A few days ago, I read a Q & A article that frosted my pumpkin (and I have a big pumpkin)! It went something like this (paraphrased): Unbelievable question: How could we establish a selection policy and practice that makes it extremely difficult to be hired and thereby reduce high staff turnover? More unbelievable answer: Congratulations on being a highly selective employer! Do a phone screen interview; have applicant’s write an essay; lecture the applicant about your selectivity; look for “good attitude” and good communication skills; authorize a background check, a reference check, and a behavioral and integrity test; conduct a drug test and health records check; do a group interview and observe applicant behavior; give applicants problem solving tests; evaluate applicant leadership; conduct a peer behavioral interview; and interview the spouse. This process will send a very strong message that applicants have to be good to work for your company. Sorry, folks. This is pure nonsense. First, “difficult hiring” is seldom the solution to turnover. Second, the only strong message this kind of selection process will send to applicants is that the company is clueless. Reduce Turnover Question? Common sense tells us we cannot reduce turnover until we know its cause. Is it bad leadership, poor salary, lack of training, insufficient skills, bad working conditions, economic factors, a poor benefits packages? I am sure the reader can add a few more, but hiring good people and expecting them to work under bad conditions will only Increase turnover. Any organization desiring to reduce turnover needs to understand the cause first. This is a silly question, and silly questions have silly answers. Highly Silly Employer Answer? After ó and only after ó the employer has discovered the root cause of turnover can they decide upon a solution. If the hiring organization can track turnover to a lack of employee skills and motivations, then they should 1) identify which competencies are critical and which are not, 2) find tools that will measure each competency, and 3) validate each tool (i.e., be sure it works). Everything else is silly. Point by Point Let’s take a look at the “unbelievable answer” from above point by point:
- “Do a phone screen interview.” If you do not know what you are looking for, any interview question will do. Empty nonsense!
- “Have applicants write an essay.” Why? Is essay writing a part of the job? What topic? Is there a uniform scoring guide?
- “Tell the applicant about your selectivity.” I am sure he or she will be impressed by your difficult, yet obscure, hiring methodology.
- “Look for ‘good attitude’ and good communication skills.” So, tell me, who hires applicants with a visibly bad attitude or poor communication skills?
- “Authorize a background check.” About what? On what authority? What does this have to do with the job?
- “Reference check.” About what? On what authority? What does this have to do with the job?
- “Give a behavioral and integrity test.” Is this part of the job? Behavioral and integrity tests are against the law in many states. What does this kind of test look like?
- “Conduct a drug test and health records check.” Too bad this person has probably never read the provisions of the ADA.
- “Do a group interview and observe applicant behavior.” What questions should be asked? What should they observe? Is there a uniform scoring guide? What is job related and what is not?
- “Give applicants problem solving tests.” Why? What kind of problems? Tests? Cases? Ability? Will there be adverse impact?
- “Evaluate applicant leadership.” Why? Is every employee supposed to be a leader? Who will follow? Is it a job requirement?
- “Conduct a peer behavioral interview.” About what? What competencies should be investigated?
- “Interview the spouse.” About what? Is he/she going to be hired?
Article Continues Below
The “expert” who wrote this spate of hiring “wisdom” has no professional credentials or training in this field. His published qualifications include being a certified public speaker, a membership in a management consulting organization, and an honorary certificate in another. We have to stamp out this kind of hiring nonsense. Do not listen to it. Do not follow it. Do not publish it. We have enough problems gaining credibility. Let’s not make it any worse!