Poor hiring decisions can have a major impact on an organization. For example, decreased productivity, low morale, and employee turnover are likely results of less-than-desirable hires. Overall, poor hiring decisions are very costly to an organization. Research on the cost of turnover for one employee varies; however, a good estimate is six to nine months’ salary. For an employee earning $40,000 per year, that equates to $20,000 – $30,000 in replacement costs. Of course, selecting the right candidate is only the first step in ensuring success; the organization must also ensure that it orientates/onboards and supports its staff appropriately. We’ll leave the orientation/onboarding discussion for another day.

One way to avoid poor hiring decisions is to ensure that the right tools are used as part of the selection process. The most commonly used selection tool is the interview. It is best to put each applicant through a structured interview and to ask questions that are relevant to the position. In other words, the goal is to ask questions that will provide the best indicator of success on the job.  One of the best indicators of future success is past performance. Instead of asking situational questions such as, “What would you do if you had several competing demands?”, ask, “Tell us about a time that you had several deadlines and you still managed to successfully complete everything on time”. The second question is a behavioural example – it is asking the candidate to describe a specific experience that they have had. The first question is hypothetical, to which the answer does not necessarily reflect a past experience. As a side note for behavioural questions, the candidate could be asked to provide a reference or contact that can confirm the specific experience that they describe.

Asking the proper questions in the right way will increase the chances of finding a great candidate. Rushing through the selection process may save some time initially; however, it will cost the organization in the long run. Take the time needed to find a candidate that will move your business forward!

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