Industry Spotlight: Human Resources — Avoid a bad match

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For employers, determining a job applicant's skills fit is a skill in itself — and one that, research suggests, isn't so easy to master.

Finding the right employee for the job doesn’t have to be filled with uncertainties. Your human resources team can help with the job description and your employees may be able to offer referrals. Recruiters can help identify job candidates with the appropriate skills as well.

(Originally published in the March 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - Human Resources feature)

For employers, determining a job applicant's skills fit is a skill in itself — and one that, research suggests, isn't so easy to master.

According to a survey by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a specialized financial recruitment service, nearly three in 10 chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said the top factor leading to a failed hire, aside from performance issues, is a poor skills match.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

“Companies can't afford hiring mistakes, which are costly and can erode staff morale,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition. “Finding the right match requires time and attention.”

Here are five tips for better hires:

1) Know what you want. Don't just recycle the job description you used the last time you filled a position; chances are the role has changed. Take a fresh look at your needs and the skills you'd like to add to your team. A detailed job description will help reduce the number of resumes you receive from unqualified applicants.

2) Look for the intangibles. A candidate's skill set is not limited to functional abilities. It also includes how well he or she works in a collaborative environment. Employers that don't take soft skills such as leadership and communication into account may set themselves up for a bad match.

3) Make a personal connection. Hiring is more than just identifying a strong resume or profile. It involves having conversations with applicants to establish a rapport. Interviews, for example, allow you to delve deeper into an applicant's qualifications while also assessing whether he or she is a fit for your corporate culture.

4) Tap all your resources. Although you may have the final say, hiring should never be a solo effort. Take advantage of the tools available to you at your organization; for example, human resources can help with the job description and your employees may be able to offer referrals. You may also opt to hire a recruiter who specializes in a given field to help identify job candidates with the appropriate skills.

5) Woo your top choices. In any economy, people in high-demand specialties commonly have multiple job offers. You will need to show them why they should choose your organization. Sell the benefits of working with your firm and offer a compensation package in line with — or ideally, above — market rates.

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For the survey, CFOs were asked: “Aside from poor performance, which one of the following factors is most likely to lead to a failed hire?”

Their responses:

Mismatched skill set - 29%

Unclear performance expectations - 23%

Personality conflicts - 22%

Failure to fit into corporate culture - 14%

Other - 8%

Don't know - 4%

*Read more "Human Resources" feature stories at: http://www.ns.dailybusinessbuzz.ca/Industry-Spotlight/Human-Resources-22691

Organizations: Nova Scotia Business Journal, Robert Half International

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