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5 Guidelines For Hiring

How the right person can benefit every facet of your business
Five Guidelines_MS

“When hiring key employees, there are only two qualities to look for: judgment and taste. Almost everything else can be bought by the yard.” So said John W. Gardner, the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson.

Gardner may have been onto something. Take, for example, a millennial who recently ran the gauntlet looking for a new full-time job and learned the process is not a simple one. After 17 interviews, 12 personality tests, and even a few basic math tests, this young woman discovered the most important aspects of the process were indeed the hardest to measure or define—personality and fit.

While skilled workers are indeed in high demand, it’s critical to find individuals who integrate seamlessly into a culture, align with company values, and demonstrate an agile work ethic. Hiring processes are as diverse as the produce industry itself, and dependent on size, need, and value.

All companies, however, must try to avoid two things: high turnover and a “bad hire.” Robert Half, the national recruiting and staffing agency, warns against the costs of the latter, which can include lost business from clients, actions and tasks that must be redone, and increased pressure on other employees to pick up the slack. High turnover rates can also contribute to a poor company reputation, making it difficult to recruit quality applicants in the future. To avoid these two pitfalls, hiring managers and recruiters have crafted several tried and true methods to help ensure a strong workforce and cohesive culture.

1 Getting the Right Start
With tightening labor markets, human resource departments have to be thorough, creative, and resourceful to make sure the right people end up in the right roles in the right companies.

Rex Lawrence, president of Joe Produce, a California company providing executive search, job marketing, and resume services, says, “Entering into an employer/employee relationship is not significantly different from entering a personal relationship. Cultural compatibility in the workplace demands chemistry.”

While some companies choose to use recruiting services, others use internal resources. Melissa Lewis, a human resources (HR) professional at Bear Transportation Services in Plano, TX, says the company uses internal recruiters and posts job listings online. Both look for qualified individuals to meet immediate needs, then a personality assessment helps tip the scale when two applicants have near-identical skill sets. “We focus on values, because we want somebody who has integrity, knows how to collaborate, and has the mindset to exceed expectations,” she says.

Lawrence says recruiting services offer the opportunity for a third party to look at a company’s needs. Both hard skills and soft skills matter. Those charged with hiring, he notes, “sometimes find it hard to be honest about themselves and what they need. We take a deep dive into management and communication styles, and take steps to understand structural hierarchies.”