Even though there isn't a foolproof way to hire the right person every time, there are useful tips that can help you reduce the number of times you miss the mark. So, how do you find and then hire the best recruits, and what can you do to improve your hiring success rate?

What makes the best hires?

Any business that wants to succeed needs to know what makes a staff member stand out at work. Studies have shown that only a small group of employees make a big difference in how much work gets done overall. One study found that the top 1% of workers are responsible for 10% of all output, while the top 5% are responsible for 26% of all output. Which begs the question: what makes these high-performing people different?

High-performing workers have five main traits: drive, self-direction, smart thinking, problem-solving, and taking the lead. Different types of people work well with different teams because they have different skills and knowledge. But if you really look at the people who make you smile and feel inspired while working with them, you'll see that they share some of these traits and trends. Keep these factors in mind as you sift through your potential applicants. They'll help you spot possible top workers more easily by acting as a guide.

Put them to the test with a real task

You have several chances to talk to individuals during the hiring process. However, it’s possible that while their resumes look great and the phone interview goes well, you are not sure if this will translate in the workplace. Tests are where the real magic happens. Come up with a reasonably quick test task where the candidate has to apply their mind and skills to a current problem you are facing in the business, and then ask them to return in a few days with some possible troubleshooting possibilities. Without core inside knowledge of your business, there are many factors they can't be expected to know, for example, at an operational level. But here you really want to be paying attention to their attitude, how they think, if they are organised and efficient,  if they have done their research on the company and whether or not they ask the right kinds of questions. This will give you a taste of what they will be like in your business and whether or not they are a good fit.

Trusting the referral

We often trust referrals as a reliable way to find possible options. It is important to remember, though, that while referrals can often lead to good candidates, they are not always accurate and can sometimes lead to bad advice. Referrals are only useful if the person giving them has worked directly with the candidate before and knows a lot about their field. If these things are missing, you could be going in the wrong direction. So, if someone suggests a candidate, bide your time and retain a healthy scepticism. People who already work for the company are more likely to suggest candidates who are a good fit for the job because they have similar character, skills, and values. 

Check on your bias

All of us like to think that we hire people without bias, but let's be honest: our unconscious beliefs can sometimes get in the way. It's not always a good thing to be drawn to people who are like us or share our interests. Make sure that you are thinking about candidates beyond what is familiar to you. Involve multiple people in your hiring process. This might be another manager or an HR consultant. Just make sure that more than one set of eyes is evaluating the CVs that land on your desk. 

Don’t keep top candidates waiting

When it comes to hiring, one important lesson to learn is how damaging delays can be. One of the top reasons candidates refuse positions is because the hiring process takes too long. It's important to understand how important it is to move quickly, especially for the best candidates. Make them feel important, and get that offer out to them quickly. Competitive pay is one way to get people to commit, but to seal the deal, you could also offer learning and growth opportunities to make the deal more appealing.

The bottom line

Aiming for a perfect track record when hiring is not realistic. However, using some of these methods and attitudes can greatly improve your chances of success. Leading to a strong and sustainable team, positioning your business for growth and long-term success.

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