"If they can fog a mirror
we'll hire them."
"If their crimes weren't
too bad, we'll give them a job."
"We'll hire whatever applicants
we can get."
Sound familiar? When I hear
statements like that from people who call themselves professionals, I cringe.
The problem is that I have been cringing a lot lately. Low unemployment has
frustrated many employers and managers who are finding that the old ways of
doing things don't cut it anymore.
Sure it's easy to complain
and say that there aren't enough applicants to be overly particular. After all,
low unemployment is real and the excuse is a valid one. It's easy to rationalize
that it isn't the company's fault that economic growth has diminished applicant
pools in terms of both quantity and quality.
However, successful companies
and successful people don't accept excuses, and they won't let rationalizations
cover up their need to deal with formidable challenges. They won't tolerate
the lowering of hiring standards.
Companies that must add
employees to grow and prosper have two choices. They can either:
A. Lower hiring standards,
B. Raise hiring standards
and the effort necessary to achieve those standards.
At first glance, Option
A sounds like the easiest. But is it? Additional time and resources must be
allotted to deal with the increase in problems frequently associated with hiring
- Employee turnover
- Excessive overtime costs
(caused by absenteeism and tardiness)
- Fraudulent workers' compensation
- Employee theft
- Lost clients due to incompetence
- Negligent hiring lawsuits
- And more . . .
Option B sounds a bit unrealistic,
if not radical, given these challenging times. Or does it? Who says that employers
can't compete for applicants in the same way they compete for new clients? Who
says that employers can't work as hard to keep employees as they do to keep
Just like Option A, this
approach would obviously require additional work and investment. However, quality
always costs less in the long run. For a fraction of the headaches and costs
associated with hiring mistakes caused by Option A, companies could:
- Invest more in recruiting
(promote the company, available positions, and benefits).
- Invest more in selecting
the best candidates (use preemployment screening and skill, attitude, and
personality testing, etc.).
- Invest more in retaining
The clock is ticking. What
are you going to do?