Wednesday, 04 May 2016 16:15

5 Tips for Improving Your Employee Selection Process

It’s a paradox many companies face, both within the hardwood lumber industry and outside of it. According to everything we hear, plenty of individuals are out there looking for a job, but at the same time, businesses are experiencing great difficulty finding the right candidates for their open positions.

At Baillie, we place great importance on hiring employees with the right attitudes, skills, experience and cultural fit. We recognize the importance of always fine-tuning our selection process, so we hope these suggestions provide some help in your recruitment efforts in 2016 and beyond.

1. Know precisely what you want. Too many positions are saddled with outdated job descriptions, so when there’s an opening, HR and recruiting staff must work from obsolete or irrelevant specifications. It’s imperative to regularly review and update the skills and qualifications required for a particular job, so you can achieve greater accuracy with candidate matches.

teddy-boonville2. Think from a candidate’s perspective. Are you doing everything possible to make your company more attractive to job seekers? When someone goes to your website to check out opportunities, do they find the site hard to navigate or slow to load on their mobile devices? Speaking of job descriptions, do you clearly explain the types of skills and experience you’re looking for or is the wording vague and misleading? This can be extremely relevant in the hardwood lumber industry since not everyone fully understands what a lumber handler, a grader or even a lumber trader actually does. What are you doing to persuade job candidates that working in your business will be exciting, engaging, and rich with growth opportunities?

3. Look to your current employees for referrals. Some of the most promising candidates won’t materialize from online job boards. They’re likely to come from friends, family members and other people your employees know. Consider instituting a formal referral program that encourages employees to actively think about who might be the right person for the open position in your office. Offering powerful incentives like cash bonuses, gift cards or extra days off will result in a greater number of qualified referrals.

4. Improve your interview process. A formal job interview isn’t the place to review the dry facts presented on an applicant’s resume. Instead, make this an opportunity to focus on a candidate’s personality and social intelligence. Answering only a few questions about who a candidate is as a person can really help make a decision.  Do I want to work with this person every day?  Will my team feel the same?  Experience is important, but so are soft skills, like the ability to communicate well and get along with others. Assessing these traits is very helpful towards determining how well a candidate will fit in.

It’s also important to ask situational-based questions that illustrate a person’s judgment (or lack thereof). Ask your current employees to suggest questions based on real-life work scenarios, then put those questions to the applicant and get an idea of how he or she handled similar situations in the past. (An added bonus is that inviting employee input like this makes them feel more emotionally invested in whomever you end up choosing to fill the position.)

5. Gauge the applicant’s interest in a career, versus just a job. A resume can be very helpful in this respect, particularly if it indicates the individual switches jobs or industries on a frequent basis.“If a candidate is not loyal to any company, hiring this person could definitely be a problem for your business,” notes business writer Steve Olenski.

Finally, when you’ve made the decision and hired the best candidate, keep a close eye on his or her progress. By the first month to 90 days, you should have a pretty good idea of how well the new employee is faring. If despite your best efforts, the arrangement isn’t working out, don’t procrastinate about taking action. Be prepared to let that new employee go and try to incorporate any lessons learned in your next recruitment cycle.

If you would know of someone looking for a career inthe wood products industry or would like to discuss hiring practices in general, let me know. I would be happy to share what I know.

Teddy Royal
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