Turnover is inevitable. New talent flows in, and old talent flows out. That’s part of the healthy life cycle of any organization.
But for some companies, turnover stops being a healthy process and becomes a serious issue. If employees stay with the company for a while and move on when it’s time to take the next steps in their careers, that’s one thing. If your organization is struggling to reach its goals because crucial positions keep turning up vacant, you have a major problem on your hands.
Plenty of causes can contribute to a high turnover rate. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the causes that have to do with your hiring process. If your company is suffering from high turnover on account of a broken hiring process, it’s likely that you’re dealing with at least one of these problems:
1. You Don’t Understand What You Need in a Candidate
If you want to hit the bullseye, you need a target to aim at. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to define the core competencies and personality traits the right candidate will have. Other companies do define these competencies and traits, but they get greedy, setting requirements so high no candidate could realistically fulfill them.
It’s good to want the best candidates, but it’s even better to set realistic expectations a candidate could actually live up to. Overly ambitious candidate requirements do more harm than good.
Whenever you begin a new hiring process, draw your bullseye. Take some time to define what skills, values, and personality traits a candidate would need to get the job. That way, you’ll be able to recognize the right candidate when you’ve found them.
2. Your Decision-Makers Just Hire the Candidates They Like the Most
Once you’ve set the requirements for your candidate, you need to stick to those requirements. This is easier said than done. Your interviewers are only human, and the natural thing for them to do when making a hiring decision is to pick the candidate who was the most charming.
This makes sense, but it’s not their job. Their job is to find the candidate who is most capable of fulfilling the requirements of the position. This is why it’s a good idea to make the interviewing process as objective as possible. For example, you could have all of your interviewers rate how well each candidate fulfills each of the requirements. This gives you a more objective way to evaluate your candidates than simply judging them by first impressions.
3. Your Interviewers Aren’t Asking the Right Questions
If you’re going to make the hiring process as objective as possible, you’re going to need to ensure the questions your interviewers ask give candidates a chance to demonstrate how well they meet the role’s requirements.
Behavioral-based questions are good for this purpose. These questions ask candidates to describe actions they’ve taken in the past, the idea being that the best way to predict future behavior is by looking at past behavior. If you’re interviewing for an accounting position, for example, you could ask something like, “Tell us about a time you solved a problem in accounting.”
4. You Haven’t Made Timely Hiring a Priority
It’s easy for decision-makers to stretch out the hiring process by asking for more interviews. They often do this when they are more concerned about avoiding the wrong decision than they are about making the right decision. Hiring authorities worry about what might happen to them if they make a hire that goes extraordinarily badly, so they just stall as long as they can.
The problem with this is that the longer you wait to make a hire, the greater the odds that the best candidates in your pipeline will have already found new opportunities. When your decision-makers stretch out the hiring process, they’re virtually ensuring your organization won’t get a top-quality hire.
One of the best ways to fight this tendency toward decision paralysis is by setting the expectation that a hiring decision be made by the third or fourth round of interviews. At that point, the team should have learned enough about the candidates to make sound judgments about potential fits, and they still have a good chance of getting the best candidates before they move on to competing opportunities.
If you’re struggling with high turnover, the hiring process is one of the first places to look to find the cause. A faulty hiring process often leads to hires who are poor fits for your position, and these bad fits will be unlikely to stay for the long term.
If, after trying the above tips, you’re still experiencing high turnover, you may want to bring in a third-party recruiter. The right recruiter can help with your hiring problems in the short run and advise you on how to set up a working hiring process for the future.