With the rise of technology in the HR space, hiring today looks vastly different than it did 10 years ago — or even three. Complicating this is an incredibly robust labor market. With unemployment at its lowest level in five decades, hiring has become even more challenging and organizations are facing heavy costs for bad hires.
Many organizations can stand to improve their hiring practices, both by intelligently embracing technology and also by examining their interview methodology. We spoke with two HR experts on what large organizations can do to get their hiring up to speed.
The biggest change of the past 10 years is the introduction of automation into the hiring process, says Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group and author of the HR Bartender blog. “Many large organizations have brought in technology solutions to support the hiring process, like chatbots or automated reference checking,” she says.
While many of these solutions are fairly new, the recruiting volume and size of large organizations mean they can deploy new technology more quickly than smaller companies. These offerings have added speed and efficiency to the hiring process. Organizations are able to collect information and interview candidates faster than ever before.
However, technology isn’t the only thing that has changed the hiring process, says Carol Quinn, CEO of Hire Authority and a certified trainer in motivation-based interviewing. Quinn says the labor market has created a crunch for organizations, resulting in a strong marker for candidates. More employers are facing the challenge of replacing bad hires and more importantly, of hiring right the first time.
Lauby says that in their rush to automate hiring processes, many organizations are facing a downside: the loss of the human touch. “If a large organization automates too much of their recruiting process, they run the risk of not connecting with the candidate,” she says. “Whether you’re in a big or small organization, recruiting is still about finding the best talent — and that means having conversations.”
Human touch is essential, Quinn agrees. But the bigger challenge is that too many organizations are hiring based solely on skill level. “Hiring for skill level is flawed,” she says. “You could certainly have a high performer with great skill level, but you could also have somebody with great skills who’s only an average job performer.”
Skill level is only one component of an applicant’s profile — and it’s hardly a predictor of future job performance, Quinn says. She recommends assessing a candidate’s attitude and passion as well since they’re more efficient predictors of job performance.
Experts continue to prove that skill-only recruiting often leads to bad hires, but few organizations attempt to change their hiring practices. “They place emphasis on trying to fix symptoms by changing the hire rather than fixing the hiring problem, and it’ll never work,” Quinn says.
The first step to eliminating issues in your hiring process is to audit it. Lauby recommends performing a “sticky note exercise.” “Get your key recruiting stakeholders together, give them each a pad of sticky notes and ask them to put every touchpoint in the recruitment process on an individual sticky,” she says. “Prioritize all of the stickies and put them in a logical sequence. Document your hiring process. And repeat it — make a commitment to re-evaluate the process on a regular basis.”
Second is auditing hiring results. Quinn emphasizes the importance of looking at the ramifications of bad hires in a bigger context. “For most organizations, there’s no accountability for hiring results,” she says.
Finally, Quinn recommends switching from behavior-based interviewing techniques — which emphasize skills above all else — to motivation-based interviewing. This form of questioning offers a better test for soft skills and is designed to help predict overall job performance, she says.
No matter what you do, be sure that you have patience before implementing changes, Lauby says. “It can be really tempting to look at the latest bright, shiny recruiting tool and say, ‘Let’s do it too,’ ” she says. “It’s important to remember that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution. You’re creating a process that works for your organization.”