Why Aussie businesses need to get smarter at hiring

Author: Greg Muller — Founder & CEO of Gooroo

If you’ve ever worked alongside a colleague who could be considered a ‘bad hire’ you will know first-hand the detrimental effect it can have on an organisation. According to the Harvard Business Review, 80 per cent of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions and 45 per cent of bad hires are attributed to poor screening processes.

With so much discussion around a skills shortage in Australia, it’s no wonder organisations feel under pressure to get recruitment right and to do so, we’re seeing a change in recruitment styles and screening processes. Increasingly companies are treating people as commodities and tackling the talent problem with plughole solutions, such as using ‘round robin’ style interviews to churn through more candidates. However, despite these changing styles, organisations are not reviewing the underlying way they assess people so their recruitment problems remain the same. To buck this trend, businesses need to get smarter about how they approach hiring.

Potential trumps experience

It’s common for potential employees to be approached on LinkedIn for skills they may have acquired in the past, but haven’t used in years and don’t really want to do again. Companies can’t assume an individual wants to keep using the same skills they’ve been using for years. People want new challenges, not a repeat of their old job.

This is where technology can help, using smart techniques to map related skills. So, for example, a role hiring for ‘JavaScript’ can still be matched against talent missing that skill, but having other similar skills, such as ‘Angular JavaScript’. This approach looks to include top talent who may have been excluded looking purely at an exact skills match.

In addition, several candidates may have the ‘correct’ experience for the role you’re recruiting. In which case, how do you differentiate between them to determine who is the best fit for your organisation? This is where businesses need to begin hiring based on a candidate’s potential for success. Organisations must start considering not only whether your company’s employees have the skills, but also whether they have the ability and character to learn new ones.

Don’t sell your business short

We regularly see businesses very focused on their immediate hiring needs and not looking at how candidates can help to move the business forward. They frequently exclude candidates from their hiring pool based on education and experience without considering what is best for company long term. When considering a new employee, organisations need to know how people will engage with the work, not just whether they have the skills they need to do it. Having experience in a task is not necessarily a determinant of performance. It only represents one dimension. One of the key drivers of expertise is belief. When an individual believes in themselves, they participate more, the experiences build and most importantly, an individual becomes more energised and engagement grows. It is key to understand the factors that help drive an individual’s belief and engagement in their role.

Cut out the bias

Although we might explicitly believe that prejudice and discrimination are wrong, research is proving we are all unconsciously biased towards the world around us and use stereotypes every day. These biases can influence our decision making automatically and are often triggered by our brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, without all the relevant information and instead are informed by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. When unconscious bias is present in the recruitment process, talented people can be left out of your workforce or overlooked for development and career progression. To overcome unconscious bias, consider tools such as anonymous screening when hiring for new roles. By taking the human element out of the first stage of assessment, organisations ensure that the crop of candidates presented for consideration are chosen solely on their merits.

Negotiate fair

Even once an organisation has found the best candidate, the hiring process can come unstuck during the negotiation period due to unrealistic expectations from one side or the other. Part of this problem stems from out-of-date salary data. Where possible recruiters, jobseekers and businesses should access a tool such as Gooroo to determine what a candidate is currently worth and to ensure a better understanding of what the role should pay before entering negotiations.

Businesses are undoubtedly facing challenges during the recruitment process and now more than ever, organisations need to be smarter about using the tools at their disposal to ensure efficiency and effectiveness all the way through the process.

Originally published in ‘The Australian’
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