When Hiring Has Slowed, It’s More Important to Use Best Practices

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When you’re suffering through the agony of downsizing, the last thing you might be thinking of is hiring methods. But please, think again. You will be hiring a few people before a major hiring push when the economy rebounds. They might be replacements for normal turnover, replacements for high performers competitors pirated or hires to fill new jobs because of your new organizational reality.

Topgrading has supported our clients through five economic recessions since 1980. Through each one, clients have told us that rigorous hiring is even more important in bad times than in good times. Why? The company is more vulnerable, less resistant to mistakes, and more in need of high performers who, by definition, are more resourceful, driven to succeed, resilient, and creative. High performers will help you survive and eventually rebound, but if your next hires are only average performers your rebound will be slower. Now is the time to re-establish and reinforce hiring disciplines that will assure almost all high performers hired and minimize the risk of even a few costly bad hires.

Have Your Hiring Disciplines Slipped?

Companies that Topgrade are usually very disciplined in hiring, but in up markets some clients admit to becoming a little less rigorous, cutting corners by:

  • Hiring against vague job descriptions rather than clear job scorecards with measurable accountabilities
  • Conducting solo, truncated interviews, rather than conducting Tandem Topgrading Interviews, the interview method that launched Topgrading by taking General Electric under Jack Welch to 90% A Players hired
  • Conducting fewer reference calls (“the first call was positive, so…”)

When profits are up, hiring mistakes are easy to miss. But in down markets, layoffs are painful, profits are down, competition is fiercer, and some of your highest performers may be pirated away. Now is not the time to cut corners.

Reinvigorate Your Hiring Methods to Survive the Present and Thrive in the Future

  • Recommit to Topgrading methods. Let all hiring managers know that Topgrading disciplines must be adhered to. Maybe in the good times, your hiring success declined from 85% high performers to less. Recommit to 85%.
  • Measure Topgrading methods. Keep records of the estimated costs of a bad hire, whether Job Scorecards are done (and done well), if Tandem Topgrading Interviews are conducted (have hiring managers provide their completed Topgrading Interview Guides), and that all candidate-arranged reference calls are conducted.
  • Broadcast the results. Every time new hires achieve spectacular results, shower the new A Player with praise but also shower the tandem interviewers with praise for sticking with the hiring best practices.
  • Broadcast the savings. Let the whole team know what the cost of a bad hire would have been – a reminder to continue Topgrading conscientiously. For four decades clients have calculated the costs of bad hires – those who are NOT high performers – and a conservative cost estimate for a manager earning $75,000 is $150,000 to $300,000. That’s $300,000 of profit the company would have never seen because of one bad hire. Saving the company $300k by consciously using Topgrading methods is smart. Use the free Topgrading Cost of Mis-Hire Form to calculate the cost of a bad hire in your organization.

If you have any questions about hiring, coaching, or using Topgrading, please reach out by emailing info@topgrading.com or calling 847-244-5544.

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