Did the hilarious photo at the top of this post catch your eye? As much as we laugh at this baking “fail,” it’s actually a metaphor for a serious business problem: finding and hiring solid employees, especially during a very tight labor market.
Imagine, if you will, that the cat-shaped cake on the left is your ideal employee. You’ve hired plenty of impressive folks in the past, and they never let you down. They go above and beyond to provide service to your customers. They’re aligned around business goals and know how to help achieve them. They’re proud to represent your business—and you’re proud to have them on your team.
Unfortunately, during the current “Great Resignation,” many of today’s prospective hires resemble the cake on the right. Candidates are few and far between, and the ones who do answer your job posting are underqualified and unimpressive. That makes it tough to grow your team or replace employees who have moved on. You’re nervous about hiring a less-than-ideal employee, but at this point, you’re willing to hire anyone who can fog a mirror.
We get it—but here’s the problem. Skipping or scaling back the interview process, and then hiring based on qualifications like “has a pulse” or “passed the drug test,” puts your whole business at risk.
(Click here for four tips on finding your next employee.)
Interviews are essential—even if only one candidate applies
That’s because a job interview is an extension, and a reflection, of your business. The way you conduct an interview process doesn’t just set the tone for the conversation with a prospective hire. It’s a powerful opportunity to signal your expectations of employees in general.
For example, when you show up on time with a list of behavioral-based questions inspired by the candidate’s resume, you’re revealing core values like punctuality, preparation, and initiative. When you smile, make eye contact, and listen carefully during an interview, you’re communicating—without ever saying a word—how your company approaches great customer service. And when you ask questions about solving actual challenges a candidate experienced in the past, you’re letting them know you care about real behavior and thinking, not idealized hypotheticals.
In other words, the interview lets you communicate (both directly and indirectly) about your expectations and values—important information that affects how employees think and behave, starting on day one.
(Watch the webinar: 5 Keys to Master the Interview Process and Hire Right Every Time)
Keep standards high—and then make the best hiring decisions you can
You might be rolling your eyes at the idea of conducting a full-scale interview when your only applicant is a recent high school grad with no work experience. Remember, you can make a job offer based on whatever criteria you feel is appropriate. If you make an offer to someone because they’re a warm body with a pulse, it may be what you need to do.
But you can still choose to take the time, and make the effort, to conduct a thorough, thoughtful interview before you hire, you help a new employee meet, and even exceed, your expectations from the get-go. Tight labor market or not, that strategy is really good for your business. And to wrap up this post with our cat-cake metaphor, we believe conducting an in-depth interview for every potential hire is a recipe for success.
Need guidance about making great hires or keeping your current employees motivated and engaged? Send us an email, and we’ll assess what’s good, and what could be better, in your business.