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Measuring Quality and the Top 10 Hiring Mistakes

Women at Work

BSCAI WEBINAR SERIES Host: Janelle Bruland, Management Services Northwest, Inc.

It is important to remember that people are not your most important asset—the right people are.

When defining the quality of a potential new employee, knowledge, attitude and whether they are a good cultural fit for your company is vital. You cannot train for these qualities. They must exist. In your company, think of a position you hire a lot for, such as a front-line janitor. Can you identify others in this position that are the best? What makes these people so good? Prioritize these characteristics. For example:

• Are they reliable and dependable?

• Do they “take care of it”?

• Do they do what needs to be done?

• Do they have pride of ownership in their job?

I. How to Measure Quality

Pre-hire assessments: Do you use assessment tests in your hiring process? Do you conduct these regularly or periodically or depending on the position?

Hiring Manager Survey: This is another useful tool to use. Grade the candidate for overall fit, motivational fit and overall productivity. What is the likelihood that the candidate will stay with the job and the probability of being promoted after one year? Do a survey on the person right after you interview them. Take notes during the interview process so you can fill out the survey effectively. It’s easy for things to become a blur after interviewing numerous people.

Performance Review: This review measures quality and can be done after three or six months or one year.

Turnover: What is your company’s turnover rate? Employees leave for numerous reasons. Hiring procedures can directly impact your turnover rate. In this industry, turnover is very high and can range from 75 percent to as high as 400 percent.

To calculate our turnover rate, use this formula:

Take your employee separations and divide by the total number of active employees. This will give you the percentage of your turnover rate.

Sources of poor quality employees can include the following:

• the hiring manager’s expectations were misidentified.

• there is a lack of good candidates.

• the hiring process was not fast enough and good candidates were hired elsewhere.

• good candidates were rejected.

• poor candidates were hired.

II. Top 10 Hiring Mistakes

1. Inadequate Job Description

• Job descriptions need to be clear and updated.

• Define success for this position and define the goals and obstacles and action needed for this position.

• What results are you looking for?

• Train employees using a standardized training procedure.

• Include a completed training form for the supervisor and employee to sign.

• Measure performance through customer feedback.

• Supervisors need to keep a time log and turn in a manager’s report in a timely manner.

2. Superficial Hiring Procedures

• Investigate the candidate thoroughly.

• Prepare for each interview by having their resume and a job description in front of you.

• Take notes during the interview.

• Have a list of prepared questions during the interview, such as a situational questionnaire. Don’t wing it!

• During the interview, have the person discuss a previous situation and how they handled it. What would they do differently next time?

• Learn as much about the candidate as you can before you interview them.

3. Inappropriate Prerequisites

• Consider the candidate’s experience and attitude.

• What is their education: Are they over educated, for example?

• Conversely, they may not have a lot of education, but they have a good attitude and would be a good fit for your company.

• Realize that knowledge, skills and experience are not a proven predictor of job success.

• Dig deep to see if they will be a good cultural fit for your company. They may look good on paper but may not be a good fit.

4. Snap Judgments

• Most hiring decisions are made within the first 10 minutes of the interview.

• Recognize the power of the first impression.

• Do a phone interview first with a list of screening questions.

• Take your time and be aware of your own prejudgments.

5. Historical Bias

• There is only past performance to predict future results.

6. Performance Bias

• This occurs when this there is a failure to understand that interview behavior and job performance are two different things. This could result in making an offer to the best “capture” rather than the best “candidate.”

7. Fishing in Shallow Water

• This occurs when you are trying to attract only the bottom third of candidates instead of actively seeking out more candidates.

8. Failure to Probe for Core Success Factors

• This is when you are not looking for evidence of the five predictors of longterm success: motivation, leadership, past performance, problem solving and adaptability.

9. Ignoring Top Candidate’s Needs

• What is your top candidate requesting? Are you ignoring this or trying to accommodate them?

10. Desperation Hiring

• Never hire in a hurry. This does not work in most cases.

• When you spend more time figuring out who to hire, there will be less time figuring out who to fire.


• It is better to pay overtime than hire the wrong person.

• Hire independent contractors if needed.

• Hire temp employees or use fill-in staff until you hire a permanent employee. Remember:

• A better staffing process can impact the quality of hire. • In the interview, people can be good actors. Closing Thoughts:

• Develop a good staffing system by painting a picture of success. • Who are your star performers and how do you duplicate that?

• Have a solid job description that accurately reflects the position. • Have a consistent screening process. • Have a structured interview process.

• Monitor how you are doing and strive to continue to improve.

• And…network with others so you can depend on others!

Janelle Bruland is president and owner of Management Services Northwest, Inc. in Ferndale, WA . She has been a BSCAI member since 2002. She can be reached at (360) 366-4600.


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