Time after time I see organisations recruiting members of staff based on their previous experience, technical knowledge and university degree, however these aren’t the values that truly make a good employee.
Instead, businesses should look at a person’s behaviours, attitudes and values, as it is more important than many people think for members of staff to get along and build solid, honest relationships. Recruiting the wrong person can cause a number of issues including high staff turnover (leading to high recruitment costs), unhappy members of staff and low productivity levels. For this reason, I highlight four steps to hiring the best people.
Avoid waffle in the job description
Creating a generic job description and person specification is an obvious step to recruiting the right people, however employers need to go the extra mile and be specific about the type of person they are looking for. What does the candidate need to be able to do? What sort of team will they be sitting in? How do the managers assess success?
Have clear behavioural and value ideals
Every employer says they are looking for ‘specific behaviours’ when they are recruiting, but when I ask them exactly what ideals they are looking for, many of them stumble. They may say ‘we need someone who is good at communicating’ but that is very vague… what does this actually mean? The candidate will need to have specific knowledge, be able to ask probing questions and have very open body language to make the other person feel comfortable.
When it comes to values, an employer would expect everyone in the organisation, from cleaner to CEO to have the same values, and they are vital to the success of the member of staff. If someone portrays the ideal behaviours but their values are slightly different to the organisation’s beliefs, this may lead to their downfall. The interviewer will need to articulate what each value will be for the role in question… what does going the extra mile involve for a cleaner compared to a CEO?
Take time to create specific interview questions
When creating interview questions, it is all too easy to get carried away and just ask the questions you feel comfortable with, but don’t forget that the candidates are also assessing you! Efficient interview questions often involve asking the candidate about previous experience because this is the easiest way to establish their experience and how they deal with different situations.
Create specific exercises to demonstrate behaviours
It is impossible to test for every competency during an assessment centre and so employers need to concentrate on two or three factors that are important to the role in question. Group assessments are often helpful as they show which candidates will hold back and which will speak up and put their views forward. ‘Tricky’ ethical issues and role plays are crucial to deciphering which values are important to individual people. Similar to the interview questions, assessment centres are as useful for the candidate as the employer as they demonstrate what the role will entail and whether it is right for them.
Although employers seek diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace, employers often get carried away and employ people with a likeness to themselves. The four steps above help avoid this happening and ensure leaders employ for the role rather than for themselves. Clearly concentrating on each of these steps will help avoid hiring the wrong person, which will in turn lead to reduced recruitment costs and staff turnover rates.
Olivier Herold, CEO at The Oxford Group