Human Capital Management

Heres a Way to Reduce Those Hiring Mistakes

By Patrick Ropella, President, Ropella | August 11, 2011

Making sure that your company hires the right person is better accomplished when your hiring team is properly prepared and aligned for it. Failure to do so causes you to get the wrong people, reduces your company's effectiveness, and requires costly measures to pay for the hiring mistakes. A few steps can help your company to avoid these mistakes and get better quality hires from the start by preparing your hiring team in advance.

When potential new hires come before an interview team, the candidate expects to see a unified front that presents the company and the job requirements in a uniform way. When team members are disorganized and incongruent, it casts doubt on your company. And it’s even worse when staff members are late for the appointment, disorganized and rushed.

In contrast, when a company has a unified team and each seems to be supporting each other, in terms of the job description, the company’s image, benefits and practices, that tends to make the company and the position look more attractive. A unified front ensures that the right questions are asked and that the potential employee understands the duties and responsibilities of the position. This leads to better hiring decisions and a better work environment.

A SMART Search System

Your company can set the stage for the creation of a unified team by using a proven method called the SMART Search System. It enables your company to assemble the right information about the position, create a unified team, and it will give you a repeatable system that can be effectively used anytime you need to fill an open position.

The SMART Search System stands for the processes involved in setting up the powerful tools you need to Source, Market, Assess, Recruit, Retain and Train your highly qualified new hires.

Implementing this system starts by gathering all of the information relative to an open position—which is probably one of the most important aspects of the process. The highly customizable SMART Search System can be adjusted according to the needs of the different departments—giving you the ideal hiring tools. It will dramatically increase your company’s ability to determine whom you need, and how to put top candidates into your work force quickly. It will also enable you to get them without losing them to your competitors, or having to go through long hiring campaigns and/or drawn out negotiation processes.

Instead of your managers going into the hiring process in the dark, the SMART Search System gives them a highly developed and tested set of forms and tools wrapped around a 12-step hiring process.
The system’s value is clear, considering the costs of unfulfilled job positions or mis-hires. Studies indicate that it could be as high as 150% of the value of the employee’s compensation.

This is determined from the following factors:

Costs Due to an Open Position: Other employee’s overtime, managerial costs, using temps or consultants, loss of the investment in training.

The Costs of Recruitment: Advertising, HR recruiter time, recruiting fees, administrative costs, background tests, drug tests, reference checks, etc.

New Training Costs: Orientation, trainer time, training materials, departmental training.

Lost Costs in Productivity: Slower productivity during training period, cost of mistakes while training.

New Hire Costs: ID cards, passwords, telephone hookups, email accounts.

Compensation Packages: Relocation costs, possibly a higher salary, benefits, bonus.

Take the Right First Step

Most companies place an advertisement to fill their open position to gather resumes from as many applicants as possible. But the truth is, your company is not ready for that yet. A better approach is to prepare your team and get them on the same page.

A lot of confusion can be caused by something as simple as bringing a new person into the interview process who does not understand the job requirements. Further problems develop when the hiring manager does not fully understand what human resources is looking for in the new candidate or vice-versa. This can easily result in the collection of resumes with no one even beginning to match the qualifications for the position, which obviously delays filling the position and raises the costs.

Both of these situations necessitate a search preparation, an information gathering process to ensure that all team members understand the actual job duties. Getting the information from people who are actually doing the work and updating the job description page is just the start.

Taking the time to ensure that the right information is flowing between the people involved in the hiring process will enable a better match to be given faster. This will help to provide a shorter time period to the hiring process, lower costs, and longevity in new hires because they will fit the job requirements better.

Choose the Best Hiring Team

Another important part of the hiring process using the SMART Search System involves a careful selection of all the people who are going to be on the team. This way, no gaps are left to people (regardless of their position in the company) who may not quite be on the same page as to what is needed and why a particular candidate looks good to the company.

Making sure that each person on the team is properly informed—and qualified—is something that should not be left to chance. Candidates will have greater confidence about working with your company if there is a clear and obvious unity in the job description, a consistently strong company vision and positive attitude toward it, and a team spirit demonstrated when the groups are together with the individual.

Altogether, you should seek to bring in a minimum of six, possibly even up to 12 different people into the hiring process. Before dismissing this number too quickly as being too high, it is important to see how the SMART Search System can be used to ensure the right hire.

Each person selected to be on the team must meet some other qualifications. If they cannot or will not meet them, then they need to be dropped from it—no matter who they are. Training will be needed so that each interviewer will know how to ask the right questions, give the right answers, and ultimately determine the right candidate.

When selecting team members, each member must be committed to selecting the best candidate for the position. Next, they must be committed to providing written feedback from each interview given. This ensures that the information that is gained from one interviewer is successfully passed on to the team. A falling short in any of these areas will only create confusion, redundancy, misdirection and more problems for the team as a whole.

At the second stage of the interview process, the hiring manager's boss mustbecome involved. This is to help look into any red flags that have been raised in the process so far, and to provide direction in future interviews where further clarification on issues is needed. Other people may also be brought in who will be peers of the employee or manager.

In the final round of the interview process, you need to bring in some of your top executives such as a CEO, CFOor COO, as well as a top leader in your human resources department. It sends a clear message that your company considers every new hire to be important. If this person is to be a manager, it is also a good idea to bring into the interview process some of the highest people that the new hire will manage.

The number of people on the hiring team and in the process should not be shorted in any way. Why do you need that many people in the process? Firstly, understand that most of the candidates will be eliminated after the first interview, which means that most of your staff members will actually only see a few of the finalists. Secondly, it enables the candidate to meet and interact with a number of people they will work with which will help them determine whether or not it is a friendly, fast-paced, entrepreneurial place to work; in other words, the right cultural fit for them. This will convince the candidate whether or not they can be comfortable with the other employees and bosses, and may help to reinforce the idea of working there or somewhere else.

To prepare properly, hiring team members must be on the same page. While this step may seem simple, it is not as easy as some might think. Some people, for instance, will think that they already know everything they need to know about hiring. Others will think that they already understand what the position requires. Still others, particularly hiring managers, may question the validity or wisdom of a new way of doing things.



Patrick B. Ropella is president & CEO of Ropella, the leading executive search and consulting firm specializing in the chemical and consumer products industries. Ropella grows great companies through executive search, leadership transformation and organizational improvement. For more information, visit www.Ropella.comor call (850) 983-4777.


His new book, The Right Hire - How to Master theArt of SMART Talent Management, is available at

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