• BUS - Discovering the Best Talent

    By Dr. Ilene Ringler
    School of Business and Information Technology Full-Time Faculty
    Published February 2016

    The talent wars are here. Even in an economic downturn, hiring top talent should be a top priority for all business owners. One of the big problems that companies of all sizes and types are facing is the increasing shortage of talent. There are millions of "job seekers" who are just "looking for a job" or a "paycheck," but to ensure that your company gets the best talent, you need to have a good process in place to find strong candidates in this ever-competitive marketplace.

    This easy-to-use 3-step process can help increase your confidence in interviewing and hiring employees. Using a consistently applied process shows many benefits, including:

    • A greater degree of confidence when determining if a candidate is a good match for the position
    • Reduction in preparation time required for interviewing
    • Increased productivity for all involved in the recruitment process
    • More consistency across the organization in recruiting
    • Presents a positive picture to candidates on how well they will be managed when they come to work at your company

    The three steps are:

    Step 1: Determine what is important for a successful match

    Step 2: Implement a consistent process to determine "best fit"

    Step 3: Analyze the information to determine next steps

    Step 1: Determine what is important for a successful match 

    How do you know what is important? Create an "importance profile." A job description is your key tool here. If your company has formal job descriptions, this step will be a snap. If there are no job descriptions in your company then read on below to determine the core elements you can use to create one. There are also many websites which contain templates that you can use to get started. The job description will contain a wealth of information that you can use in to prepare for the interview with the job candidate.

    Jobs have two components, both of which must be included in the selection process: "The Whats" and "The Hows."

    • "The Whats" include the roles and responsibilities of the job. (e.g., creating written and oral reports to management).
    • "The Hows" represent how employees need to work both individually and with others to be successful in your company (e.g., must be able to work well in teams).

    Creating a clear and consistent list of skills and knowledge that will be needed for success on the job will help you evaluate candidates fairly and consistently. It is also a roadmap for you to follow when screening applications and interviewing, reducing the time spent in preparation.

    Step 2: Implement a consistent process to determine "best fit" 

    The job interview is the first live contact the potential employee will have with your company. Keep in mind that the best talent will be sought after by many companies-your ability to show the candidate that you will be the best choice is critical. There are a few key items for you to remember in this step.

    Create an atmosphere that will:

    • encourage clear and open communication about the candidate's ability to fulfill your job requirements;
    • show the candidate the positive aspects of your company as an employer of choice;
    • give the candidate a "taste" of your company's management skill;
    • gather information from candidates in an effective and legally defensible way;  and
    • allow you to ask good questions-in step 1 you created a profile of what was important to success on the job, asking questions directly related to this profile will bring you good information (special tip to remember-follow the 80/20 rule: they talk 80%, you talk 20%).

    Finally, you should take notes that will aid you in analyzing the information that you collected and support legally defensible decision making

    Step 3: Analyze the information to determine next steps 

    You have finished your interview and now need to determine what next steps are appropriate. Using the importance profile you created in step 1, analyze the responses you were able to obtain in the interview and ask these important questions;

    • Do I have enough information to complete my picture?
    • Which of these factors is a "show stopper?"
    • What are the next steps I should take to increase my confidence?

    Depending on your answer you will come to one of these three conclusions:

    • Yes! It's a go; I really want this individual to work for me! If this is the case, start the offer process quickly! Many other companies will court good candidates and you don't want to be left behind.
    • No, this is not a good match. Again, let the candidate know quickly! You want to be known in the marketplace as an employer of choice and quick and respectful response to all candidates can help you gain and maintain this reputation.
    • Well, maybe…I think I need to know more. Determine what is missing and quickly create an action plan to get to get the information you need.

    Remember top talent is in demand. If you can implement this 3-step process and use it consistently, you could help increase your chances of being the first place choice for employees who can increase your business success.


    Dr. Ilene Ringler is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.

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