By Patrick Ropella
Many managers dread the hiring process because it can be awkward, risky and time-consuming. However, with some thinking and planning, they can make their company stronger, and maybe even enjoy the hiring process.
Hiring is more than filling a position. This person may spend five or 10 years at a company; he could significantly help or hurt the bottom line. Invest the time now to make sure this is someone the company will want to work with until 2020.
Managers in health and nutrition spend much of their time focusing on trends—naturally healthy lifestyles, sports nutrition, weight management, "slow" energy and so forth.
‘Empty Calories’ on the Payroll
A company needs to pick the right fit as it deals with the rapidly changing world of health and nutrition. Think of new hires as ingredients affecting the health, taste and success of the company. No one wants "empty calories" on the payroll.
This is a promising time for many nutrition and health businesses. Baby boomers are getting older and more health-conscious, the economy generally is recovering, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts the industry will be adding new positions.
Each company wants the most talented, most effective people working for it, not for its rivals.
"This means you must outshine your competitors if you want to hire the best of the best," wrote Angela Rose, who covers job workplace issues and other topics for HealthECareers.com.
Create a diverse team of employees for the hiring process. A lot of eyes should review the applicants. Sometimes, a perceptive administrative assistant will have a more accurate insight about an applicant's likelihood to succeed than a corporate executive. The more employees involved, the greater the chance the new hire will be a good fit.
Here are the 10 most frequent hiring errors and how to avoid them:
1. Hiring not viewed strategically
Due to the many long-term ramifications in hiring, top management must be involved from the start.
Take responsibility: Plan organizational needs, anticipate turnover and constantly look for potential replacements, either in-house or elsewhere. Consider partnering with an executive search partner. Select one who specializes in the health and nutrition industry, and ideally has experience finding top employees in your niche. An established recruiter will have a pipeline of hard-to-find talent and invaluable insight into the hiring market. This background will save time and resources.
2. Outdated or inadequate position profiles
Accurate job descriptions are essential to know the desired skills for employees.
Better yet, develop a complete profile of the ideal job candidate:
- Necessary experience, skills and talents
- Desired personality traits
- Description of the corporate culture.
- Key selling points of the position (e.g., perks, career path, flexibility) and of the company (e.g., growth, market position, career opportunities)
- Measurable job objectives and performance expectations
A detailed profile will guide those interviewing the candidates and better ensure each applicant is evaluated by the same criteria.
3. Too much reliance on traditional recruiting
Don't rely on traditional ads and job postings. Challenge hiring managers to be more creative recruiters: Maintain a database of prospective candidates, offer in-house referral bonuses, develop external recruiting networks, conduct advanced Internet searches and use professional search consultants.
Always look for good employees, even when there’s no open positions. Increasing the pool of attractive candidates increases the chances of finding the perfect fit when needs arise.
4. Candidates lack company information
Help candidates prepare for the interview. Give them detailed information about the company and the position. Tell them about products, services, competitors and challenges.
Then, the applicants are better able to show specifically how they can help the organization.
And if they don't use the information provided, a company knows something telling about them and their likelihood of success.
5. Too much concern over credentials
The resume shouldn’t be your primary hiring factor. Many jobseekers exaggerate. Often resumes don’t cover every aspect of a candidate's experiences; some skills and abilities may not make it onto the resume. Good candidates can be overlooked when too much weight is put on the resume.
Instead, use resumes to develop questions to evaluate a candidate's true accomplishments and potential. Past performance is the best indicator of future behavior.
Indirect questions can produce great insights. For example, to find out how candidates solve specific problems, ask open-ended questions:
- “Can you give me an example of a time when…?"
- “In your last job, how did you...?
To gauge personality, ask questions to elicit emotional responses: "How did that project make you feel and why?"
Finally, it's essential to conduct thorough reference and background checks to validate findings.
6. Unstructured interviews
You need a structured interview to determine if the candidate possesses the critical elements for success. Here is where preparation and the team approach pay off. Develop a list of skills and behaviors to ask about. Asking the right questions is critical.
Stick to specific, focused, open-ended questions about the skills, experience and traits being sought.
7. Inadequate reference checks
In-depth reference checks are vital.
Ask probing questions to confirm impressions and verify information the candidate provided:
- Situational questions, to focus on the candidate’s ability to perform well on the job
- Relational questions, to reveal how a candidate handles interpersonal situations
- Behavioral questions, to provide examples of the candidate's behavior.
8. Decision-making process is too short or too long
Some companies make hasty decisions based on superficial information or gut instincts. Other companies run candidates through exhaustive interviewing and testing, only to hesitate too long and lose good people.
Avoid these ineffective extremes.
A defined decision-making process should include a reasonable timeframe. A strong candidate should create a compelling urge to make a job offer within a reasonable amount of time.
If candidates aren't suitable, tell them nicely. Stringing candidates along only to cut them loose will create hard feelings.
Potential new hires interact with numerous people in the organization. Think about people who should have a role in the selection process:
- Co-workers and subordinates within the department
- Co-workers and managers in associated departments
- Members of executive management
10. Unclear expectations and weak orientations
Once you've hired the person, take time to make sure they understand their responsibilities and know how their performance will be measured. An employee who doesn’t feel welcomed in the organization will probably leave.
An effective orientation process is gradual, designed to provide specific information at appropriate points and includes:
- Basic facts (e.g., dress code, break times, timesheet instructions)
- Introduction to the corporate culture
- Big picture issues (e.g., company goals, company challenges)
- Responsibilities and rewards
Perseverance is the key ingredient. The benefits are numerous: lower turnover, more productive employees, and less time spent making future hires.
That's a recipe for a strong, healthy company.
Patrick B. Ropella is chairman and CEO of the Ropella Group (ropella.com), an international executive search, leadership transformation and corporate consulting firm with clients among the world’s most prestigious corporations. Ropella authored the book and web-based training program, “The Right Hire – Mastering the Art of SMART Talent Management," which covers sourcing, marketing, assessing, recruiting, retention, training and transforming top talent. Patrick’s content has been published in a wide variety of trade magazines, business publications, and industry blogs and journals. Ropella regularly speaks at webinars, career fairs, conferences and trades shows