Google “finding good employees” and more than 300-million entries appear. The Internet universe is full of lists and ideas and hints for finding wonderful, supremely talented people, and almost all of them tell you what you already know. This one takes a different approach in abandoning the usual parameters: you’re hiring for experience rather than ability, you are hiring mirror images of yourself, you won’t let go of the bad apples, etc. etc. etc.
Finding good people is a major task for BPOs, particularly in manning contact centers, and a focused effort requires more than reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. The search is for three things:
- Can the person do the job: this is basic competence and that’s your only metric, you’ll always find people. And you’ll always have a big turnover rate.
- How will the person do the job: this speaks to fitting into the new workplace and people are generally able to adapt to new environments.
- Does the person want to do the job: this is the critical component that speaks to an individual candidate’s hard-wiring, their occupational DNA.
Occupational DNA means hiring for job fit – matching a person’s skills, behavioral traits, and interests with the position. People tend to perform better when doing tasks that they enjoy, they’ll work harder to improve their skills in those things, and they are more engaged in the workplace. The challenge for outsourcing companies is to map position needs to individual strengths and backgrounds. For instance, a technical support agent is wired differently from one who is sales focused. Each can be taught to do the other’s job, but will either like it? And if one or both aren’t happy, they are not likely to stay, putting you back at “Go” and having lost considerably more than $200.
The best way to lose bright and talented people is to not let them be bright and talented.
When people leave, it’s less often about money or workload than it is about other people or the environment. While the concept of ‘fit’ is best applied to the relationship between the individual and the position, it can also refer to organizational culture. It is hard to tell from one or several interviews if an applicant is suited to a position or company, and there are various assessment tools on the market that ask a series of questions in attempting to create a portrait of each applicant.
Interviews are important but they are also like dating. Applicants wear their ‘date face,’ presenting an image that may or may not match reality. Often, the first date is great but if you want to know what someone is really like, you have to be with that person on a daily basis, to include times when the happy face of date night isn’t there. In a relationship, issues tend to arise sooner rather than later but, in the workplace, that can take a while and the lesson is learned after a sizable investment has been made.
A bad hire can be worse than no hire and while companies use things background checks to help their decision-making, these processes serve to rule applicants out and if your hiring calculus is based on “the least worst” candidate, then that is what you will get. Good decisions require good information and good information in hiring hinges on knowing about an applicant’s enthusiasm about the tasks of the job; that’s the factor with the greatest predictive value for success on the job.