ralston blog

Hiring right, the first time around

Kyle Brennan

September 14, 2020

Getting recruitment wrong is expensive

A business’ largest expense is its employees. Of course, you need good people to grow; people who are experts in their field, fit with your company culture, and can also laugh at your bad jokes. Okay, perhaps skip that last one. 

According to research, poor recruitment can cost a business 30% of its employee’s first-year earnings and two in five businesses realise they’ve hired the wrong candidate within two weeks.

Here are some tips for increasing your chances of getting it right, consistently. 

Focus on what your business needs in 6 to 12 months time

When recruiting for a new role, many companies are 6 or even 12 months late in their thinking. It’s easy to focus on the immediate shortcomings of your business today and recruit to fix them. When really, you should have been recruiting for those roles months ago. This is exacerbated further when taking into account the average time it takes to find the right person, which can often be months. The key is to plan proactively and build in recurring internal check-ins to anticipate hiring needs, based on when company growth milestones will be hit. 

Set outcomes and objectives for each role from the start

Lou Adler, author of The Essential Guide to Hiring & Getting Hired emphasises that – “Most hiring problems can be eliminated by making one fundamental and simple change: replacing job descriptions with a list of performance objectives the new hire is expected to achieve.”

Often small changes can make a big difference and clearly communicating role expectations in your interview process is one of these low hanging fruit.

Be clear in communicating the most important objectives the person in the new role would be expected to achieve, rather than only offering an overview of roles and responsibilities as is so often the case. This promotes transparency, allows you to align your interview questions to the relevant goals at hand, and invites candidates to give examples of how they went about or might go about solving these challenges. By aligning the objectives of the hire with those of your business, you’re minimising the risk of having to recruit again for this role in a few month’s time. 

Don’t underestimate the power of referrals

You probably use either a recruiter or online resource when hiring for a new role, but these are often difficult to manage or expensive. Particularly if you have to recruit for the same role recurrently.

There’s a complimentary channel which can often greatly improve the quality and fit of candidates applying for your open positions: referral programs. The research shows referrals are the best source for successful candidates and generates the highest return on investment for employers. They’re also 55% faster to hire compared with employees sourced through recruitment websites, plus after two years, retention of referred employees is more than twice as high compared to recruiter or job board hires. 

Referral schemes can be as simple as offering a fixed amount per hire or percentage of salary to employees who refer successful hires who pass their probation period. There are also solutions out there which facilitate these for employers. An example would be Care Friends – a mobile app for social care companies/employees which gamifies the employee referral process to help find better care workers. 

Recruitment is always a game of numbers, but taking these steps will help ensure you improve your odds of getting things right the first time around.

Kyle Brennan

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