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First American Pumps Up the Value

Nov 14, 2002

Proven Ways to Survive the Tight Job MarketReg Guptonhiring, employees, job market The hiring of employees is not necessarily difficult in a limited job market, but the cost of your error may be greater. The greatest challenge you will encounter is a reduced number of candidates to choose from. In a market flooded with applicants, you have the ability to interview numerous candidates, compare and contrast them, then narrow it down to your top pick. If the candidate is not the right choice, you can re-approach your next best selection. On the other hand, in a tight market, you may choose one of three available candidates, discover they are a bad choice, return to the other two candidates and find they are gone--whisked away by other companies. In today's tight market, you must find the best person during the first hiring process and not let the good candidate leave. Tight Markets Lead To More Mistakes Employers tend to increase their mistakes in a limited market because they feel forced to make a quick decision with limited information. They have the pressure of moving quickly and the underlying feeling that, if they do not grab this candidate, someone else will. The whole process becomes hasty--they rush to meet and interview the candidate, then finalize the decision. The pressure of a quick decision means less time for a quality evaluation and an inclination to make a decision without good information. Unfortunately, in this situation, the majority of employers rely solely on intuition, which is not the right way to hire a team member for your company. Intuition, accompanied by the resume, application and interview, fails to provide an accurate representation of candidate's quality. Candidates Have the Advantage No one likes to admit it, but the majority of candidates falsify their resumes either by omission or creative addition. The press has exposed numerous examples of individuals who list a university they never attended or a degree they never obtained, as well as details secretly omitted, such as a past job experience or an employer that may provide a negative review. It is common to not disclose facts that are relevant to the job description. This is similar to my introductions at speaking engagements and choosing topics that are appropriate for specific audiences. Michigan State University published a study that indicated employee interviewing is only 14 percent accurate. These statistics highlight a major problem and money-drain for companies. Reference calls are equally misleading. You call to verify a candidate's previous work history and you are never provided with negative comments. The individual whom you speak to cannot say otherwise because they are fearful that if the candidates hear the negative comments, they may be compelled to sue. When you call to receive a reference, you are consistently provided with the positive, but what you really need is the truth. Employers Who Fail Candidates The truth that an employer needs is the candidate's predicted success in their job. It may not matter how they performed in their last job, especially if it was a bad fit. Your aim as an employer should be ensuring that you match the right person with the right job. The majority of people who fail at their jobs do so because of a bad fit. Certain behaviors are necessary for certain jobs. We all know people who either can or cannot work with numbers all day. This is a behavioral issue rather than a skill issue. You can always train for skill, but behavior is what an employer needs to look for. Individuals who have difficulty with detail may do so if demanded, but it will drive them crazy and is not an efficient use of your company's manpower. Employers need to look at behavioral characteristics, including the ways that a candidate attacks problems, relates to people and deals with change. It is essential to match your candidates with jobs that require the same behavioral characteristics. This type of system provides the candidate who becomes an employee with a greater opportunity for success. You are leading candidates to failure by hiring someone who merely fogs a mirror and does not have the behavioral characteristics required for the job. In such a case, you are both in deep trouble. The Ideal Hiring Scenario Before the hiring process begins, a company needs to understand the true job requirements, such as the type of behavioral characteristics needed to successfully complete the job. There are ways to address this and several assessment tools that may help. For example, take the top 20 percent of your performers in a specific job and evaluate them to determine the behavioral characteristics necessary to function successfully in the job. With these results, you may establish a set of behavioral standards for the job. Then, evaluate incoming candidates against the standards and look for a match. In the sales area, a second assessment compares the candidates sales skills against an index of the top sales performers in the nation, which provides you with an idea of their ability to sell. Employers can also evaluate the candidate's opinion of how the job should be performed, which will provide a comparison between the expectations of the candidate and company. Finally, you may use an assessment to determine the candidate's motivations and drives. You will understand how their time is spent, their values, what motivates them and incentives you may provide to maintain the job as challenging and engaging. Level the Playing Field Every employer I know has made mistakes in the hiring process. When they realize their mistakes, most employers vow to do better. They conduct more complete reference checks or use multiple interviews. The majority of employers eventually realize that this is wasted time and redundant, and finally rely on intuition. You need to level the playing field and stack the deck in your favor and know if these candidates behaviorally fit the job. Reg Gupton, MBA, of Creative Growth Seminars may be reached at (800) 418-0401, e-mail [email protected] or visit .
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Nov 14, 2002
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