Ten steps everyone can take to improve hiring success
“Marginal gains is not about making small changes and hoping they fly. Rather, it is about breaking down a big problem into small parts in order to rigorously establish what works and what doesn’t.” Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking
Volume hiring has always been hard, and it keeps getting harder.
Wage inflation, demographic challenges and unpredictable business demand – most likely in locations which have often always been challenging - have only added to the pressure. According to a recent Forbes analysis 74% or organizations in the service industry list recruiting as their top business challenge – and the result can be a kind of organizational paralysis. ‘This is just a problem, there is nothing we can do’ or, most commonly ‘we don’t have the budget’.
But simple initiatives can be quick to implement, and impactful and multiple simple initiatives can really start to move the needle. Most are free or – better – will stop wasteful spend and have a positive impact on your budget.
So: here is our AMS guide to help you Moneyball your high volume hiring.
- Diversity and Data – Before, not After, Thought
If you read no further read this: diversity and data matter. Understanding your hiring metrics (even the absolute basics) and how your organization reflects the communities you serve is a non-negotiable baseline. If you don’t have this, you are a chef without a recipe; a coach with no gameplan; a driver without a map. Do NOT be intimidated by the challenge. Not everyone can access cutting edge predictive analytics, but you have a finance function and almost everyone has a friendly team member with a head for numbers. Pull some basic data and build from there. And if you have those analytics but don’t have ‘the time’ to review them, cancel a meeting and look at them now. They are your friend not your enemy.
- Needs Assessment – What and Who Are you Hiring?
Everyone knows who they are hiring…don’t they?
Even if you do feel you know your most common profiles, get back to the floor – those roles you have been hiring for ever will most likely have shifted significantly in focus or even in skills required given the changes in the world post-Covid. What is important in that role today? Have any of your ‘must have’ requirements evolved or even disappeared? Plus, your employees can be inspiring: if anyone knows how to hire for their roles, it’s them.
- Job Titles – Will Your Target Audience Understand?
So many job titles have been designed with an internal audience in mind. Your CEO may get it, but your target candidates most likely do not. Use simple, natural language in your job descriptions so that candidates can find you, even if they are not looking for you. And keep descriptions short and to the point: has anyone ever told you they are NOT a ‘team player who can also work individually'? If key requirements matter, don’t bury them! Someone will confess that they do not have them at some point, so make it clear up front – better now than two weeks into the job.
- Sourcing and Attraction Strategy – Average Never Works
If you are lucky enough to have a budget, plan for where you spend and be ready to pivot. Programmatic advertising programs and partners are easier than ever to implement but their key role should be to fill gaps in local organic traffic. If candidates want to walk in and ask about a role, let them, and make it as easy as possible for them to do so (more on that later). Remember that local communities are always, always happy to help. Churches, sports clubs, housing groups, charities and local rehabilitation charities and will go the extra mile to align those in need with opportunities. Just make the time to ask.
- Execute Your Plan – No One Else Will
Having a plan is one thing, make sure to make it happen. A series of great ideas in a notepad or in a spreadsheet do not action themselves. ‘We are just about to’; ‘we do not have time to’, ‘I will get to it after’ are all off limits. Break it down and commit to trying something that will make a difference at least once a week, or even every day.
Take some swings.
- Screening – Pull candidates IN do not screen them OUT
This is your first chance to treat candidates as they should be treated. And this should not be by asking them aggressive questions, requiring hours of their time or understanding their life story. Align this stage to the critical data you need to know – really need to know – and make sure your process is aimed at keeping the right candidates engaged. Screening process as endurance event is helping no-one unless you are hiring for a role that requires endless form completion of parsable data.
- Assessment and Selection – Relevant and Making a Difference?
Formalized assessment tools can be useful – they can give candidates a sense of the role, help prioritize high quality candidates in bountiful markets and ensure rigor. They can – but do they do this for you? Or are you running a legacy battery of tests with only an indirect relevance for the roles you are hiring, most likely at a point in your process where quality candidates are looking to proceed quickly? Oh, and do you expect them have to set aside time at a desktop, remember a code and then follow complicated instructions to gather their results? Try the process yourself, you may be surprised how your flow chart looks great for you but not so good from the outside.
- Interviews – Train, Train and Train Again
People write books on this, so we’ll keep this simple. If someone is interviewing or spending any time with candidates (face to face, virtually or on the phone) make sure they know what they are doing. There are free resources out there on best practices, you may have in-house guides on a (virtual) shelf or maybe now is the time to pull something together?
And if you are running through multiple phases of screening, assessment AND interviews: think long and hard about the why and if there are opportunities to simplify further.
- Offer and Onboarding – Stay in Touch
Maybe you and you team concierge candidates all the way through to their first day, or maybe you hand a fully hire-ready candidate to an HR or business function. Consider either way that it is in your interest to keep in regular touch with candidates here: if it is in the thousands, leverage some basic tech to help: if numbers are smaller, keep the contact 1-1, direct and personable. If you don’t, someone else will.
- Hire – Do Not Stop at Hire
Volume hiring is relentless but that can also provide a rhythm to your activity that is difficult to manage in other areas. Schedule time after 10 and 30 days to check in on the most recent intake of hires. How is attrition? How are they performing? Find out from those hires what they think of their role. The elephant in the room can frequently be that it is on-the-job culture or management that most affects these numbers and can impact the overall perception of a TA function, so don’t ignore feedback and work with your partners in the business to make a difference.
In the words of Billy Beane: ‘If we pull this off, we change the game. We change the game for good.’
If you found this article helpful and you would like to talk more about how you can improve the effectiveness of your volume recruitment, please do get in touch.