President & Founder
Carrie Nebens is the president and founder of Equis Staffing and has 25 years business operations experience in the staffing industry. Through the leadership of Ms. Nebens, Equis has experienced unprecedented growth and was named one of the San Fernando Valley’s top placement agencies by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal four years in a row.
Prior to Equis, Ms. Nebens held leadership roles at several staffing companies; most notable was her role as executive vice president of North American Operations for On Assignment. In her 13-year tenure at On Assignment, she was a part of the senior management team that completed a successful IPO.
Room to Grow in 2011
The Do's and Dont's For Hiring in the Coming Year
When we review data that measured business growth in American companies from 2009 to 2010, we find that many companies experienced growth in 2010, although slower than any of us would like. Couple that with increasing public acknowledgement that economic recovery is underway, and the business world appears to be looking up.
Why, then, are companies still not hiring?
The answer might be that the growth many companies experienced in 2010 was really more a product of the extreme belt tightening of 2009, which set a very low base line. In 2010, companies were able to meet customer demand with existing staff and hard work to achieve growth in 2010. This will not be the case in 2011.
Surviving such challenging economic times has meant reprioritizing and taking a close look at the budget, resulting in consistently high unemployment rates. For companies to continue to thrive and grow in 2011, adding staff will most likely become a necessary ingredient for success.
The hesitation with hiring is, of course, the long-term impact it has on business. Everyone has experienced exceptional hires that add value to your company, and less successful hires that drain money and time, retarding a company’s success. However, fear of a “bad hire” should not eliminate the opportunity for a “great hire.” Business owners need to strategically evaluate the addition of their most valuable resource, staff, which is why a thoughtful hiring process can be critical. And the key to managing this is to establish a process for effective and efficient hiring.
The following are four key steps, which if followed, will ensure a much greater chance for a successful hire:
1. Evaluate your pool of candidates based on technical skills
This is the more factual, obvious facet of hiring. Determine criteria for “must-have” skills and desired skills. Examine the candidate’s resume and assess their skills, while maintaining an organized format for clear and immediate review. This is a quick and important way to weed out candidates that don’t have the experience or expertise for success in your position.
2. Establish an interview process
With a larger selection of candidates, it may be best to do preliminary phone interviews before bringing someone in for an in-person interview to narrow down the candidate pool.
The next step is the in-person interview, of which you will most likely have more than one. These can be either one-on-one or a group interview format. I prefer the latter option because it allows for a variety of opinions regarding a candidate while avoiding having the interviewee answer the same question multiple times.
3. Personality profiling/testing
Personal attributes can be more critical to a successful hire than technical skills. Determine your “must-have attributes and desired attributes, such as integrity, positive attitude, organizational skills, good judgment, attention to detail, motivational level, etc. It’s essential to find that person who not only fits into and responds well to your company culture, but will flourish in it.
Personality profiling is one way to get a clearer glimpse of a candidate’s character. Everyone is on their best behavior during an interview, working hard to figure out the temperament of their surroundings and mimicking them. Profiling tends to have 70-80% accuracy and evaluates all candidates against the same metrics. The end result is that you have more information regarding which candidates will best fit your company’s environment. No profiling method is perfect, so you may see both false positives and false negatives.
4. Check for references
While it is harder to check for references in today’s environment, in truth, if people are managing their career well, they will have professional colleagues who will speak on their behalf. Not being able to produce a single reference should be a red flag. Typically, people provide references they know will speak highly of them. A way to get a more candid and honest assessment of the candidate is to ask that reference if they have any other names they can provide to speak on the candidate’s behalf. These “secondary” references sometimes provide the most valuable insight regarding a candidate.
Implementing each of these steps and adjusting them to suit both your company and the position(s) available is integral to successful and efficient hiring. For companies that haven’t hired in a while, this can seem like a daunting process—but the answer is not to avoid it. There are organizations and staffing firms available that work with you to help you find the right person for the job quickly and accurately. This may be a good step for many companies to take as they move toward more aggressive growth in 2011.