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How to Hire Top Talent Cost Effectively

September 17, 2013

In a perfect world, every position is filled with the perfect candidate, and every candidate finds the perfect position. In reality, it’s often more of a gamble - a gamble that we often end up taking on limited information.

The next time you find yourself placing a bet on your next new employee stop for a moment and think about the stakes involved with that gamble, the risks of bringing on a bad hire:

• Low morale caused by introducing a poor performer into the workplace
• Wasted training time and dollars
• Drug screening and background check fees
• Time invested on phone screens and interviews
• Your reputation (and your company’s reputation)
• The possibility that the bad hire will “stick” - low performance metrics for years (or decades) to come

Instead of making that gamble post-interview (Will he or she really work out? Will he or she really stick around?), I’d like to encourage you to re-think your selection process. Hiring the right candidate doesn’t need to involve flipping a coin, rolling the dice or even consulting a crystal ball. All you need is job related data about the candidate and a consistent process in which to get that data. And as you can see from the list above, the risk of a bad hire can be extremely costly. A solid selection process doesn’t have to break the bank.159120266

Here are a few ways to hire effectively on a budget:

• Automate as much as you can - We often underestimate how much time we spend trying to chug through applications. As much as possible, rely on your applicant tracking system to whittle down your applicant pool based on job related questions.

• Tighten up your criteria - If you haven’t reviewed your selection content recently it could be the case that you’re measuring “fluff” instead of criterion that could be weeding out candidates, or potentially identifying your top talent. If your content isn’t doing what it should - giving you useful information that helps you differentiate between candidates - rethink your selection tools. Re-tool your interview content; add an assessment that measures job -relevant characteristics, train your interviewers to make the most of their interviews.

• Anticipate your volume - Much like you can save money by buying a pass to the gym (rather than paying a per visit fee), you can often save money by anticipating your hiring needs and planning ahead to find the best deals on pretty much anything. If you’re paying a per candidate fee for testing services it might be worthwhile to negotiate a subscription based on your usage.

At the end of the day a bad hire will always be expensive and risky. Preventing a bad hire is not. Increase your odds of success by turning a critical eye to your process and ensuring that what you’re using is useful, efficient and legally defensible (job related).


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Amber Thomas Amber Thomas is a Consultant at PSI. In her role, Amber provides custom solutions to a variety of industries. Her contributions include project oversight, day-to-day client support, and on-going consultation.