Two thoughts for developing a hiring strategy
January 23, 2012
Hiring and recruiting are often sources of frustration for small business owners. Most professionals would rather focus on growth strategy, marketing and sales than worry about how they'll be staffed. However, many experts argue that staffing and human resources need to be considered core components of company strategy, especially given the widening talent shortage in North American markets.
Both Canada and the U.S. are suffering from an emerging skills gap. A recent survey of employers in both countries found roughly six out of 10 report challenges attracting critical-skill employees last year, compared to 52 percent in 2010 and 28 percent the year before.
"Companies are taking longer to fill these positions, and more of them are open," said Laura Sejen, global head of rewards consulting at Towers Watson. "There is clearly a greater-than-normal mismatch between the skills employers seek and those that are available in the marketplace."
So what's to be done? First, employers need to review their hiring strategies and make sure they are aligned with modern circumstances. While every business is sure to find its own recruiting strategy that works best for it, it's important to leverage market research in developing a hiring plan. The British Psychological Society's Occupational Digest blog recently published a number of insights for informing this strategy. Here are two of them:
1.) Well-designed tests can be informative
It depends on the industry in question, but recent research has shown that pre-employment assessments and competency exams are largely effective in gauging employee skills. Of course, these tests need to be designed and implemented carefully. More importantly, studies show automated, electronic tests can be a better investment of resources than face-to-face interviews - at least for the initial vetting process.
2.) First impressions are not necessarily a bad thing
Many hiring decisions are made, albeit subconsciously, within the first few minutes of meeting a candidate. But this may not be bad.
"Interview … scores are strongly influenced by the picture gained from the early minutes where rapport is built," BPS explains in a blog post. "Happily, it seems that this isn't simply bias, but reflects some good information picked up - for instance, verbal ability and some personality factors. Why not recognize this, perhaps by assigning quick ratings after that initial period?"