Monday, January 30, 2012

Candidate has great skills, ideal experience and strong references? Well done, you’re half way there.

Our blog has moved. You will find this blog post and fresh content on our new Talascend IT blog.
If you made a new hire today, there is a 46% chance that they will be gone in 18 months. This statistic, which is alarming enough in itself, is compounded by the fact that 89% of these failures will be attributed to attitudinal factors. Put simply, half the people you hire will not survive in the job you gave them, mostly because they have bad attitudes.

Now a bad attitude may conjure up images of laziness or insubordination, but there are other more common faults that fit into this area, including a lack of coachability, emotional intelligence or motivation.

Turnover in the modern workplace is a major problem for productivity and where failure occurs, it is only occasionally due to a lack of hard skill.

Ask anybody with hiring experience, in any sector, anywhere in the world and they will tell you that the best way to lower turnover and increase tenure is to hire the right people in the first place.

What this recent study (the basis of Hiring for Attitude - a new book from business coach Mark Murphy) suggests is that far too many employers are basing their hiring practices on simple check lists of hard skills, at the expense of a genuine assessment of a person’s suitability. The result? A short term success that spells long term disaster.

Talascend hires thousands of people every year, for our own staff and for our customers. What everyone here will tell you first and foremost is this…

The interview is the most important part of the entire hiring process.

Here are our five tips for getting it right.

1.       Don’t duplicate the role of the resume and references.
Let the resume and references establish the candidate’s skills and credibility. If they claim to be academically qualified, capable of a specific role technically and that they have worked in the role for five years at these two companies, then – If it all checks out via transcripts and references – it’s a safe assumption that they can do the job, so you don’t need to focus too much time on their hard skills.

2.       Move quickly to the important part
You’ll want to spend a short time satisfying yourself that their track record is deserved, but once you have, move quickly on to the soft skills that are going to determine whether they succeed or fail with you. How will they behave within a team? (and most importantly your team.) What motivates them? (and are their needs consistent with what you can offer?) How are they likely to respond to pressure?

3.       Don’t be awkward asking personal questions
 It’s easy to understand why interviews tend to focus heavily on hard skills; it’s much safer territory for the interviewer and interviewee. Tell me about your experience using the new ABC software. How much time have you spent conducting site reviews?  These are a lot less awkward to ask than questions that drive at emotional intelligence and very few hiring managers have had the training they need to conduct a rounded interview. 

4.       Get Help
There are a number of great resources available to navigate this terrain. There are templates available online, your HR department is likely to be very helpful. There are also external devices like psychometric profiles, which some employers swear by. Staffing agencies that you work with will be happy to help you; it's in their interest for your interviews to go well – ask them what they can offer.

5.       Act now, before the next 46% doomed hire joins you
Whatever you do to address this issue, do it sooner rather than later. We all understand what 46% turnover means for our teams, projects and businesses. 

We can all do better than this; we simply have to do better if our operations are to thrive and grow. Your next coin-toss hire could be sitting in your building right now.