidates will be able to achieve the desired results, by measuring their skill level for each behaviour.  Examine their past successes and experiences or explore their knowledge and potential with hypothetical situations and exercises designed to put them into a realistic on-the-job situation.

Step 3: Think of the likely career path you expect this person to embark on

To ensure the job is a mutual fit for both your business and the employee, it’s important to understand your candidates’ career aspirations and goals. While this step is often overlooked due to time constraints, it’s better to find out earlier rather than later and have your new employee leave after only a few months.

“By ensuring there is a match between the candidate’s aspirations and your business goals, you’ll experience lower employee turnover and a much better employee fit, as you’re ensuring you hire staff who will be genuinely motivated to succeed and stay in the role,” said Ms. Maidens.

Following these simple steps will ensure hiring managers aren’t left to rely on their gut instinct alone when recruiting. Considering the often shocking costs of a bad hire, spending a little extra time on interview preparation is a worthy business investment.

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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