A New Approach to Hiring: Let the Candidate Decide

Sept. 21, 2015
Tell him that if he builds trust with his management and fellow employees and embraces the company culture, the company is willing to make an investment in him and his career.

Everyone has hired that “perfect person,” only to find out within two weeks that the person was not all that perfect. According to the Harvard Business Review, as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. And the cost of a bad hiring decision:  the Department of Labor estimates that it can cost up to 30% of a bad hire’s compensation. This takes into account the time required for the interviewing, any reimbursement to the candidate for his expenses associated with interviewing, Cobra, unemployment and the cost of going through the process again.

In a 2012 study conducted by the National Business Research Institute, 66% of employers said there were many negative impacts on their businesses due to a bad hire. The negative impacts listed included a lowering of employee morale, negative impact on customer relationships and even a decrease in sales. And 43% of the respondents from the same study said the primary reason for the bad hire was caused by the need to fill the position quickly. (This one sounds specifically relevant to our industry.)

Tell him that if he builds trust with his management and fellow employees and embraces the company culture, the company is willing to make an investment in him and his career. — Vicki LaPlant

The Fix: More People, More Interviews, Make it the Candidate’s Decision
Focus on character, not what applicant must know or do. Don’t be afraid to use words like honest, integrity and honorable in the descriptions advertising the job.

Many bad hiring decisions are the result of “cultural misfit.” In other words, the candidate might be a good candidate, but she just doesn’t fit with your company’s culture or character. Have the candidate interview with several people in your company specifically to evaluate culture fit.

First, have the office personnel interview the candidate whether for a field position or an office position. (Office personnel are evaluating the “creep” factor, or in other words, “I wouldn’t let that person in my home under any circumstances.”) Next, have the field supervisor or you evaluate background, attitude and cultural fit. And, of course, this means that you must have a description of the company’s culture by which to evaluate the candidate.

Next, use outside resources such as aptitude tests, background checks, personality assessments and drug tests.

Now that several interviews have been conducted successfully and outside resources have been used, bring the candidate in for the final discussion. This is where the process is put in the candidate’s hands.

In this discussion, you let the candidate know that he has a decision to make. Say something like, “We believe that you are a good fit for our company, but now you must make the final decision. You have to decide if you are a good fit for our company. And we want you to carefully evaluate this. In fact, I don’t want your answer today. Tomorrow will be great. This hiring decision quite frankly is yours to make – not ours. But we want you to make your decision having all the facts.”

Tell him that if he builds trust with his management and fellow employees and embraces the company culture, the company is willing to make an investment in him and his career. Show him career path opportunities in the company and talk about how current employees have moved through the company. Also, let him know, however, that if he violates that trust he will no longer be employed by your company. Give her the description of the company culture and the mission statement.

Give him or her a list of requirements for being a successful employee for your company. This might include:

• Be on time.
• Have a positive attitude.
• Good communication with the customer.
• Explain work needing to be done, making recommendations, providing invoice to customer, and collecting payment.
• Good communication with other employees. Define interaction with office personnel and coworkers.
• Legible paperwork turned in on time.
• A clean, neat appearance — clean shaven or neatly trimmed facial hair, no visible tattoos, no odors (including smoke).
• A clean, neat uniform — with description of both winter and summer proper uniform, including hat.
• A clean, neat service vehicle.
• Be able to use smart tablet and/or phone for purposes of the job only.
• Willingness to work extended hours in the summer.
• Willingness to actively participate in training.

Then explain to the candidate that these are the requirements for the position that she would like with your company and that you would like for her to be a part of your company, but only by understanding and contemplating the requirements of her job can she make an informed decision about how well she will fit with your company.

Perhaps as a business owner, you put too much pressure on yourself to pick the right candidate. Certainly, there are required qualifications, personality traits, clean background checks and drug tests that you must have. But in a world where we seem to put less and less responsibility on individuals maybe we should turn the hiring process around.   

Vicki LaPlant has worked with HVAC contractors for the past 30 years as a trainer/consultant. She helps people work better together for greater success. Vicki is a longtime editorial advisory board member and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected], or by phone at 903/786-6262.

About the Author

Vicki LaPlant | Consultant

Vicki LaPlant was a trainer and consultant to HVAC contractors for more than three decades, and was also a marketing professional for Lennox Industries. Now retired after a stellar career, Vicki would help people work better together for greater success. Vicki was a longtime Contracting editorial advisory board member. She is a wonderful person.