Hiring smart is simply good business.

Consider this: the average cost of losing a good employee is, according to CareerBuilder, a costly $29,000.

When the red flags that should have been detected during the interview process surface a month or two into the hire, you ask yourself “what the heck happened?”

After many years in the HR industry, I’ve learned a few things that can help you steer clear of expensive – and avoidable – hiring mistakes.

I have developed a tried-and-true 10-step process to hiring smart. I know, 10 steps sounds daunting, but stay with me – I promise each step will move you closer to the right candidate!


Ask yourself these questions before you venture out for your next hire:


1.) Do you have a clear and concise job description on hand?

A job description is a helpful tool to communicate expectations and desired skillsets needed from the candidate while helping you stay laser focused on responsibilities and duties that are required and expected.


2.) Do you have a documented hiring process in place?

A documented process is useful in making sure you – the Hiring Manager – won’t accidentally miss a critical step. Remember, the interview itself is only one piece of the pie, and by having a formalized hiring process in place – using the pie analogy – the other pie slices become much more clear.


3.) Did you thoroughly review the resume prior to the interview?

Identify such things as gaps in employment, details of past results and length of employment listed. But I would also suggest you look for CV writing style, tone and positivity to help you “see” the person behind the resume. Also, keep a keen eye out for spelling or grammatical errors on resumes or LinkedIn profiles, those are big red flags in my opinion.

Know this: People often embellish their experiences on resumes! Surprised? I think not! I always suggest each candidate fill out a formal application. Why, you ask? Once people sign their name and acknowledge the sincerity of the information provided on their application, they might hesitate before heaping up a spoonful of half-truths.


4.) Did you know a pre-employment assessment provides you valuable information?

I work with an assessment called PXT SelectTM that quickly measures a candidate’s thinking style, behavioral traits and interests as it relates to the job at hand. What’s in it for you? It’ll help you swiftly understand valuable information about the candidate while giving you pertinent questions to use during the interview process.


5.) Have you ever created a list of interview questions prior to the interview?

By now you have a clear job description, you have thoroughly reviewed both the resume and the hiring process, and the candidate has completed an assessment. If you are a PXT SelectTM user, you will be provided tailored questions from the assessment; leading you from the candidate’s past experience to applicable situational scenarios related to the job on hand. Your preparation has led you to a place of strength, and you are empowered to ask the questions that will provide the most clarity about who the candidate really is!


6.) Have you ever added another perspective to the interviewing process?

Once you’ve narrowed down the field of candidates, ask trusted team members to join you. It’s helpful to have at least one other perspective that can balance or challenge your thoughts. Maybe consider asking the candidate to lunch with your team? It could be an awesome opportunity to see how the candidate interacts in a group setting.


7.) Are background checks and reference checks still important?

In one word: YES! Reference checks can help you see how candidates responded to difficult situations, how they got along with peers, and what elements helped them achieve results. The most important question might be “Would you hire this person again?”

A background check gives you the opportunity to verify information provided by the candidate, and it could reveal information that was excluded – such as a criminal record in a region not listed on the resume. Both checks simply reduce the odds of a “bad hire.”


8.) Is a weakness identified in a candidate something that can be trained?

You have successfully narrowed down the pool of candidates and it’s time to ask a very important question: “When I look at a weakness, (something that doesn’t quite measure up to skillsets identified in the job description), can I coach the person to bridge that gap?” For example, if you’re hiring for a customer-facing position and the candidate is not naturally friendly, it might be tough to coach or train that skillset. But you might be able to train a sunny disposition without a lot of experience to wow customers.


9.) Are you ready to make the hiring decision?

You’re at an exciting point! You’ve narrowed it down to the candidate, and you have taken advantage of valuable tools such as research and maybe even the PXT SelectTM assessment to get you here. Remember those colleagues who helped you along in the interview process? Ask if they’re in agreement before you move forward and make a formal job offer.


10.) What do you mean Onboarding?

A new process starts when the candidate – now an employee – shows up for work: it’s called onboarding! It is not a one day “welcome to our company” speech, nor is it a once a week check-in meeting. It is an ongoing long-term process that continues until the person has become a productive member of your team. It’s an opportunity to showcase the “soul” of the company, its people and the corporate culture. In essence, long-term onboarding helps the new hire feel part of the organization and it creates a healthy emotional connection.

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