The Hiring Standards You Should Be Adopting in 2021

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December 21, 2020

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If you want to entice top-notch candidates to join your team, you need to have hiring standards in place.

Conventional medicine has revealed that inconsistent treatment methodologies based on anecdotal evidence not only does a tremendous disservice to patients—it can also be dangerous.

While a similar mindset in hiring practices won’t kill your employees or customers, it can destroy your company in other ways. To prevent this from happening, quantify your hiring standards with evidence-based hiring practices.

This means using cold hard data in every single hiring decision you make now until doomsday.

It also means establishing some reliable quality-of-hire metrics, which can accelerate your company’s growth. Once you've set up the metrics, measure them, and adjust your hiring process to maximize your results.

You can measure things like:

  • Time to fill the open position
  • How awesome  the candidate experience was
  • Hiring manager satisfaction
  • Turnover  

In this article, you’ll learn the most common ways employers get their hiring practices wrong, why you shouldn’t post phantom jobs, how much inside vs. outside hiring you should do, and more.

How COVID-19 has changed the hiring process

COVID-19 has fundamentally altered the way employees are hired.

Many of these changes are here to stay even when the pandemic becomes a distant memory. One of these changes is how businesses locate top-tier talent. Because of social distancing constraints, many are limiting their search to what can be found locally. 

This means less flying of applicants in and more scouring every inch of their home city for viable hiring options. This is a tremendous boon for internal candidates because social distancing protocols means more opportunities for them.

The interview process has radically changed from in-the-flesh meetings to interviews conducted over video platforms like Zoom. If interviews are done in-person, many of them are now being done in outdoor settings like a local park.

Many of these new processes are going to be permanent. In the past, lots of companies would never even consider remote working—even for a nanosecond. These days, more companies are being forced to use remote work models because of the raging pandemic.

Companies are seeing that it’s possible to be productive at home. Plus, they save money by cutting down on some office expenses, which is more reason to keep doing remote work.

Common ways companies get their hiring principles all wrong

Hiring the wrong people is a colossal money and time waster. If the hire is terrible enough, it can have an incredibly demoralizing effect on your company. 

Sometimes it’s so bad, it creates devastating waves of negativity that last long after the employee has departed.

Here are a few of the ways companies get their hiring principles wrong:

Horrible Onboarding

Over one-third of employers have lousy onboarding processes.

Some of them only provide a brief orientation—sacrificing long-term success for short-term expediency. That’s tragic because inadequate onboarding is a significant cause of employee turnover.

Take a step back and scrupulously analyze your onboarding methodology. Is the preparation sufficient enough to create a successful experience for the new team member?

If not, figure out how to fine-tune your process, so the employee learns everything he needs to know to make meaningful contributions to your company.

That way, you’ll be able to harness his talents, leaving you and him satisfied.

Hiring out of desperation

Lots of bad hiring decisions occur because an employer is desperate to fill a position. Finding your dream candidate takes time, so don't settle for a sub-par one.

Hiring a candidate to quickly fill a position could end in two horrendous scenarios:

  1. Termination
  2. The candidate quitting

That’s why you need to ensure that every candidate you choose is right for the job.

Rehashing the same job description

Having an up-to-date job description helps ensure you're recruiting the best candidates. A job description helps a potential employee know if the position is a good fit for him. It will also assist you in securing a well-qualified talent pool.

That’s because the more relevant the job description is to the actual job, the more likely you are to attract employees who will be with you long term.

Often, a cloud of complacency descends upon an organization when it comes to crafting job descriptions. Companies who fall into this rut tend to use the same job descriptions for years without updating them in the slightest.

This results in job descriptions that no longer fit what the company needs. Unfortunately, your potential employee gets an erroneous idea of what his job is all about. This will only set him up for dissatisfaction down the line, and your company will suffer as a result.

To prevent this from happening, have conversations with the people working most closely with the new employee, and find out precisely what they need from someone working this job. 

The hiring standards you need to have in 2021

Here are some of the hiring standards you need to have in 2021:

Brainstorm more efficient ways to hire

The hiring process isn't a "set it and forget it" type of endeavor. You need to continually be fine-tuning it, taking into account the ever-fluctuating circumstances of your business.

An excellent way to do this is to gather the team together and have everyone suggest at least one thing to change. Do this regularly, and you’ll always have a hiring process that’s lean and efficient, capable of securing the top-tier talent of your dreams. 

Have eye-catching ads

If you’ve embarked on an exhaustive quest to find the highest caliber of talent, your job postings must attract maximum attention.

This means they’re targeted, with laser-sharp precision, towards your ideal job candidate.

Companies often make the colossal mistake of posting an ad that merely focuses on the qualifications needed, such as skills and degrees. This will only result in a flood of low-quality applicants applying for your position. 

To entice the best candidates, write an ad highlighting how the position meets a candidate's needs.

This is whatever you can offer prospective hires.

Go way beyond typical benefits such as time off for vacation and a 401(k). Get an employee excited at the idea of working for you by showcasing the best things about your employer brand, including opportunities for personal and professional development and other enticing aspects of your workplace culture.

Top-tier talent has the luxury of being selective, so you need to make your offerings as alluring as possible.

