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Dear Workforce How Do We Hire to Retain Workers and Reduce Turnover

Kudos for striving to be highly selective. This makes an invaluable statement to your current employees and other stakeholders.

September 7, 2011
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Dear Picky:

We applaud the fact that you are a highly selective employer. This makes an invaluable statement to your current employees and other stakeholders. And it will give you an opportunity to build bench strength so you never face the dreaded problem of having a job go unfilled for a long time.

Begin with one of the telephone-based screening systems where applicants call a toll-free line and answer questions by pushing the keypad buttons. Candidates who pass that screening can be invited in for an initial interview. Before they see an interviewer, ask them to write a short essay on why they should be selected to work for you. No one ought to be permitted to write the essay off-site. It must be written at corporate offices.

Now schedule the employee for an initial interview with an employment counselor. This interview should be used to explain the business’ high level of selectivity and ask applicants to expand on what they wrote in their essays.

Look for people with a good attitude as well as good communication skills in terms of the way they speak about the essay’s topic. Measure the quality of the essay itself. If the interviewer feels the candidate is viable, the applicant should be asked to sign forms permitting background checks, reference checks, psychological and skills assessment, behavioral and integrity testing, drug testing and a health records check.

Tests should be administered in order of the cost of each assessment. That way, if something of concern shows up early in the lower-priced processes, progress can be halted before too great a cost is incurred.

Conduct the second interview as a group interview. Observers should monitor the behavior of the applicants, including watching how they behave toward one another. Each group of applicants should be given a problem to solve. Observers should note leadership, opting out and other behaviors.

The third interview with an employment counselor, directly after the group experience, should explore knowledge and experience prior to the candidate meeting departmental supervisors. These management representatives should use behavioral interviewing skills, asking questions that give candidates opportunities to explain their actions--or not. The third interview, which could be held on the same day, enables trained peer employees to interview applicants individually without management being present. These potential co-workers should ask technical questions to test the applicant’s knowledge of the work.

Meetings with senior management could come next, along with spouses meeting spouses of employees in similar jobs. Employment counselors and managers should take advantage of the informal setting to uncover how the spouse feels about the candidate working for the company. A little conversation will reveal what expectations the spouse has of the employer and the candidate. If those expectations are not consistent with company performance, you may not have a good fit.

While there are more things that can be done, this process will send a very strong message that applicants have to be good to work for your company. The next step is a broad and deep on-boarding process to get the new employee fully engaged in the company’s community and work.

SOURCE: Roger E. Herman, Herman Group, Greensboro, N.C., author "Keeping Good People," March 1, 2005.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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