Break your hiring process to make it better

What went wrong

You start to pay attention to things when they break. We hired four people in as many months, and none of them lasted a year. It wasn’t them. It was us. Our hiring process was broken - and we had to rebuild it from the ground up.

Confession. I didn’t rebuild it - and I interviewed our VP of Talent, Karen Seketa, for this column. But what I know - is that if we don’t get talent right, we don’t stand a chance at winning this great game of business. 

What makes a great hiring process?

"The most talented people will not tolerate a complicated application process because they don’t have to. The application process is to get people into your funnel to widen your selection set." 

What goes wrong when it goes wrong? 

When we’re in tight talent markets, there can be insane pressure to move too quickly and ‘go with your gut’. When pain is high because someone has left the organization, a ‘warm body’ can feel helpful but creates issues down the road. If you’re the hiring manager and don’t have adequate time for the process, it can be easy to get fooled by perception bias, hearing what you want to hear just to get it checked off your list. 

It’s easy for urgency to overpower the realization that hiring is one of the most important things we do as leaders. Going fast and on your gut serves no one. 

What broke in our hiring process?

It became a habit for us to hire on instinct. Honestly, this served us for a time, but as the bar continued to rise, our hiring process did not keep pace. We started making mistakes with our instinct - important aspects of what makes someone successful here were missed. They were missed because they are things that are hard to measure. Grit and critical thinking.


How did we know it was breaking?

People were failing, and that was 100% on us. We would hire people, and 90 days in, it was clear they did not have the grit or critical thinking skills to be successful; where did we go wrong?

How did we fix it?

So, where now?

Don’t get so stuck in your ways and keep doing what you have always done.  Have the guts to throw a process out the window and make it better. Find a team to test it with you and iterate. 

Don’t let hiring managers fall in love and shortcut the process because they fall in love with a candidate. That never, ever ends well.

Don’t rebuild your hiring process through a myopic lens. Do your research, understand the market and the tools, apply a data-forward approach to building your framework, and be sure to measure for success and adapt as needed.

This article was originally published in the Indianapolis Business Journal

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