You’ve got an amazing job description, you’re advertising all over, you’ve selected a great candidate – how come they don’t always work out?

Change Your Hiring Process

Hi, my name is Bernie Heine, and I want to talk about the hiring process and some of the pitfalls that often happen. When in the hiring process, we’re laying out a very good job description – this is what needs to get done, these are all the things we want to have from people – but we also have to be a little bit careful of what we’re asking for and make sure we’ve asked all the right questions about what’s really important.

I have a client where they had a great process going. They brought in all kinds of qualified applicants, but they had a very high turnover rate. Now, granted, this was a tough job, and it was a little bit of a dirty job – it’s not for everybody – but still, why were they having this high turnover rate? So I asked him to do a very simple exercise: we did a focus group. We did a focus group, not in the normal sense that you would think, we did it virtually. I asked him to imagine in his head that on one side of the room we have the four best hires he’s ever made, that they’re right here in the room with us right now, and on the other side of the room we have the four worst hires. What’s in common and what’s different? We went through kind of an interview process of people that aren’t here, but we know who they are and we kind of know what they would’ve said if we asked some particular questions. We went around the room and interviewed these people who aren’t here, but we know them. It all came down to one major difference: the people who were successful in the company had a higher level of intellectual curiosity. They were the people that would read the trade journals, be interested when the company was bringing on a new tool, and they would want to know how it worked right away and be the first ones to use it. The other group, even though on all other aspects were completely equal, didn’t really care about that stuff – they they weren’t interested in knowing where the business was going. so they added some questions to the interview process that incorporated intellectual curiosity, things like what kind of magazines do you read, what kind of things you do in your spare time. Just to find out if these are people that would be interested in advancing their education in the job, or are they just there because it’s a job.

Hypothetical Hiring Process

The result was amazing, and they’ve had great hires ever since adding just that subtle tweak in the hiring process. So really what it comes down to is that we hire for attitude, and then we can train for aptitude, because you can’t change somebody’s attitude towards the job. What are those elements that were looking for to make sure we get the people that have the right attitude, and those people will end up being your long-term really successful employees. So I encourage you to think about all the questions you’re asking, and are there some really critical differentiators you can add to your hiring process that could make the difference between long-term employees and high rates of turnover.