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Recruiting Reality Check, Part I: What Problem Are You Solving For?

by Joseph Murphy

Finding qualified candidates is a challenge for many organizations. You’d think with the data and details, insights and intelligence available to recruiters today, finding the perfect candidates would be easier than ever. But as anyone who has struggled with turnover and poorer-than-expected performance can attest, the right talent remains hard to find.

So where do things go wrong? Why is identifying and hiring the best talent such a struggle?

Sometimes the recruiting process can be disjointed. Poor communication between hiring managers and the recruiting team, failure to collect feedback from key stakeholders, and a basic inability to predict candidate performance are just some of the challenges. But identifying the variables impacting your recruiting success is only part of the equation. You need to figure out what’s missing from your formula to solve the problem once and for all.

In this blog series, we’ll address the biggest problems in recruiting today and share insights on how to address them. Identifying the obstacles in your hiring process and the best practices for overcoming them are key to creating a reliable strategy for hiring–and keeping–the best talent.

Problem 1: Uncertain hiring criteria

A common hiring challenge is when the recruiting team advances a promising candidate, only to have a hiring manager lament that the individual isn’t who they’re looking for. This mismatch is typically due to a lack of agreement on criteria for determining a candidate’s potential for job success.

A hiring manager may claim they need someone with a certain degree or particular experience. But if your hiring process is focused on a candidate’s resume rather than a thorough understanding of the job and the skills and experience required for success, you are basing your hiring decisions on keywords instead of performance predictors. Resumes are more a collection of titles, locations, and observations than a genuine, objective appraisal of the skills, potential, and drive required to be successful on the job. If you’re relying on resumes and self-reporting, you’re essentially hiring blind.

Begin with job criteria in mind

You can’t hire the right person for the job until you understand the job. Uncertain hiring criteria can be remedied by objectively defining the requirements of a position through a comprehensive, multimethod job analysis. A thorough evaluation of job content can include job observations, as with focus groups of incumbents; a detailed review of job-related documentation, such as position descriptions and training materials; and interviews with relevant subject matter experts for insight into the demands of the position. Conducting rigorous job analysis also should include the entire range of stakeholders. Involving all recruiting, hiring, and onboarding teams will ensure everyone has the same criteria in mind when evaluating and advancing candidates.

Also be sure to objectively measure the performance of people already in the role. Evaluating and capturing performance in hard numbers draws a clearer picture of what qualities contribute to on-the-job success. And don’t forget to consider how the job may evolve over time and any trends that impact performance. Leaders with a vision for the direction of market forces and strategic initiatives can often anticipate how the future is likely to impact job demands and organizational needs.

At the end of the day, the goal should be to recruit with one question in mind: Are we advancing the kind of talent that will excel in the job? When you can say yes with confidence and point to the objective measures that prove it, you will have solved the problem of uncertainty in your hiring criteria.

If you would like to discuss job analysis methods or creating objective hiring criteria, call us at 888.485.7633 or click the Request a Demonstration link at the bottom of this page. A member of our team would be glad to help connect you with the information you seek to improve your hiring process.

The above is just one of several problems recruiters must solve. Check back soon for our next installment, when we’ll explore other common hiring issues—such as time to fill and new-hire retention—and how recruiters can best address them.