Some new hires hit the ground running, and some flounder. An employee may struggle for any number of reasons, including unclear goals and objectives, lack of motivation or required skills, attitude issues, or poor management. But it’s also possible the employee should never have made it to the first day.
Too often, companies begin vetting candidates before fully understanding how the position fits within the bigger picture. Don’t wait to set your employees up for success after they’ve made it through the door. Instead, consider your end-goals for new hires and work backwards. Clarity on your long-term needs will help you choose the right candidate and put them in a position to succeed throughout their tenure.
Before the interview
Just as with your customer-facing teams, goal setting can enhance your talent acquisition process - boosting team performance and driving company culture along the way. When the right goals are set, companies see less turnover and fewer frustrations with bad hires. So set goals before taking resumes to get yourself on the right track to finding a great hire. Here’s a few advantages to early goal setting:
Understand the level of expertise required for the role: Wading through resumes can be a time-consuming headache. Deciding on the experience level needed for the job makes it easier to vet resumes and gets you one step closer to the right candidate. Determining which skills are innate to the role and which skills can be learned on the job can help you avoid limiting your candidate pool with overly restrictive requirements.
Inform your job description: Goals can enhance a job description and make sure it reaches and intrigues the right people. Potential applicants will have an easier time identifying if they are a good fit for the job if you are clear on your goals for the position. Don’t be afraid to get specific, but do be aware that the words you use can have a big impact on the applicant pool, and subtle word differences can attract or dissuade your target hires. Use this to your advantage, and you’ll likely appeal to a wider audience rather than miss out on talent.
Help design work-sample tests to objectively evaluate fit and skill: Once you’ve established some goals for the role, you can create work-sample tests to objectively assess how an applicant’s skills align with your needs. My some estimates, nearly 50% of job applicants embellish their resumes, making work-sample tests more useful than ever before. Tests can be part of the final decision-making stages or earlier in the hiring pipeline to minimize the amount of employee time spent in interviews.
During the interview process
Once you’ve selected candidates to interview, it might be tempting to rely on relaxed, natural conversations to predict how you’ll get along with the new hire. But studies show that unstructured interviews don’t really work. You can use goals to provide beneficial structure to each interview stage and keep you focused on the end-game: finding the right talent.
Your goals can serve as reference points to help you stay on track throughout the interview process.
What are you looking to learn about a candidate during the phone interview? What boxes do they need to check to advance to the in-person interview? Once they’ve reached the in-person interview, what do you need to see from a candidate for them to reach the final interview stage? When you know these answers in advance, you can use them to guide you through a more efficient interview process.
You’ll avoid overlapping questions and paint a more complete picture of each candidate
Free-flowing, conversational interviews can often result in gaps of missing information. Sticking with a prescribed set of questions to ask each candidate leads to a couple benefits. First, when more than one person is conducting interviews, they can prepare questions according to the goals they’re assigned to evaluate and avoid gathering repeat information. And, you’ll keep better track of the important information the candidate reveals, and have a specific group of answers to compare candidates with.
Interviewing with a specific goal in mind for the role ensures that questions are focused on a candidate’s potential to perform
It feels good when you find a candidate you have a natural chemistry with, but likability doesn’t guarantee future job performance. Structuring the interview process with questions directly related to the role will help eliminate bias that comes from a more laid-back approach and allow you to gain better insight to a candidate’s future performance.
Use long-term goals to drive onboarding
When you set goals for employee performance at the beginning of the hiring process, you’ll be better equipped to understand what benchmarks need to be hit along the way. Work your way back from these goals to develop smaller 30, 60, and 90-day onboarding goals that will ensure your new hire is up to speed and ready to contribute.
Planning goes a long way when you’re searching for the next great hire. Setting goals throughout the hiring process is an invaluable practice if you want to find an employee who fits with the company culture and team and excels in the role. By making goals foundational to your recruiting process, and you’ll increase everyone’s chances of success.