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Old Wednesday, February 13, 2008
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Default Interviewing and Selecting High Performers: A Guide to Effective Hiring

For any business owner or employer who has been faced with the exciting process their company’s growth and expansion, hiring highly productive employees is one of the most fundamental components of effectively seeing this process through. For human resources managers and professionals who are well-versed in recruiting and hiring talent for a businesses’ workforce, it is often found that hiring is one of the most complex, fundamental—and oftentimes rewarding—tasks that they face.

No matter how new one is to the process of hiring, or how experienced a human resources professional is, everyone will agree that hiring is not something to take lightly, and that there is always more to learn about this highly involved process that, if done right, can dramatically increase the overall profits of the enterprise involved.

Indeed, the productivity and efficacy of a workforce can really determine the ability of a company to bring in the needed revenue for good profit making. In fact, the caliber of a company’s employee base is so important that it can either guide the business toward amazing success or, unfortunately, lead a business into ruin. A workforce is really that important. And in today’s business environment, one in which a skilled labor pool is increasingly fluid and hard to retain, it is becoming more and more important for human resources professionals to effectively manage a hiring process which will carry their company toward success.

Employee selection
In the study of hiring, experts have come up with three pressing areas of focus that can be applied across nearly every industry wherein a strong and productive workforce is required. Initially, it is important to develop an effective strategy for interviewing job applicants, one which is carried out fluidly and professionally upon every encounter with prospective employees. After the interview stage, it is necessary to develop a metric based system of evaluating employees. Lastly, the decision-making process for finalizing a new hire must be done thoughtfully, and involve the input of coworkers and trusted colleagues. This article discusses all three stages of the hiring process in detail below:

The Interview Process
Successfully interviewing the individuals who will compose your company’s talent base is a skill that requires practice and finesse. That said, it is not far from the reach of anyone motivated by the prospect of heralding in a workforce that will really bring a company to its maximum profit potential. One of the most important aspects of the interview process to remember is that you, the interviewer, is representing the company and providing that crucial “first impression” which is usually thought of as a worry designated only for the interviewee.

Therefore, it is important to prepare in advance and have a set of well thought out interview questions. It may even help to assume a somewhat stern, commanding persona that indicates an exacting sort of professionalism. After all, the appearance of authority should not scare off talented recruits, but rather instill a sense of appreciation for the value of the company, and the direction in which it is headed. Indeed, it is important that well qualified recruits are attracted to the job, and the interview is the most critical phase for prospective employees who are making such a decision.

In addition to the person-to-person encounter, the entire process should involve an organized and consistent approach among members of the human resources team as well as the various heads of the departments in which prospective employees will be working. Clear objectives held together by a mutually respected timeline with which the various interviewers are able to effectively coordinate make for a successful interview process.

Metrics for Evaluating Job Candidates
One of the primary functions of any thoughtful interview process is the collection of raw data. No matter what the number of employees being interviewed, human resources coordinators should ultimately be able to rank the outcome of each interview, along with other data, as a scalable result that either excels or falls below desired expectations. Along with the interview, however, employers should look at references, past jobs held, demonstrated skills and levels of education. Finding the right software or system of calculation is invaluable to a system of candidate evaluation metrics that will actually provide results for employers.

Yet even with the most precise candidate evaluation metrics, human resources management continues to confabulate employers with that uniquely human touch involved in any successful process of selection. Therefore, while metrics provide an invaluable tool, it is important not to rely completely upon them completely—remember to note down and take into account the interviewers’ report of each interviewee’s performance.

Choosing a Job Candidate
Making the final decision on who to hire and who not to hire should be a fairly straightforward process, provided that the system of interviews and the evaluation of the candidates’ metrics is done properly. Yet even during this phase there is no real “plug-in-the-numbers” step that will provide the overly simplistic and mechanistic solution secretly dreamed of by many employers. Rather, it is crucial here to, as a final step in the candidate hiring, to not only turn to the references provided by the prospective employees, but also to make sure that everyone on the team in which the employee will be working is involved in the process. Coworkers and trusted colleagues must be consulted and, ideally, reach a general consensus of acceptance in order for such a well rounded workforce to achieve maximum productivity.
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