Your company’s hiring process determines whether or not your enterprise is destined for failure or success. It’s that simple.
Sound dramatic? Not really. Look at it this way: The right hiring process attracts the right talent -- the kind that builds your culture, drives your business and wins your market. The wrong hiring process (or lack of one) leads to a company filled with underperformers and poor fits -- costing you time, money and opportunity.
There are three big reasons why your hiring process is killing your organization:
1. You’re making a bad first impression.
So, we’ve established that you need the best possible talent to have the best possible business. How do you bring those A-players to your door, and not the door of your competitor? Fair or not, success in that regard is about first impressions, meaning that you'd better be delivering a quality candidate-experience from the first moment of engagement.
Think of it this way: For the moment, I'm not a candidate, I’m a prospective customer. And I'm evaluating whether or not I want to do business with you. I’ve clicked on your paid ad online that directs me to your home page. I’m hooked, and decide to click on your “talk to sales” button. I look forward to connecting with your company.
But then . . . nothing. No response from anyone for days, maybe even weeks. Worse yet, maybe I never hear from you.
Wait, you say, that wouldn’t happen. Our team is on it when it comes to new prospects. So, why not invest the same urgency and attention when it comes to new candidates? They’re as strong a factor in the success of your business, yet the majority of early-stage companies have no defined process for managing candidate leads; and that means delayed (or no) follow-up, plus disappointed prospects.
In today’s world of employee-review sites, like Glassdoor, you’ll quickly turn your company into the type that's reviewed as “lazy” or “doesn’t really seem to care,” leading to a poor public reputation and fewer quality applicants.
Remember, recruiting is a sales process. You’re paying for qualified leads (prospective applicants), who convert on your landing page (career site) and submit their request to learn more (resume and cover letter). Like any interested prospect, they expect near-immediate follow-up. If your process isn’t designed to quickly and respectfully follow up with these leads, you’ll never get the talent you need to grow your business.
2. You’re wasting cash.
Your mediocre (or nonexistent) hiring process brings you mediocre candidates. You’ve been content to live with that status quo because you believe that you can manage it effectively, and it’s a result you can live with. But let me tell you: You cannot.
When your poor hiring process means bad hiring decisions, you end up with employees who either flake out or get fired. At this point, you incur massive costs, in the form of wasted training, lost wages, higher payroll taxes and potential increases in your unemployment insurance rates.
And that's not to mention the huge opportunity costs:
- The amount of sales you won’t get because your new salesperson is a dud
- The amount of billable time you can’t charge for because you have an unfilled job
- The cost of the culture hit your team takes because you have The Worst Employee Ever walking around your office, impacting morale
- The cost of begging your biggest customer not to cancel because your new account manager destroyed a previously fruitful relationship
These outcomes are expensive, and a massive drain on company cash flow, both directly and indirectly. They’re also completely avoidable outcomes, with the right hiring process. I can’t emphasize this enough: You need process. It works. Anything less is just a coin toss and a prayer that the new guy you really liked will work out. Fingers crossed.
3. You’re wasting everyone’s time.
Speaking of fingers crossed, you can add “went with my gut on this one” to the list of ways you’re leaving your organization to chance when you don’t have a smart hiring system in place. If you’re bringing in a new hire simply because he or she “just seemed like the right fit,” without actually testing for that right fit, you’re wasting everyone’s time. It goes something like this:
You: “This guy seems like a great fit. He gets it.”
Co-founder: “Yeah, but I don’t think he has the experience we need.”
You: “Maybe, but I really like him.”
Co-founder: “When we hired George with no experience, because you ‘liked him,’ it caused major issues on this account. We should hold off and wait until we find someone with experience.”
But you like him. But he’s never done this job before. But you like him . . .
When you don’t have objective criteria in place to pick the right person for the job, you risk a guaranteed disaster. You get bogged down in emotion-driven debates about “giving this person a shot,” based on a feeling. But what results is a waste of everyone’s time -- yours, your manager's and that of the poor, unsuspecting candidate who’s been set up for failure by being thrown into a new role that's not a good fit for him (or her) or your business.
I’ll say it again: You need a solid hiring process, one with clearly defined roles and measurements designed to bring the right people to your table. Sure, this entails a little work up-front. But this is your future we’re talking about; it’s worth it.
The bottom line is that without the right hiring process, you’re not building your best possible team. And without your best possible team, you’re doomed.
So, ask yourself: Are you creating a system that attracts the right people to your company? Do you have a process on the front-end for evaluating talent and spotting high-potential recruits? Do you know, specifically, what skills and traits predict success in a particular role, and do you have a way to test for them? Are you putting your values, goals and measurements into place to ensure your highest chance of success?
If not, you’re killing your company.