The Hire Difference

By Barb Abelin

With over 5 million job openings in the US today, hiring the “right” person is challenging, costly, and constantly being debated in the news. Is passion more important than collaboration? Is diversity as important as skill-set? If everything is important, how do you find that “perfect” hire.

The selection process is key to satisfied customers and business success. There is no debating that when you hire right, everyone benefits. Candidates contribute faster, perform better and stay longer with the organization.

Data algorithms, cultural fit interviewing, and video games are now being utilized by some of the most sought after employers. Organizations spend up to 6 months finding candidates that not only have the skills, experience, and education, but also the personality and uniqueness they seek. So is all this work necessary if it really is an art rather than a science? And do you have 6 months to wait for a candidate when you are in need of those skills TODAY?

Whatever that magical combination of attributes you seek, a structured interview is recommended.

Ask the same questions of every candidate and assign tasks that simulate on-the-job work situations. All of these tools and techniques are valuable and will give you insight into the applicant but you will still need to rely to a certain degree on intuition, gut feel, and chemistry.

“Cultural Fit” interviewing has taken a couple of hits lately and have led companies astray in hiring. That is because many interviewers believe it means hiring people they’d like to hang out with. Hiring people with similar interests, that have the same sense of humor as you, or enjoy the same yoga class may be good for dating but not necessarily for a working relationship. Instead, interviewers should look for people they feel can work together with the existing team members and bring their own sense of uniqueness and creativity to the job while maintaining a commitment to the values and strategies of the organization.

An innovative way to ensure the right person is hired is to actually hire the person for a short-term project.

Hire the person to perform a project as a freelancer for a defined period. These types of arrangements are being used more frequently and for good cause. This enables the freelancer to do what they love and are best at, while the business benefits by achieving the results needed. This is a match made in business heaven!

A good outcome could lead to the hiring of the person as an employee, or in the alternative, continued projects for the individual (conveniently vetted by the freelance experience).

I can tell you from direct experience and spending over 20 years in the Human Resources field that this type of arrangement greatly increases the chance of success.

The face of business is changing and so are the ways we work. There is simply no way better to predict future success than by actual results. Hiring through contract-to-perm agreements just makes good business sense.

Barbara Abelin has a wealth of experience in the field of Human Resources management, with a strong focus in Organizational Development, Employee Relations and Management Training. Barbara was the former Vice President of HR for Cubic Corporation, a worldwide defense and transportation company with offices in 17 countries. Barbara has served on numerous non-profit boards including Home Start of San Diego and the San Diego Science Alliance, and currently is Co-Founder and executive board member of GirlTECH, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping girls enter the field of computer sciences and coding. She is currently the co-owner of Abelin Strategies, a consulting firm located in San Diego with her husband, Larry. She proudly serves as an Advisor to LiquidTalent.

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