Hiring managers spend too much time interviewing candidates—and asking them the wrong questions. Then they’re often surprised to have to fire those same candidates a few months later after discovering that good interview skills don’t necessarily signal a great job fit.
The problem: Employers often hire for hard skills but fire for soft skills.
To walk you through both sides of this delicate process, we're releasing this invaluable 2-book combo of "boss's rights manuals." Hire at Will and Fire at Will
“Our new slogan should be, ‘Fire them before we hire them,'" says Karl Ahlrichs of Hiring Smart, an Indiana firm specializing in employee selection.
Ahlrichs advocates a streamlined system that front-loads the hiring process by placing more responsibility on job-seekers. It relies heavily on automating the application process using web-based applications and tests to capture much of the information traditionally covered in face-to-face interviews.
A 4-step hiring process
Here’s Ahlrichs’ four-step process that, he says, can provide richer information than four traditional interviews:
1. An exhaustive application. Require candidates to fill out a meticulously detailed initial job application. Ahlrichs advocates a four-page online application that covers all the usual application questions—and then some. In addition to job experience, it asks applicants to explain why they left jobs and requests their supervisors’ names and phone numbers (along with permission to contact them).
It also asks a series of open-ended questions designed to reveal the applicants’ perspectives on such areas as supervision, teamwork and customer service (areas important to the employer).
“This is a filter that weeds out about 40% of applicants,” Ahlrichs says, especially “the tire-kickers who can’t be bothered with so much work.”
“The application effectively functions as a good first interview for most positions,” he says. “You may not even need to see a résumé.”
No supervisory task is more important than hiring. And no task carries more legal risk than termination. Hire at Will and Fire at Will
2. Five-minute phone screen. Call the best prospects from your now much-smaller pile of applications. Use their applications as the basis to gain a basic feel for a fit. Not all will make the cut following this “second interview.”
3. Online assessment. Here’s your “third interview.” Have remaining applicants complete an online survey that measures values, attitudes, sense of responsibility and other intangibles that separate good employees from bad.
Several such instruments are available online. (Do a Google search for “online employment assessments.”)
4. Face-to-face interviews. Now you are ready to meet the best candidates. And you’ll come armed with all the information gleaned from the first three steps.
“By now, applicants are really committed,” Ahlrichs says. “They’ve put a lot of work into the process, and they’ve already had four opportunities to opt out.”
Ahlrichs says companies using this process have seen 50% reductions in both new-hire resignations and firings, and new-hire absenteeism has fallen as much as 75%.
The ability to hire or fire well isn’t a mysterious art...it's a step-by-step science. With Hire at Will and Fire at Will, you'll learn:
- 8 loaded interview questions that elicit the information you're really looking for without having to come right out and ask.
- Written tests for honestly, personality, aptitude and productivity ... which ones work best? Which are legal? Which ones should you avoid absolutely?
- How to avoid the trap of "negligent hiring" and when you can safely refuse to accommodate a disabled worker.
- The "magic" statement to include on all job applications to retain your right to fire at will!
- How to not lose your right to fire at will — and how to get it back if you have lost it.
- How to stop employee crime and chronic absences.
- Your right to test employees for drugs
- Legal roadblocks in the promotion and demotion process.
- How to protect yourself from age, race and sex discrimination charges.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- FMLA leave doesn't mean immunity to RIFs
- Working smarter: 4 tips
- Boss who hired also fired? Back it up anyway to defend against discrimination claims
- Beware disciplining worker who has claimed harassment