Kelly Fullerton

Kelly Fullerton | Emergenetics International Account Manager

When hiring for an open position, here is the typical process:

  1. Hiring manager creates a job description based on their general knowledge of the needs for the position
  2. Post the job on an online search site or send the job description to HR or a recruiter
  3. Candidates are screened out through a quick glance at a resume and potentially, but not always, a call to references
  4. Candidates are brought in for a few rounds of interviews
  5. Make a decision.

…What was missing in this process?

Emergenetics has a hiring tool, Emergenetics Selection Program (ESP), and through our consulting with a variety of different companies and types of clients, we have seen some great lessons learned in the hiring space that are worth sharing– all of which can help to reduce employee turnover costs, improve morale, and increase productivity.

Here are 3 important lessons that we’ve learned:

1. Have conversations with multiple people involved with the position.

How many times have you hired someone and then your boss has changed the expectations around the role? Have these conversations before creating the job description and DEFINITELY before posting the job. When we consult with companies on creating a job analysis, we try to have a few different people involved (ideally the hiring manager, visionary manager, and an employee in good standing). Most of the time these folks are saying things like, “Well I thought the project coordinator would be in charge of scheduling with our vendors and managing timelines for all of our current projects”; whereas another co-worker says, “I expect this person to oversee all aspects of one project.”

By simply having this conversation ahead of posting the job, the existing team members are aligned around realistic expectations of what to expect from this new contributor. It also identifies potential role functions that might not have originally been included on the job description, which means the candidate has a better understanding of the position for which they are applying, enhancing clarity around performance expectations and ultimately reducing turnover costs.

Reduce employee turnover costs2. Explain the position in your own words to find out how you REALLY want someone to show up.

Our hiring tool has an aptitude section which measures a candidate’s cognitive intelligence and critical skills. We find that we get lots of 6’s and 7’s (out of 1-7) when we ask clients how an ideal candidate should score. Mind you, a 6 or a 7 with our tool is HIGHLY above average and pretty difficult to find. Does this sound familiar?

In application, there are times when a high aptitude score is critical to a job—think a brain surgeon or a very specialized job that requires lots of training and regular re-certifications. But if an ideal aptitude score is set too high, it will screen out truly capable candidates. On the flip side, if an aptitude is scored low and the assessment results show a candidate possesses skills in the 6 or 7 range, then that is also not a match. If a job does not call for someone with a high level of skill, then the candidate could become bored with the role and is most likely move on within 6 months. Therefore, it is important to really have a conversation around what specific skills a job calls for, and then to find a candidate that can match that exact level of skill for the best results.

3. Decide what do you want the CANDIDATE to want to do.

Employee engagement is a huge concern these days for most organizations. How do you find an employee who comes into the office genuinely excited to tackle work that day and not jumping on Facebook for the first hour? Imagine if you were hiring for a role that involved lots of organization, spreadsheets, and deadlines, and then you hired someone who actually lost energy around spreadsheets. Or on the flip side, if you had a role where you needed constant new ideas, brainstorming and out of the box thinking, but the person hired derives energy from those aforementioned spreadsheets?

Employees who are in roles where they feel like their skills are not being utilized or are asked to perform tasks that are a true energy drainer will naturally be less engaged. They may possess the ability to perform, but their motivations and natural preferences are a major consideration when thinking about the factors that go into employee engagement.

All three of these lessons learned will lead to a better understanding of what you are truly wanting to hire for… before even starting the hiring process. When our clients have used the ESP hiring tool and had conversations around all of these lessons learned, we get really positive feedback about their new hires. It sounds simple, but when you see a match between a candidates’ results and the desired results for a specific position, ultimately the new employee is a better match for the role, enjoys their work, and stays in the role longer, therefore decreasing turnover costs for that position. When everyone- the hiring manager, visionary manager, and employees- are all on the same page around expectations, there are less long-term costs for that employee and more overall successes.