Seven-Step Process to Great Hires

Anyone who has ever overseen hiring can admit to hiring the wrong person at one time or another. Plain and simple, hiring the right person isn't easy. According to Career Builder, 74% of companies say they've hired the wrong person for a position. On average, the cost of a bad hire is around $15,000; the cost increases with the level of the position. If the employee is leaving after several years of working for you, they are also leaving with intellectual property, which increases your costs.


There is no magic formula or “easy button” when it comes to making great hires, but there are some tools and processes you can implement to set up your hiring managers for success. Follow this seven-step process to decrease the risk of making bad hires.


1. Train hiring managers on behavioral interview techniques


You need to train everyone who is conducting interviews, no matter how senior they are. Interviewing is a skill that is developed and to do it well, you need to learn the proper techniques. Otherwise, you risk making costly interview mistakes. It's important to use competency-based interview questions and make sure your interviewers are trained on how to use primary and secondary probing questions.


You don't want to just ask a question, listen to the answer and move on; that's not a good way to conduct an interview. To conduct an effective interview, you must look for behavior anchors and use probing questions to get more information regarding the context that the candidate is telling you they were successful in. These techniques are all part of the behavioral interviewing method and allow you to learn more about the context of the situation and discover behavioral examples that relate directly to the role (for example, who else was involved and what was the outcome).


2. Utilize objective hiring tools for "job fit"


Objective hiring tools are things like pre-employment assessments. They should be used to complement your hiring process but not as the sole basis for hiring decisions. They are instrumental because they give you objective data points to support your hiring decisions. The keyword here is objective data.


Look for these features when selecting an assessment tool:

  • Avoid "self-assessment" tools: You want an objective tool that does not engage the user in self-analysis because the answers will only be as good as the test taker’s ability to self-evaluate.

  • Validated: Ask for validation credentials to ensure the data has been validated based on success norms for job fit and benchmarks.

  • Legally reviewed behavioral interview questions: The best assessment tools will also provide you with interview questions to guide you on interviewing the candidate based on the candidate's assessment results.


3. Include virtual interviewing in your screening process


The pandemic has forced many companies to start virtual interviewing. Despite some drawbacks, there are many positives to this change and it's a trend that is here to stay. Virtual interviewing:

  • Expands your candidate pool and opens up your geographic region for hiring candidates

  • Permits quick and efficient screening of multiple candidates

  • Provides a safe alternative to in-person interview during social distancing


A virtual interview is a great way to efficiently conduct interviews with multiple candidates as opposed to the scheduling and logistics that come with in-person interviews. Consider using a virtual interview in place of what might have been your first in-person interview after the phone screening. If you're hiring for a local position or one that will be in-office, bring the candidate in for the second or third round after you've shrunk the candidate pool. You'll be able to save time and screen candidates faster.


A few things to keep in mind when conducting virtual interviews:

  • Test your video and sound equipment in advance: Technical difficulties make for an awkward interview and a poor candidate experience that will leave a mark on your brand. Alleviate this by testing in advance.

  • Select a quiet room with no distractions: Just because you might be conducting this remotely does not mean anything should change about the atmosphere. You wouldn't have an interview in your office with people talking in the background, so why should that be any different virtually?

  • Create a guide for candidates: There are numerous video platforms available and each has its own unique interface. Chances are high that you will be using a platform that is unfamiliar to the candidate. To help set the interview up for success, create a quick instruction guide for the candidate so they know how to use the platform you have chosen. Some quick tips like how to share their screen, test their video, and mute/unmute will help get the interview off to the right start!


4. Utilize an applicant appraisal form


When we ask companies if they use an applicant appraisal form, less than 10% say they have something like this in place. One of the biggest things employers can do to mitigate litigation related to the hiring process is to use an applicant appraisal form. This simple but powerful tool allows you to objectively rank candidates during the interview and keep bias out of the process. Using an applicant appraisal form is an objective way of ranking all candidates. If you were ever challenged as to why you hired one candidate over another, it would serve as documentation to support your decision. For a sample applicant appraisal form and instructions, click here.


5. Verify candidate references


This step is often overlooked: many companies say they do not check candidate references because they never learn anything.


When checking candidate references, remember the following:

  • Resumes are not always honest

  • It's your responsibility to check references

  • Keep the reference questions job-related


Checking references is another step in the evidence-gathering process and another data point when making a hiring decision. The best question to ask when verifying a candidate reference is, "Is the person eligible for re-hire?" The answer to this question tells you a lot without having to ask much.


6. Utilize background checks


At this stage of the hiring process, it can be very tempting to cut corners, especially if you have already found one or more promising candidates. Do your due diligence when you hire. Background, criminal checks, and drug testing are still an important part of the process, especially when 37% of employees admit to stealing from their employer and 30% of all business failures are caused by employee theft.


The hiring process can be a lot of work, but taking shortcuts now will not do you any favors and has the potential to backfire in a big way. Make sure to approach hiring from a risk management perspective; first and foremost, it is about reducing the risk of hiring a bad fit for your company. Consider working with a screening company who can handle this part of the process for you. Not only will this lighten the load, but qualified screening providers protect businesses from losses associated with a bad hiring decision.


7. Be consistent


Lastly and most importantly, be consistent throughout your hiring process. If you only take one thing from this seven-step hiring process, consistency is the most important tip. It is also the key component of protecting your company from employment practices liabilities. Consistency ensures all candidates are treated equally. Having a consistent process will also improve efficiencies and set expectations for your hiring managers. It’s important to note that in order to maintain consistency, you must be able to keep your hiring managers accountable. Do not let managers go rogue.


Put the following in place to set up managers for success:

  • Train all hiring managers on your hiring process

  • Document the process and follow it every time

  • Use forms consistently and ensure they are based on objective criteria


The key to all of this is to be consistent. By adhering to a standardized interviewing and hiring process, keep your managers accountable.

How does ZERORISK HR support you when hiring?


ZERORISK HR offers the ZERORISK Hiring System, which includes an objective pre-employment assessment, hiring benchmarks, and a customized behavioral interview guide to support your hiring process. This tool will help hiring managers make objective hiring decisions and manage human capital at all levels in your organization. To see how the system can work in your organization, request a free assessment today.