In business, it’s never a good idea to sugarcoat the truth. This is especially true during the hiring process.
Painting a rosy picture of a particular job, and glossing over the specific challenges a new employee will face, may result in a quick turnover. Then you’ll be right back where you started.
Here are three tidbits I’ve picked up during my 20+ years as a CEO about being transparent during the hiring process.
Share the good along with the challenges.
Be open with new recruits about the scope of the work they are about to take on. Does your company have a fast-paced environment? Share that fact. A person who thrives on a high-energy atmosphere will feel excited about the challenge. On the flip side, a person who is more comfortable with extended deadlines may end up deciding the job isn’t a good fit.
As for the challenges, why is this position open in the first place? Is it growth? Is it a struggling department? Before even having interviews, my suggestion to any manager is to identify the situation and hit it head-on in the interview process. Again, the right recruit will see the growth or the struggle as an opportunity.
In a booming economy, you’re at a greater risk of losing employees. Don’t add to the turnover statistics by failing to be transparent with new workers.
Allow recruits to shadow current employees.
It’s one thing to sit in an office and talk about how your company values excellence and efficiency. It’s another thing entirely to actually participate in the department before the hire takes place.
At AGI, we like to have prospective employees spend time with the team that they would be working with on a daily basis. We’ll even put them to work with training exercises within this environment.
The benefit is twofold. The recruit gets to experience what the job is really like as opposed to just talking about it in a hypothetical sense. This process also gives managers a better idea of how this new person operates and whether they’ll be a good fit.
We have found that this strategy has helped to narrow the field and cut down on turnover. Interviewees are either eager to get started, or they decide to walk away at this stage.
Don’t be desperate to fill a position.
As managers, we’ve all been there: A department is swamped with work. You may be tempted to fill an open position with just about anyone in an attempt to lighten the load.
Don’t give in to that temptation. Filling a position with someone who is not the right fit will end up costing you more than it’s worth.
Think about the process involved in training a new person. Other workers have to take the time to get the new recruit up to speed, which cuts into their own productivity. There is also a learning curve with any new person, whether they are the best candidate or the worst, and that reduces productivity as well.
The goal is to hire someone who is worth the time it takes to train them. But if you’re too hasty in filling the spot, your current employees may end up wasting their time training someone who lasts only a few weeks. Then the process begins all over again.
Financially speaking, cycling through multiple new recruits can be very expensive. Gallup estimates that replacing an employee can cost anywhere from half to twice the annual salary of the position. That’s why managers need to strive to get the right person in that role the first time.
If you’re struggling to fill a position, my suggestion to managers is to be open with your team. Let them know to expect some overtime and extra work until the position is filled. But also assure them that filling the role with a quality person who will be a great addition to the team is a top priority.
This article originally published on Forbes.com on March 13, 2020.