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How You Might Be Derailing Important Hires

How You Might Be Derailing Important Hires

Many of our clients have needed a critical hire done quickly, but fail at getting it accomplished.  Often they engage us after a frustrating hiring process has produced no result.  If it is a replacement hire in a small to medium sized company, that could mean that a department is essentially going unmanaged, which can certainly impact the bottom line.

In a manufacturing company, if a product is coming off the line with too many quality errors, escapes, customer complaints, etc., the process is stopped, a team is assembled, root cause analysis is done, statistical process controls are applied, fixes are designed and implemented, the fix is observed closely to see if it has worked, and if so, the fix is documented and institutionalized to ensure it will not happen again.  In other words, most organizations have no tolerance for consistent errors in manufacturing, and they will stop everything and throw time and talent at the problem to get it fixed.

Not so in hiring.

Many if not most companies display an astonishing level of patience with poor hiring practices.  Hiring managers will work two jobs to cover the gaps, or overtax other critically valuable human assets. But hiring today isn’t a much better process at many companies than it was 20, 30, or even 50 years ago.  Why?

In manufacturing, imagine if you paid little attention to requirements definition, good set-up, scheduling, and customer satisfaction.   What would happen?  Disaster, probably.  But imagine if companies applied the same sound manufacturing processes to hiring as they did to manufacturing.

Requirements: Old job descriptions are dusted off and re-used without editing all the time.  But for new products, the requirements would be precisely (and freshly) defined, engineered for cost savings, sourced for optimum material suppliers and subcontractors, and re-validated with the customer.  “Must haves” would be differentiated from “nice to haves.” If an old spec was reused, it would be examined with care, and any obsolete materials or processes would be updated.

Timing: A product waiting to get into production doesn’t often sit idly waiting for a rubber stamp approval.  If it does, it shows up on plant visual boards as yellow the next day and red the day after.  But job reqs often sit on desks for days, weeks, sometimes, becoming low priorities when they are critically important.  Same thing happens to job offers which are held up by bureaucratic red tape more than almost any other corporate process.
Customer Satisfaction: Most manufacturers place customer satisfaction very high on their priority list.  In hiring, HR often shows disdain for both internal customers (hiring managers), and external customers (passive job candidates).  Hiring managers usually report low satisfaction with their internal recruiting team, and then turn around and treat candidates like applicants, failing to incorporate recruitment into the process (see our other article in this newsletter).

Decisions: Business leaders pride themselves on making quick decisions in the plant, but not for hiring.  After the final interviews, hiring managers often sit on their decision for days, or insert a new step into the process to delay the decision further.

Sound hiring requires a systematic approach – the same type of systematic approach that all manufacturers apply to making their products:  Well-defined requirements, good sourcing, a methodical, efficient approach to product flow, quick decisions, and a strong focus on customer satisfaction.  This approach works well in hiring too!