If you’re trying to hire new employees and having difficulty finding people willing to interview, don’t waste your energy trying to come up with new & creative recruiting techniques. At the time of this writing, the U.S. is experiencing a temporary disruption in the labor market stemming from the global pandemic. The workforce shortage that some industries are facing will pass faster than the business press & labor experts make it sound.
No matter how difficult it is for employers to generate interest in their open positions, there is one hiring tactic that always works. It’s so effective that I use it for every one of our recruiting assignments without exception. I’ve also seen how tough hiring becomes when it’s not practiced.
Here it is: Hire for the job today, not the job tomorrow.
That’s it! It involves nothing more than being true to the job requirements of the moment. I’ll briefly explain why it works so well and why so many hiring managers fail to do it … so you can avoid their pain.
Recruiting candidates for employment is a matching game. At all levels, the core activity of hiring is comparing job descriptions to resumes to find the closest match between them. Every other element of the hiring process is just selling or marketing. Because of this, the accuracy of the match is what provides the greatest probability of success.
Accurate matches ensure that the salary is acceptable, the employee has the skills for the job, and that both parties’ expectations are met. The results of poor matching are easy to predict. Long hiring cycles; performance issues; high turnover; organizational disruption. Do we need to go on?
Why, then, do hiring managers often try to fill jobs that don’t currently exist in their organization?
Whenever a customer of my recruiting firm says, “I want to hire someone who wants to grow and advance,” I know that she’s going to make a bad hire. In these situations, there’s a disconnect between what the business requires and what the person making the hiring decision thinks the business needs.
If decision makers recognize the causes of mismatches in the hiring process, they can avoid them as soon as they begin advertising an open position. There are generally three reasons this occurs.
First, a misplaced belief that hiring a person with more skills or experience than the job requires saves money. Managers convince themselves that they’ve made a good deal by bringing on someone with the capability to take on more work than what’s in the job description. They don’t see that an employee who is doing more than what he’s getting paid for will leave more quickly.
Another cause is based on the fear of missing the chance to hire a specific person who happens to be available now. A manager meets a candidate who really impresses her or who demonstrates a personality trait she admires. She convinces herself that the benefit of hiring this unique individual outweighs the risk of placing someone in a job he isn’t well suited for.
Although there can be valid reasons for choosing a candidate who doesn’t perfectly match the hiring specifications, there’s never a justification for this third reason: Ego. I’ve seen this occur in large organizations where hiring responsibilities are delegated to people who lack adequate management experience.
Inexperienced managers (although they wouldn’t admit it) lack confidence in their leadership abilities and hire people who make them feel comfortable. They tend to hire people who look, sound, and think like them. This leads to poor matches and wasted resources.
No matter how experienced you are at hiring, this practice works during periods of both high and low unemployment.
Hire for the job you need to fill now, and the future will take care of itself. Opportunities to advance will naturally evolve for people who want them, just as your business’ workforce requirements will change as it grows.
If you hire for today’s job, you’ll always find that the best candidate is available right now.