Patching a tire is good for one thing: getting you where you need to go in the short term. It’s not intended to be a long-term solution, mainly because it doesn’t hold up. The same can be said of hiring employees just because the demand is immediate. Needing them right away is not the same as needing them for the long haul.
My company learned this the hard way: Hiring quickly without checking first whether potential employees were a good culture fit ultimately led to a higher turnover, loss of productivity, and wasted money.
We vowed to not repeat that mistake.
Take The Time To Hire Right
Last year, my company pivoted and launched a rebrand that required the assembly of a large sales team by a deadline. We expected a high volume of calls following our launch email, so an immediate increase in staff was a must. Because the launch happened suddenly, our HR team didn’t have time to tackle the lengthy process of vetting candidates. Instead, we recruited a staffing agency to send employees our way as soon as the next day. The catch? We didn’t even get to meet them until they arrived at our door.
Because we were unable to know ahead of time whether or not these quick hires fit our culture, we were met with a few first-day surprises. Several hires showed up late, others were dressed inappropriately for the workplace, and some were unprepared for the role in general.
We ended up having to dismiss some and spent the whole day training others, only to discover they weren’t strong fits for their positions anyway. We spent entirely too much time “fixing” the new hires — time that could have been better spent had we taken the correct hiring steps the first time around. Our company, generally known for a unified culture, began to feel slightly segmented with the addition of these hires. The temps couldn’t participate in all company aspects like regular employees could, causing a lack of team integration.
Patience Is a Virtue (And A Great Hiring Tool)
If it isn’t evident yet, we should’ve followed the adage of the tortoise and the hare: Slow and steady wins the race.
To avoid a “hare” mentality, examine where you expect your company to be six months out, and determine whether you have sufficient resources to accomplish whatever that six-month mark holds. Predict your company’s growth to anticipate whether extra hands will be needed. This year, our company did just that, creating an advanced hiring forecast with the help of each department. Through this planning process, we discovered that we’d need another DevOps engineer down the road. Identifying the need before it was critical gave us several months to find the ideal candidate.
To do the same and find employees who fit your needs and your culture, it just takes a little patience and these three reminders:
1. Haphazard hiring can cost your company. Hiring a candidate right away without first assessing whether he or she fits your culture (and the position) can cost you more in the long run as you train or replace them. As Amy Zebrowski, our human resources partner, said, “Knowing that a bad hire costs more than a slow hire, it’s worth the extra time and effort spent finding someone who is the right fit.”
Having temps on board for mere weeks ended up costing us more than it would have to search for candidates who could’ve better integrated with the team once the temporary work was completed.
Give yourself one or two more weeks to complete the hiring process. It’s more important to find a high-quality candidate than to fill a temporary gap with a subpar one. Take the time. You can spare it.
2. Limit the amount of people involved in the process. Beyond your HR team, select a manager from each department as a designated interviewer. This way, you’re not investing a large amount of company time by having too many employees involved. Be sure to train your selections so they’re prepared to handle hiring efficiently and effectively.
In the past, we involved a lot of people in the interview process — this made it lengthy and time-consuming. Today, we have dedicated “interview managers” who know the process, ask the right questions, and retrieve the necessary information from candidates to assess fit.
3. Have a plan in place for interviews. Though it takes time and consideration, come up with the most valuable questions to ask candidates. These questions should yield the most telling information about each candidate’s background and culture fit. Specific questions make the comparison process between candidates more seamless.
Just as our company refined our hiring process, we refined our interview process. We now ask a variety of questions that highlight a candidate’s personality. A potential hire may seem great on paper, but that doesn’t mean she’ll work well within your culture. Ask a candidate more about herself to get to know her as a person, not as a prospect.
Learn from the tortoise: It pays to be patient. And when it comes to your growing company, what’s more important than a solid team?