How Today’s Top Employers are Hiring the Best People

What Top Hiring Managers are Doing to Hire the Best PeopleHave you ever wondered how certain companies are consistently hiring the best people? How do they attract and keep the best and brightest employees?

Finding and hiring great people can be an agonizing experience for even the most seasoned hiring manager. Hiring managers and business owners consistently tell me their hiring process is far less than what they’d like it to be, and in the end, they never know if the candidate they hire will actually do what they say they can do.

The reality is that over 40% of new hires fail within 18 months.

And a whopping 60% of new hires feel they were misled during the interview process. These are sobering statistics, but they don’t have to be your reality. Here are some great tips that my clients have adopted to reduce their staggering bad hire costs:

Stick to the essential skills.

Regardless of whether you’re hiring for rank and file or senior management vacancies, first identify the key competencies that keep your team performing at its best. Define and track the essentials – the core skills that are necessary for success on your team.

The more senior the role the more these competencies need to be centered around leadership – coaching and mentoring through strategic planning, team building, goal setting and decision making, vs other more tactical or physically oriented.

Give performers a fighting chance.

If you’re looking for perfection to walk in the door, stop. Giving high potentials the time to develop and prove themselves builds a degree of loyalty and goodwill that nothing can replace. And without that, well, we all know how that story rolls out.

Clarify expectations up front.

Remember what we said earlier about new hires feeling they were misled during the interview process? Try walking candidates through an actual day or work week during your interview process, asking them about their recent experience with the hands-on behaviours and tasks that they’ll need to be doing in your organization.

Note: Sales Directors won’t do cold calls any more than a CFO will do routine bookkeeping or data entry. If you’ve got someone whose overqualified chomping at the bit to join your team, it’s time to dig a little deeper into their motive and goals.

Stop ticking boxes.

Instead of ticking off boxes, look at your candidates’ potential to do the work you need to get done. When asked about hiring the top people, the number one piece of advice I hear from today’s great managers is to evaluate your top candidates’ performance – what they have recently achieved (vs what they’re ‘qualified for) – regardless of whether or not it’s what you had in mind.

I promise you will uncover some very promising new hires.

Give your top performers the room to learn and grow.

Get to know your team members individually and assign them the work that they’re best at and will be most challenged by. For your brightest modify the job. Offer ‘special assignments’ or try them out in temporary leadership roles. You will keep them challenged and engaged.


Nothing builds loyalty like showing you care. Spend time understanding your team member’s needs, then support and develop them. In other words, demonstrate a genuine appreciation for each person’s differences and find ways to turn this into a synergistic working relationship.

Be consistent in performance management.

Provide regular feedback in a manner that is viewed by all as fair and demonstrates the values of your organization. Ask for a leadership evaluation from your team. This can be done easily and anonymously with tools like Survey Monkey, and goes a very long way to demonstrate accountability for yourself and confidence in your team.

Check out Amazon’s top three rules for hiring the best people.

Talk about building retention and loyalty!
Amazon works hard at hiring people that are better than themselves.

Every time they hire the bar gets raised a little higher. Doing this is easy if you include the last person you hired last in new hiring conversations and processes.

They build strong hiring funnels.
Nobody ever gets hiring perfect. Having a strong hiring funnel means you’re never without a Plan B when hiring goes wrong. Every position should have a short-list of five well-qualified people that you can keep building on for the next time you’re hiring. By the time someone makes it to an onsite interview with you, there should be a high probability that they’ll be a yes hire. Several levels of phone screening will achieve this.

They spend 50% of their onsite interview talking culture. Culture is everything when hiring the top people. Although it’s the hardest thing to quantify in your hiring messages, not finding the right cultural fit accounts for over 50% of the people who quit or are terminated annually.

Barbara Ashton and her team at Ashton & Associates provide executive search human resource consulting services to leading BC Interior Okanagan employers. For links to free hiring tools visit Phone: 800-432-6893

Thank you for visiting our blog post. Ashton & Associates Recruiting is always adding new and relevant advice to our stock of resources for both job seekers and those looking to hire.

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This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google.