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As a kid, I was a huge fan of the original Star Trek series with the foam rocks, vulcan death grips, and the crazy fight scene music. As an adult, I see a phenomenon in hiring that reminds me of the old Star Trek series, the red-shirt. From Wikipedia – A “redshirt” is a stock character who dies soon after being introduced. In every episode, at least one redshirt died, followed by a quote of “He’s dead, Jim” from Dr. McCoy. Most businesses have at least one “red-shirt” position that seems to turn over every business episode. As an adult, I think of the poor Starfleet HR person who staffed the redshirt positions, and had to explain the ongoing job openings. (At least redshirts didn’t vest benefits…….)
Do you have a redshirt problem?
Every business has at least one position where the face changes, but the story stays the same. Why? Somewhere, you’re not defining the right role or person, and the position just keeps turning over. On Star Trek, Captain Kirk desperately needed to hire redshirts who could duck, run, and dodge to keep turnover on the Enterprise down. Your hiring requirements are hopefully less dangerous, but you and Captain Kirk can follow the same solution.
Hiring is a process.
A process is defined tasks and data that are repeated to get an outcome. For an efficient hiring process, we need to include these six items, and don’t panic, I’ll be covering each of these topics in a specific post. The key is that you want to be professional and prompt in dealing with people; they are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them!
- Applicant tracking system – Something to capture names, addresses, resumes, and keep track of what stage of the process they are at.
- Form mail – You need a tool to send emails to applicants as firstname.lastname@example.org they move through the process. Confirm you have resumes, what to expect next, and a polite email saying they weren’t a fit. It’s worth the time to set up, and have ready.
- Screening – You need to screen people to find your shortlist. We’ll address this with the idea of interviews and testing, but you need to have a plan on getting to 3-4 ideal people you might interview in-person.
- Scorecards – You need an objective scorecard for interviews, testing, and making job offers.
- Roles – Define who on your team has what role in the process, and that they handle their responsibilities in hiring. Who sends what, when, to who is important!
- Job description – This is the focus of the whole hiring exercise. A job description is key for reviews, setting expectations, and knowing that you are realistic about salary requirements.
Here is a sample hiring process for a position that has a skillset we can test for. Let’s break down what each section is trying to achieve, and the outcome.
- Advertise – We need to advertise the position where potential applicants will find it. We want to come out of this with a large pool of people to start with so looking at indeed.com Linkedin.com Craigslist dice.com facebook.com These are all great places to start.
- Qualify – We want to qualify the people to a base level. This stage should eliminate anyone who is unqualified, ineligible, or has some glaring flaw that keeps them from being hired. I use Zoho Recruit to catch resumes, and sort all of the duds out right away.
- Web Interview – I’m a huge fan of this step. I send a web interview form to have someone fill out, and assess their skills, writing ability, and general views on the position. As a close, I list the job description and pay range, and ask them to agree that the pay and position are acceptable. I want to get anyone looking for a $100K office manager position out right away! Score them all, and get to your top 3. I like Wufoo.com to build easy forms I can put into a form mail.
- Interview – We’re going to interview the top 3 people. Score them on an objective standard, rate them, and call back #1 for an assessment test.
- Placement – Offer the job, and bring them in. Start everyone on 90 day probation, and notify everyone the position is filled. If the person gives you trouble in the first 90 days, cut your losses ASAP, and contact #2 on the list.
Simple, right? I’m going to work through the details of all the stages of this process, but the key here is to outline your process, and switch from subjective to objective hiring decisions. Next week, we’re going to break down the ideal job description, and how that helps drive great hires and reviews in your business.