Back to Basics – How to Hire – The Very Best Employees!

By Becky Regan

I know you must think that this is very basic information for a HR professional. But wait a minute, isn’t hiring smart quite simply, the primary reason that any Human Resource department exists? It’s the foundation of all other HR functions. Daily, we are assigned the task of recruiting talented people for multiple jobs at all levels of the organization.

Does your recruiting system support the hiring needs of your company? Are you able to source, interview, and hire high quality candidates who become productive, conscientious employees? If not, why not? You might need to do your homework and analyze hiring, retention and turnover statistics to determine how to improve your current system. In this economic downturn, you’ve got the time to analyze and improve your recruiting system before recruiting ramps up again once we come out of this recession.

How many times have you hired someone only to find out that they didn’t meet your expectations during their few months on the job? How could you have done a better job in recruiting for this job? Use the following bullet points to review and enhance your current hiring process:

 Don’t Accept the “Warm Body” Theory of Hiring: Resist Pressure to Hire ASAP instead of Hiring Smart

  • Consistently Post Your Open Jobs Internally Before Going Outside to Recruit Candidates
  • Develop an Employee Referral Program (Highly Effective & Builds Morale too)
  • Conduct Supervisory & Managerial Training in Interview Skills
  • Standardize Your Hiring Process (Job Posting, Review Evaluation Forms, Offer Letters,
  • New Hire Packets, etc.)
  • Determine Applicant’s Cultural Fit Once Skill Assessment is Complete

In addition to tips on how you can enhance your hiring process, you need to evaluate HOW you recruit. Do you use behavioral interviewing? It’s a principle based upon the belief that a person’s past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Using the job description, develop “layers” of job-related questions that probe into the “what’s, why’s and how’s” of the applicant’s past experience, background and ability. Source video and textbook training materials on behavioral interviewing and train your managers and supervisors how to use this technique.

The key to using behavioral interviewing successfully is not to accept the applicant’s initial response at face value. Dig a little deeper to the next question. Find out what the outcome of the situation was, how they felt about it, what they’d do differently if they could go back and do it again…

Here’s one of my favorite interview questions to ask applicants: Tell me from three different perspectives (your boss, your peers, and your direct reports) what they would say about your effectiveness in your job… your strengths and areas in which you could improve. This question typically gives you TONS of useful information about the applicant, both in how they choose to answer and then what they reveal about themselves.

Remember to hire smart the first time. Recruiting talent remains as one of the most fundamentally important roles for an effective HR professional, manager or CEO!

Copyright 2008 Regan HR, Inc.

Becky Regan, M.A., CCP began her own consulting practice in 1995, Regan HR, Inc. to provide human resources consulting services to businesses in California. Her work as a consultant includes the full spectrum of HR technical expertise with an expertise in compensation studies. In addition to consulting with clients, in 2008 Becky expanded her practice to include online marketing of her custom HR products and established coaching programs for developing HR professionals. For more HR tips and to receive her FRE*E special report, visit