Help wanted

Nearly half of the executives surveyed in a recent study by Development Dimensions International Inc. reported they are unhappy with their company’s hiring process.

But, the Pittsburgh-based consulting firm also discovered that nearly 62 percent of the 162 companies surveyed believe a thin labor pool is the main cause of their recruiting and retention woes.

Not surprisingly, the report also showed that companies which are better able to identify possible job candidates reported increased productivity and higher-quality work. For those still struggling with how best to combat the shortage of qualified workers, DDI offers 10 rules for building a better recruiting process:

No. 1. Compress the hiring gaps

Delays in the hiring process are unproductive, wasteful and virtually assure you’ll lose talented candidates. Map your hiring process to identify the gaps and shrink them.

No. 2. Know what you’re looking for

Roughly one out of every four organizations does not define what it’s looking for in a new hire before it begins its search. Unless you first define the competencies a new employee must have, it’s easy to make a poor hiring decision.

No. 3. Decide what sets your company apart

Develop a marketing-oriented statement that spells out why a candidate would want to work for you over another employer. Include information about culture, training opportunities and job flexibility.

No. 4. Use multiple recruiting sources

Use in-house recruiters, headhunters, advertising, temporary staffing agencies and, of course, the Web to help in the search for quality candidates. Consider bonuses and other incentives to encourage employees to refer qualified candidates.

No. 5. Remember the best predictor of behavior is behavior

Use interviews to gather specific examples of a candidate’s past performance related to the skills needed for the position you need to fill. Then use simulations of real-job situations to assess skills and knowledge.

No. 6. Always select for “can do” and “will do”

Screening for what candidates can do is common, but many fail to consider what candidates actually will do once on the job. Make sure a candidate’s idea of an ideal work environment meshes with the existing company culture.

No. 7. Blend technology into the recruiting process

Web-based technology can be used to screen candidates, interview online, assess skills and track applicants. Using some of these weapons will save time for recruiters and allow you to nab top candidates before your competitors can.

No. 8. Hire an all-around athlete

The job you hire someone for today may be different a few months down the road, so consider hiring someone who has a strong desire to learn and a wide range of experience rather than a person with one specialized skill.

No. 9. Give recruiters what they need

Recruiters should make a positive impression on candidates, as well as know how to sell the job and the organization. Train your hiring staff appropriately.

No. 10. Build and manage a candidate pool

Assemble a list of individuals who have shown interest in working for your company. As jobs become available, fill them from this candidate pool. How do you maintain an active pool? Some companies send newsletters to candidates or keep in touch through e-mail. How to reach: Development Dimensions International Inc., (412) 257-0600 or

Jim Vickers ([email protected]) is an associate editor at SBN.