42 Things You Can Do to Improve the Quality of Your Employment Function

This is a list of employment practices a recruiter might consider as you attempt to move into 21st century HR:

  1. Do a survey of all hires and ask them why they accepted the job (and what were their concerns).
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  3. Do a survey of all rejected offers and find out what were the deciding factors in their decision.
  4. Consider your customers as a recruiting source. Who else respects our firm and might be inclined to want to work for us. You might also involve large corporate customers in the selection process so that you improve the likelihood that new hires will be able to meet your customers’ needs. It might also build customer loyalty, as they feel some “ownership” of those selected.
  5. Sign on to a HR Listserver to exchange ideas and ask questions (i.e. HR-NET, CORP-REC).
  6. Develop an E-Letter (a periodic e-mail newsletter) to keep potential candidates interested in your company.
  7. Begin tracking recruiters, recruitment tools, and sources used in the hiring process. See which produces high performers, long tenure employees, and bad hires.
  8. Identify key jobs and key managers. Stop treating all jobs as having equal importance.
  9. Begin focusing on the QUALITY of the hire and/ or any potential business gains from a hire.
  10. Prove that everything you do results in a higher quality hire. Stop assuming that old practices still work and that “good people trying hard” always produce a quality hire. Drop all employment practices that don’t make a significant difference.
  11. Consider “weekend” hires, consultant-to-hire, simulations, and temp-to-hire strategies to improve the accuracy of the selection process.
  12. Increase referral bonus levels and begin giving a larger bonus for high-performing hires.
  13. Develop “prequalifying” systems for internal candidates to increase the number of internal transfers as well as to increase retention rates.
  14. Realize that hiring must be owned and done by managers. The employment department consults and teaches but does not do hiring.
  15. Develop JIT hiring systems like “corporate resources” (hiring a superstar even when there is no current opening) to capture superstars who are likely to be on the market for only one week or less.
  16. Develop “Personal Courting” and relationship building programs with potential recruits so that hiring processes are not just one time “flash” occurrences.
  17. Realize one of the primary functions of recruitment and hiring is to build and reinforce the corporate image and culture as well as to increase corporate capabilities and productivity. Remember recruiting is marketing and all potential recruits are also potential customers.
  18. Start forecasting the future (unemployment rates, the pool of qualified candidates, business cycles, the changing needs of your customers, etc.) and stop just “reacting to reqs” when they hit your desk.
  19. Do internal customer satisfaction surveys to see what managers and applicants want “more of and less of.”
  20. Identify how your employment practices differ from your direct competitors’. You can’t beat the competitor if you all do the same things the same way.
  21. Drop forever the idea that recruitment and hiring must be face-to-face. Develop remote recruitment and hiring practices that are superior to face-to-face ones. Video tape interviews and use remote video to screen candidates.
  22. Begin the process of becoming an “Employer of Choice” in your industry. Gather information on what is needed and sell it to top management.
  23. Develop metrics (in conjunction with the CFO) to identify and prove the Business Impacts of a great hire and the costs of a bad hire. Make hiring great employees THE corporate competitive advantage over your competition.
  24. Develop forecasting tools which “forecast corporate FAT” (excess employees) before an RIF is necessary and identify future retention issues so that you will have to do less recruiting.
  25. Develop a rotation program where employment specialists spend time each year working in the field and “learning the business.”
  26. Get line managers to “sponsor” and “own” changes and revisions in employment systems.
  27. Consider creating “feeder channels” for future university hires. For example sponsor “Learn to be a ___________ training classes, student clubs, internships, “Professor summer internships,” and short term professor / manager swap programs.
  28. Develop and sponsor internet business chat rooms and listservers to develop relationships with potential applicants.
  29. Capture reference names given by high performers and consider them as potential hires.
  30. After 6 months, track down high-performers that were “voluntary terminations” and give them post-exit interview questionnaires. Ask them why they left and what it would take to get them back. If feasible, attempt to get them to return.
  31. Track voluntary terminations to see how many go to our direct competitors. These “terms” potentially cost us more because they are giving our secrets to our competitors and they may also indicate our competitors have more to offer “new” hires than we do.
  32. Track offer “turndowns” and contact them again at periodic intervals.
  33. Drop or weaken employment “rules” and approvals to decrease your time to hire. Identify things that slow down the hiring process and that you can’t prove make a difference (no, you don’t need a job description in order to hire someone, etc.).
  34. Calculate the average performance rating, bonus pay, awards, promotions, and productivity of those hired this year and compare it to last year’s hires. Smile if you see an improvement!
  35. Have the CEO call the candidate and ask them to join our team.
  36. Use speed-of-hire as a competitive advantage to get the very best candidates.
  37. Look for non-active job seekers (employed people) as your primary source of talent.
  38. Use Future-views and other tools to gather information beyond what you are currently getting.
  39. Survey promising rejects after a year to see if they still have an interest.
  40. Give referral bonuses to non-employees (suppliers, customers).
  41. Have employees that get referral bonuses assist in the orientation of the new hire.
  42. Give the applicant a “pre-assignment” to evaluate our product, visit the store, etc. and bring their solution to the interview.
  43. Increase the speed of your selection process in order to improve the quality of the candidates.

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on www.ere.net. He lives in Pacifica, California.