July 27, 2017

How to Hire High Performing Teams — And Keep Mis-Hires to a Minimum

By Stephanie Maas, Partner, Banking

There’s no doubt that high performing teams are paramount to an organization’s success, but hiring the right people for the job is something that every organization struggles with, regardless of its size, age, or industry. In fact, one out of every two people hired is a mis-hire, even if they (or you) don’t know it; this means that up to 50 percent of the people who currently work for your company many not really be a good fit.

How the hiring process can go wrong

There are many reasons why such a high percentage of employees brought into an organization are mis-hires, but the most obvious may be a mistake that organizations make over and over again. It’s simple: management has no idea how to hire top performers. But what makes organizations bad at hiring? Researchers noted several similar factors that led to a mis-hire:

·        75 percent of the decisions made when hiring someone were based entirely on the personal interview. (HR Magazine)

·        43 percent of poor hiring decisions occurred because there was a need to fill a position quickly. (National Business Research Institute)

·        36 percent of poor hiring decisions were based on a poor skills match. (National Business Research Institute)

In addition, a study from Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that five percent of hiring managers make a decision about hiring a potential job candidate during the very first minute of the interview, 30 percent make up their minds within the first five minutes, and that 52 percent make a decision within five to seven minutes. That’s a full 87 percent of hiring managers who make decisions before an interview is over — in other words, without having all the facts.

Although the interview process is supposed to help hiring managers make the right decision, in truth, it can inadvertently eliminate top talent, leaving mediocre performers in their place. Interviews tend to last too long and can become increasingly tedious as the process continues, especially if there candidates are put through multiple interviews. Interviews (especially multi-round interviews) are supposed to provide valuable information to employers, but they can turn candidates completely off to your company — and chances are, hiring managers aren’t paying attention to all of that information anyway.

How to find the high performers

On the other hand, hiring high performers requires a shift in thinking as well as changes to your hiring practice. As an example, if your strategy for assembling a winning team involves nothing placing ads online, you can forget about hiring top performers: you’ll get a lot of applicants, to be sure, but chances are very few of them will be qualified or a good fit for the job. Furthermore, many will be applying to multiple jobs at once, so even if you do interview a talented candidate, they may be snatched up by a competitor.

Instead, consider focusing your attention on the “inactive” candidate market. These are the top performers you want, but the difference is that they aren’t actively looking for a job: they already have one, and it’s probably at one of your competitors. For this approach to work, though, you have to provide positive, no-brainer reasons why these individuals should quit their current jobs — where they may be perfectly content — to work for you instead. Commonly known as your Employee Value Proposition (EVP), these reasons not only spells out the advantages of working for your company, but also clearly define potential career paths within your company.

If you aren’t sure what your EVP is, you’re not alone; many organizations find defining their EVP difficult, but you can usually get a better idea by asking your newest, best performers what brought them to your organization — and why they’re still here. Consider doing the same with employees who have stayed with you year after year.

Get the entire organization on board

Once you decide to implement new hiring methods to build your high-performing team, you’ll need everyone on board. It takes just one manager who doesn’t take the hiring process seriously to stop your plan to hire top talent in its tracks. Implement your plan successfully, however, and the benefits of hiring (and retaining) high performers will result in increased growth and profitability for your organization as well as an improved corporate culture where more individuals are satisfied.