Steve Jobs said it best ‘Hiring the best is your most important job’. We have seen over many years how small businesses have gone from 1 employee to 100 by hiring the best. The best does not necessarily cost the most, and is often a mix of fit, expertise and attitude. But when you find more than one good hire – which one is the best?
We have the same problem when we hire for our own business. Being experts in hiring we often have the dilemma on who will be best. It is a human dilemma we have in life choosing what is best from schools, home, car, partner, friend, even diet. So, when it comes down to a choice of employee – who do you pick? We share some research on hiring the best and some lessons we have learnt over the 12 years for you.
1. Variety with a professional is what is needed
A study done by Ekuma (University of Manchester, 2012) found that there is no ONE best way for selecting new employees. A combination of methods with trained professionals improves validity and extension. We use a combination method when searching for candidates, by using interviews, assessments, personality tests and reference checking.
2. Hiring slow makes you lose the good candidates
In a study by Steidinger, Schvaneveldt, Mentnech, and Jarvis (2020) they found that desirable candidates removed themselves from the process when the time between job posting and hiring decision was too long. We see this happening often when a company takes too long to decide, the best candidate usually walks away. The best candidate usually get picked up quickly or decide that a company is too undecisive for them.
3. Intuition (gut feeling) hiring creates an average culture
Numerous studies which have been peer reviews in journals such as the NHRD Network Journal and HR Journal show that hiring on intuition creates a hiring bias. Meaning those that hire, hire the same each time thereby creating a hiring bias and often creating a culture of the same. When hiring the same may cause harmony it often stifles creativity and innovation. Great for those businesses that do not work in a dynamic environment but not for most industries.
4. Decision aids (psychometric tests) have a weak correlation to hiring the best
A study completed in the Middle Tennessee State University found that using a decision aid did not correlate to high performance. Meaning an assessment used is not always a good indicator of which candidate will preform best. We find this often in clients who use psychometric testing as their final decider. Often eliminating a favourite candidate in all other areas but with a psychometric saying they are not a match to their business. See point 3, this often creates an average work performance. We recently had a client who went against the psychometric test as they felt strongly about a candidate – and she was just made the employee of the year in that business!
5. Personal experience
From our personal experience of over 21 years of hiring staff for our own businesses and for over 3000 companies in South Africa, we share what we learnt:
- Hiring badly can be very costly (we have seen how checks not done caused a business to unknowingly hire a convicted fraudster who stole money again);
- Hiring slow will make you lose the best candidate (and they will not come back after you realise your mistake);
- Hiring on gut alone is a 50/50 chance of being the best choice;
- Never cut corners in the recruitment process (we have done this and each time it came back to bite us);
- Use an assessment (you can create your own) to test expertise ;
- Use different people to interview;
- Group interviews work well for those positions where you need the candidate to be outspoken and confident (it also saves you time);
- Start with a VERY clear job description;
- Use several methods to find candidates from advertising, to searching to sourcing;
- ALWAYS do reference checks (we often believe you can almost hire on references alone);
- ALWAYS do background checks such as criminal and fraud checks
We often hear how hiring can take so much time, and we can tell you with certainty that hiring badly will take more time from you. There is a reason that many corporates and SMEs still use recruitment professionals. Recruitment professionals do hiring 24/7, they are able to find/search/source faster than you can and they know what seems suspicious or is just creativity. Yes, the cost is high to use a recruitment agency, but a bad hire can cost up to R250,000 as per a study done by Price Waterhouse Coopers!
Using a recruitment agency and hiring well can increase your revenue, it should not just create an expense. It is a bit like marketing, for each 1 rand you spend you should get R4 back – recruitment should do the same for you!
To read more from the experts some links for you: