My husband Hubert and I have been married for almost 22 years. Our marriage has endured because we work at it. When we were dating, we took the time to make sure we shared the same values and long-term goals, which are important for navigating the challenges that inevitably arise. Even though it’s not easy with two kids and a busy life, we make the time to be together and to reconnect. We help each other out and lean on each other when necessary. Even though we sometimes argue, we always make up. That’s because our relationship is built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect, and so it’s important that we listen to one another.
In order to have a successful marriage, we must be intentional about our actions and our time together. The same is true at work. A good leader focuses not only on her work product, but also on being intentional with her co-workers. This starts with hiring. Just like Hubert and I dated before we jumped into a marriage, it is important for a company to take the time to find the right employee.
Hiring the wrong person can damage the morale in the workplace and cost a business approximately 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. Some costs, such as placement fees and benefits, are easy to quantify but there are additional costs that need to be considered such as lost time associated with interviewing, onboarding, and training. With the current unemployment rate at just under 4 percent, companies are feeling the pressure to quickly hire any available talent. This is not the best solution. Would you advise someone to marry the first person they date? Of course not. The same is true when growing your work family. The interview process should be similar to the dating process and include a trial run until you find the right person.
Do not rush to the altar. If possible, plan for future hires in advance. When the process is rushed, due diligence is not always performed, and a knee-jerk decision can lead to a costly mistake. Structure the interview process with actual scenarios that are similar to the prospective job. For example, when we hire new HR professionals, candidates are required to make a presentation to our Executive team. Take the time to get to know your candidate’s values, work ethic, and how they perform under pressure.
Get an outside perspective. When Hubert and I dated, it was important for my family and friends to get to know him and approve of him. The same philosophy needs to be considered when hiring. The most successful hiring techniques involve not only the direct supervisor, but also the Human Resources professionals and co-workers. Many firms conduct panel interviews, which provide a more diverse perspective of a candidate.
Ask around. Singles who are searching for a partner today are likely to turn to social media and ask friends for recommendations as a way to pre-screen prospects. The same is true in the hiring process. Use assessment tools, check references, and discover more about the work background of a candidate before hiring.
Trust your instincts. During the dating process, people are encouraged to trust their instincts. However, at work we focus on data to make decisions. I believe there is also value in listening to our inner voice. When it comes to hiring the right person for a position, we must be attuned to the red flags. If something doesn’t feel right, then we need understand the reason for that feeling.
I believe the old sayings about finding love are true: there are plenty of fish in the sea; don’t settle for less than you deserve; and you must kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince (or Princess) Charming. The same is true when searching for the perfect employee. In the end, the investment is worth it. It is important to find the perfect match.
HR Checklist for Small Businesses
As a small business, you have a lot on your plate. We're here to help with a one-page checklist of some of the most important HR-related tasks to take care of before the end second quarter of 2019.
Lee Yarborough and her father, Braxton Cutchin, founded the company in 1996. She has served on the Board of Directors of NAPEO and currently serves as the Chair for the NAPEO Carolinas Leadership Council. In 2015, she was named a Fellow of the eleventh class of the Liberty Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Lee also serves on the Executive Board of Public Education Partners and is the founder and director of Read Up Greenville, a young adult and middle grades book festival in downtown Greenville, SC.