Putting the performance into hiring

by 04 Sep 2007

IN ORDER to make recruiting more effective, companies need to consider the hiring process as a complete business system – like accounting and distribution – rather than a bunch of independent activities, according to a visiting US recruitment expert.

“Too many companies react to their future hiring needs rather than putting a well-thought-out plan together. By planning strategies and tactics companies are better able to attract a higher calibre candidate in an organised and logical fashion,” said Lou Adler, CEO of AdlerConcepts.

In most companies, he said sourcing, interviewing, recruiting, negotiating offers, opening the requisition and induction are all separate steps which are loosely connected. Instead, he said hiring needs to be a systematic business process that integrates all related steps into one process.

“This process would include the development of a performance profiles which defines the job in terms of what the person needs to do, not the qualifications the person needs to have,” he said.

“The second step is the development of a series of sourcing steps that are designed to attract top performers, not average candidates. The third step is a simple evidence-based interviewing and assessment process based on two core questions.”

Adler said the final step is to ensure the recruiting process is based on converting the job into a career opportunity and negotiating offers on long-term issues and not just compensation.

Speaking at the recent Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA) conference in Alice Springs, Adler said that performance-based hiring requires an understanding of what motivates people.

“Recruiters should be asking themselves why the candidate would want to take the job before thinking about whether they fit an often vague selection criteria and then selling them the opportunity,” he said.

“It also involves that extra step of asking the client what they want the candidate to be doing in the role, rather than taking a transactional approach based on the qualifications they must have, and simply hoping that the person will ‘stick’.”

As such, the key to performance-based hiring is for managers, HR professionals and recruiters to clearly understand real job needs before sourcing or interviewing any candidates.

“Most job descriptions emphasise skills and qualifications, rather than accurately describing what the person taking the job needs to do to be considered successfully,” he said.

“Once real job needs are understood by everyone – including the candidate – it’s far easier to assess competency and motivation to do the work. Lack of real job understanding is the primary cause of under-performance, turnover and reduced job satisfaction.”

Once the job description clearly describes the real work, Adler said HR needs to implement an evidence-based assessment process. “Rather than adding up a bunch of yes/no votes, it’s far better if the hiring team delays their final judgement until they have shared the evidence collected during the interview,” he said.

Adler also said that compared to 12 years ago when it was harder for people to find jobs, the internet has now increased job visibility, making it easier for people to find new work, creating a turnover effect that has seen workforce mobility become the norm.


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