Culture fit can be as important as qualifications

You should hire for culture fit before you hire.

This means putting your prospective employee under a microscope and seeing if his values align with your company's values. By only looking at an applicant’s qualifications without considering whether he’ll fit into your company culture, you’re doing possible harm to your organization and the candidate.

If your employee isn’t a good culture fit, he’s going to dread coming to work every day. And chances are his co-workers aren’t going to want to be around him either.

For example, say you run a digital marketing firm. You’re interviewing a guy who exudes confidence in spades and is massively persuasive—qualifications that will help your candidate fit into your highly competitive environment.

However, in some workplace cultures these attributes could rub people the wrong way. That’s why it’s crucial to spend time assessing each candidate who walks through your door for culture fit.

Consider what your company needs in the future

When devising your hiring standards, think about what your company is likely to need in the future.

That's why you need to hire someone who can not only deliver what's immediately required but someone who can rise to meet every challenge along the way. 

Find ways to build a diverse workplace

In their everlasting pursuit for the best talent on the face of the planet, too many companies neglect the astonishing benefits of workplace diversity.

Some organizations give lip service to diversity, only doing the bare minimum required by federal law. Apparently, they've forgotten about the innumerable benefits of having a stunningly diverse talent pool.

By cultivating a workplace made up of different work styles, aspirations, inclinations, and backgrounds, a company can offer a broader range of services. This includes offerings related to cultural understanding and language.

Creativity and innovation are often the result of a concerted effort amongst multiple team members. This means having a talent pool of individuals with diverse backgrounds can help infuse your company with the ingenuity that’ll boost your company's performance.  

Continually recruiting from the same educational or cultural background results in a bland sameness that won’t give you the vibrant creativity offered by a more diverse workplace.

Many employers only focus on race when they strive for diversity. However, it covers other attributes, such as ethnic group, work style, education, gender, and sexual orientation.

To build in the diversity that will strengthen your hiring process, you must take a penetrating look at how you recruit your employees. That's because there are countless ways hiring managers can be biased.

Identifying things you can do to counteract this (such as having a more diverse recruiting panel) will significantly strengthen your hiring process. One way to do this is by ignoring your gut.

Too often, immediate impressions we make of others are based on unconscious biases and beliefs. This insidious confirmation bias can undermine a company’s commitment to have a more diverse workforce.

Can you satisfy your candidate’s professional ambition?

If you want your team member to stick with you long term, make sure you can help satisfy any professional ambitions they might have.

To find that out, ask them questions like:

  • How do you want to grow?
  • Five years from now, where do you plan to be?
  • What are your professional objectives?

If their answers aren’t an excellent fit for the opportunities your company can provide, it’s probably best to pick someone else. A talented applicant has much to offer to your company, but only if that individual can professionally thrive in a way that’s satisfying for him.

Get a second opinion

Having someone who’s light years removed from your recruiting process review your applicants can help you make better hires.

Because unconscious biases can cloud your judgment, it's best to have others look over your candidate selection process from a more objective perspective.

Make sure you’re providing openings to hire employees from within

When it's time to fill a job opening, look to your in-house talent before sourcing from the outside. There are probably employees already working for you who have the qualifications and the culture fit to fill the opening.

Start by letting every current employee know whenever you have an open position. Tell them your company is receptive to considering internal candidates for the job. Ask your HR department to assess current employees' skills to see who might be qualified.

Employees already with the company will require significantly less training than new team members will. They also bring invaluable company experience and insider knowledge to the job.

Hiring internal candidates can save you tremendous amounts of money on recruiting costs.

How much inside vs. outside hiring should you do?

When it’s time to fill a top-tier position, you’re presented with the choice of hiring someone internally or drawing from an outside talent pool.

By hiring internally, you’ll be helping your own talent to professionally advance. This could lead to greater job satisfaction, meaning your candidate could stick around longer. Hiring candidates from within your organization is a terrific morale booster because it's proof positive that your company rewards outstanding performance.

Hiring from within also keeps your hiring costs down. You save on the expense of advertising and posting on job boards and websites.

One problem with filling a vacancy from within is while you’re filling one position, you’re creating another vacancy. Another problem is it perpetuates the status quo. This means your employee will stick with the same tried-and-true approaches they've always used to overcome challenges.

This won't foster the out-of-the-box creativity you might need to breathe new life into your company.

Don’t post ‘phantom jobs’

Phantom job postings are for jobs that aren’t open at all.

Often, these are vacancies that have already been filled through informal hiring practices. The public job posting is merely to comply with HR department rules that require that open positions be advertised.

People responding to the ad have zero chance of ever getting the position. They’re wasting their precious time and energy in applying, never knowing that they'll never get the job even if they're the best-qualified candidate.

If anybody finds out your company is generating phantom job postings, it could irreparably damage your employer brand.  

Use network recruiters to find the outside candidates you need

Having a standardized hiring process can supercharge your recruiting efforts and help you find the top-tier talent you need.

If you want to supercharge them even more, give Hunt Club a whirl. Our network gives you access to quality talent that you just can’t find in traditional recruiting channels.

Our dedicated experts ensure a great experience throughout the recruiting process--for you and your candidates.

Get started today!

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Morgan Lichtenstein avatarMorgan Lichtenstein