When an employee leaves a company, it not just time-consuming and burdensome, but it is also expensive. Consider the costs associated with the departure of a team member. First and foremost, there are time, effort, and resources dedicated to recruiting and backfilling the vacancy. This includes costs associated with advertising the position on Linkedin, recruiting and interviewing candidates, and subsequently onboarding and training a new hire. There are costs associated with lost productivity, not to mention the cost of the knowledge and experience that walks out the door. Colleagues may need to step in and temporarily backfill the role, which has costs associated with reduced productivity across the organization. Finally, it can take a new hire months to get fully up to speed and productive in his role. In a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, the cost of losing an employee may be up to 213% of the salary for a highly-trained position. For example, if an executive is making $120,000 a year at your organization, your true loss could be upwards of $250,000. Clearly, it is critical to make the right hire the first time.
How can organizations make the best hire? In working across leading Fortune 1000 organizations, I have come across some key factors that trend in organizations with reduced attrition rates.
- Write an honest job description. I have found two trends in job descriptions. One is the overly generic posting. The other is the “pie in the sky” posting. It is not benefiting you, your recruiters, or your candidates to operate off a three-bullet-point job description that provides little insight into day-to-day responsibilities, team structure, and organizational culture and challenges. A detailed job description will help your HR team better tailor their searches and improve the overall quality of results by arming them with enough information to ask the right questions. On the flip side, do not be unrealistic, expecting to find a unicorn for every role. Focus on the key responsibilities, communicate the critical skills required for success, and ensure that your job descriptions are thorough, but also realistic.
- Use unconventional interview practices. Everyone can reiterate their resume verbatim and talk about specific examples of triumph and despair in their career. Everyone has researched “What are the toughest interview questions?” and read up on the smartest and most creative ways to respond. You need more information than this to be able to make the right decision. One successful tactic is to bring in a panel and have the candidate give an executive presentation that they have had time to prepare in advance. Ask them to role play a scenario so you can witness them in action. Give them a problem and ask them to whiteboard how they would approach the solution. We have all been trained how to tackle interviews and respond to canned questions. Bringing candidates out of the typical interview “comfort zone” and evaluating how they respond will provide a better overall picture of how effective they may be when forced to think on their feet.
- If you want it done right, sometimes you should not do it yourself. A critical summation is that you need to find the right talent, which is why you should consider working with high-quality recruiters who have very specific industry knowledge. This is extremely important in technology, where specialized knowledge is critical to verify that candidates have the skills and experience necessary to succeed. By partnering with specialized firms, you reduce the burden of lengthy internal recruiting cycles and eliminate the risks of failed hires and attrition.
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