In an economy like this one, you’re going to get a lot of job applicants — many who’ll use up your time figuring out if they make the cut. But there’s a proven method that can help you separate the champions from the chopped liver.
The lament you hear about recruiting and retention in economic times like this is: “Sure, I get lots of applicants, but that just makes it harder for me to pick out the good ones.”
Of course, the Web was supposed to make it easier to find the needle in the haystack, but a lot of HR managers say it just buries them under a bigger haystack. The good news: You can use at least two tested techniques that’ll help you find the right people – no matter how big the résumé haystack – and keep them after they sign on.
Lynn Nemser, of the HR consulting firm Partners in Performance and a frequent presenter for the Society for Human Resource Management, explains how one technique applies when you bring them in the door, and the other – a twist on the exit interview – gets valuable retention information when someone walks out the door.
Find out early
The coming-in technique involves what’s known as the Realistic Job Preview (RJP), and it actually starts before a candidate ever sets foot in your building.
The RJP is used to give candidates a preview of the position and the company, with the aim of determining a candidate’s fit. Traditionally, RJPs have been done as part of a first interview. Not anymore, Nemser says.
Using a simple Web page, companies offer an RJP before the interview process. Here’s a snapshot of how it works:
- The early RJP typically is a series of questions you can list on your company Web site for candidates who
show interest. The questions can be ones of your choosing that pertain to the job and your organization, and that can be answered with “agree,” “neutral” or “disagree.” Example: “I prefer to work by myself when possible.”
- After the candidates finish the RJP, they get an appraisal of their suitability. Those who register a low score usually get the message and don’t bother to actually apply.
- Results: You’ve erased some unsuitable résumés.
Wait a while
Finding out what keeps good people is the next step. Nemser suggests delayed exit interviews get the best data.
Tests show you’ll obtain the better results if you survey departing employees 30 to 90 days after they quit.
That leaves enough time to melt away the emotions of leaving while keeping the experience still fresh in the former employee’s mind.
One idea: Mail them a survey that can be responded to anonymously. That draws in more responses that are
more honest, too. Companies using this technique get a send-back rate of up to 65%.
Try to make the survey easy to fill out. For instance, you can just ask them to rate components such as “pay” or “benefits” (or any others you want) on a 1-to-5 scale. If you start seeing a lot of low scores in one component, you’ll know it’s an area you have to beef up if you want to cut turnover among high performers.