How to Hire the Right Candidate for Your Industrial Business

Three people involved in professional interview

In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s crucial that you find the right candidates to join your company. Viewing hiring as a one-off activity, performed only when there is a hole in the organizational chart, is a dangerous mistake.

Given the increasing competition and rapid turnover in today’s workplaces, recruiting, hiring, and retaining “A players” is the key to success.

Poor Hiring Practices Are Expensive

In industrial companies, as with any business, the cost of a bad hire can be in the five figures for front-line positions and in the six figures for higher-level roles. If you would like to determine the costs that your business may incur as a result of a bad hire, executive recruiting firm Parker & Lynch has developed this calculator to increase your understanding. But remember, this doesn’t even include the drag on morale and the loss of top talent that can occur when an organization must support sub-par performers.

How to Become Great

When I work with my clients on this issue, we divide the process into four component steps: 1) defining an A player for the role, 2) recruiting, 3) interviewing, and 4) hiring/onboarding. Although this list may seem daunting at first, breaking it down into its component parts makes it more manageable and allows for the thoroughness required to complete the task successfully.

1. Define What an A Player Looks Like

The definition of an “A player” may vary based on the situation, but there are two key aspects involved: 1) The candidate should excel at executing the requirements of the job, and 2) The candidate must be a clear fit within your company culture. We’ve all lived through what happens when this rule is ignored. Avoid hiring a bad or mediocre fit at all costs.

Compile this information into a scorecard for the specific role at hand. Writing down the specifics of what you are seeking will keep you from getting distracted by someone who “feels good” when you first meet them. This step separates an average hiring process from an excellent hiring process.

2. Recruit Potential Candidates

Once you clarify your target, the more candidates you filter, the better your end result. Looking through stacks of “cold” resumes is not the answer here. Mine your network, both physically and digitally. (LinkedIn can serve as a solid tool.) Also consider working with recruiters — they are not always the answer, but they do tend to have strong networks.

Another idea that is rapidly gaining acceptance involves financially incenting your current team members to bring in new talent. Your best talent does want to work with other A players. If you nurture this over time, you can create a flywheel effect. Keep in mind that you don’t have to pay for this upfront; many businesses make these payments over a number of quarters.

3. Filter With a Strong Interview Process

In his excellent book Who, Geoff Smart lists four key interviews required to find your best candidate. Although the process described takes more time than most businesses have traditionally invested in hiring, the quality of the results will allow for significant savings.

My favorite tool in the interview process is TORC — threat of reference check. Instead of asking, “What would you say are your biggest strengths and areas for improvement?” clarify the name of a previous boss, indicating that you will be asking the candidate to arrange contact, and then ask, ”What will they say are your biggest strengths and areas for improvement?” You will be amazed at the difference in the quality and accuracy of the answers you receive.

4. Hire, Onboard, Retain

Once you have identified the ideal candidate, move forward quickly and confidently. Make a fair offer, negotiate, and close. Follow this with a thoughtful onboarding process. And don’t forget to spend time and energy nurturing your A players; don’t fall into the trap of ignoring them while trying to “fix” those who cannot perform to your expectations.

Finding the Right Candidate

If you’ve been feeling like the strong market is making it difficult to attract and retain talent … you’re right. So, spend some time building a well-thought-out hiring process that will improve your chances for success and reduce the time and money wasted on people who will not help you reach your goals.

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