5 Steps to Make Hiring More Predictable (No Crystal Ball Needed)

Hiring a new employee can feel like a crapshoot sometimes – and indeed, for many companies, it kind of is. According to Equifax, more than 41 percent of employees who quit their job in the last year did so within the first six months. Another 16 percent quit between six and 11 months on the job. With turnover like this, hiring can feel like a sisyphean task – you’re constantly rolling the ball up the hill, just to immediately start over again.

At Recruiterbox, we don’t claim to have perfected hiring – but we’re getting close. According to Compdata, the average turnover rate in 2015 was 16.4 percent. In comparison, our turnover rate was 5.7 percent: Out of 35 employees, we lost only two last year. And we retained all seven of our U.S.-based team members.

So what’s the secret behind our success? Here are five steps we’ve taken to create a predictable hiring process.

1. Post in the Right Places

At Recruiterbox, we work across multiple geographies. We’ve got our office in India, and we also have a remote team of U.S. workers. We post our remote openings to the job board We Work Remotely. We’ve found that with a niche job board such as this, candidates tend to be more self-selecting. They’re not just looking for ANY job, they’re looking for a remote job. And because they’re specifically looking for this type of work, they’re more likely to possess the attributes needed to succeed at our particular company. In the last 15 months, we’ve hired seven employees sourced from We Work Remotely, and it’s hard to argue with a 100-percent retention rate.

2. Ask the Right Questions

Developing a set of interview questions that will result in usable insight about candidates isn’t easy. Old chestnuts like “What’s your biggest strength and biggest weakness?” result in canned, cliched responses. If you ask leading interview questions (e.g. “We work at a very fast pace at our company; what is your preferred work environment?”), you’re pretty much handing the candidate the answer. Maybe an oddball question like “Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?” can reveal profound information. What that might be, I’m not really sure.

Don’t ask commonplace questions just because you always have, or use questions as a way to showcase your creativity to candidates. Instead, consider the essential traits your new hire must possess, and work backwards from there. For example, one of the characteristics we look for in our customer service hires is empathy. They should not only have a technical understanding of our customers’ issues, but also an understanding of why these issues are inconvenient and how they affect our customers’ abilities to do their jobs.

To that end, we ask our customer service candidates to describe how they would go about choosing a birthday present for a friend. It’s unexpected, open-ended and ask candidates to put themselves in the shoes of someone else. Done, done and done.

3. Collaborate with Colleagues

When it comes to hiring, two heads (or three, or four, or five) are better than one. Different roles are going to interact with your new hire in different ways. Different personalities and backgrounds lead us to prioritize different skills and traits. The average corporate job attracts 250 applicants, so chances are you’re going to have a lot of great options. There likely won’t be one clear-cut candidate who immediately rises to the top of everyone’s list.

At Recruiterbox, we not only have candidates interview with each of our three co-founders, we also have them interview with everyone at the organization with whom they’ll be working closely. Each team member who’s involved in the hiring of a new employee inevitably offers a new set of insight. We’re free to challenge each other’s opinions until a consensus is reached.

4. Issue an Evaluation

You want a way to weed out applicants REAL fast? Give them an assignment when they apply. If you’re hiring a developer, give them a code test. If you’re hiring a PR pro, ask them to write a press release. You get the idea. At Recruiterbox, we ask applicants to get into the software and record a screencast in which they demonstrate one of the features.

This step undoubtedly deters some prospective applicants, which is just fine. When it comes to recruiting, more doesn’t always equal better. In raising the barrier to entry, you get an immediate idea of who wants YOUR job, as opposed to just A job. Then there will be other applicants who complete the task but either put in the bare minimum amount of work or just don’t have the skills to perform at the level you need. By creating a little more work for the candidate, you’ll create a lot less work for yourself.

5. Use Recruitment Software

Look, we’re a recruitment software – of course we use our own product when we do our own hiring! It helps us manage all of the steps above. We can create openings and push them directly to We Work Remotely (and any other job board). We can create customized questions for each opening. We can collaborate with colleagues by delegating tasks,sharing candidates and sharing notes. We can create customized application forms for each opening with mandatory and optional fields. And these features represent just a fraction of what the product can do.

If you want to reduce employee turnover, sign up with Recruiterbox for a free two-week trial. Your path to a predictable hiring process is just a few clicks away.

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Erin Engstrom does outreach and marketing for Recruiterbox, a recruitment software that helps small- and medium-sized businesses ditch email and spreadsheets and conduct all their hiring activities from a single, easy-to-use system.

Erin Engstrom

Erin Engstrom does outreach and marketing for Recruiterbox, a recruitment software that helps small- and medium-sized businesses ditch email and spreadsheets and conduct all their hiring activities from a single, easy-to-use system.

erin-engstrom has 39 posts and counting.See all posts by erin-engstrom

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