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The Secret Sauce of Employee Engagement –  Your Recruiter

If you are looking at high turnover and low retention rates, at least part of the issue could be with the candidates you consider during your recruiting cycle.

It is simple math—the applicants you hire become the workforce that carries your company. Not-so-good hires can lead to friction, reassignments, and eventually, one or the other party decides to call it quits.

Let’s take a look at how candidate and companies set themselves up for retention failure:

Candidate to company—poor fit: After hire by Box Inc., it turns out Joe was not the best candidate for the position. While he had the paper skills and experience, Joe really liked to work on his own. During the interview process, teamwork was discussed, but Joe thought that meant he would work primarily on his own and add his workproduct to the team effort. The bottom line is that Joe had great skills, but was not interested in a collaborative job. In two months, Joe left Box, and they started the recruiting cycle again.

Only candidate available—let’s hire: Jeanette was one of two specifically qualified candidates for a position that had been open for months at Zender Labs. The position was highly technical and required an advanced degree. Desperate to get a project underway, Zender hired Jeanette without a careful interview process or even check for cultural fit. Jeanette was not accustomed to regular business hours, and missed several important deadlines. Zender tried to work with Jeanette for about six months before Jeanette left to take a less confining lab job.

Company to candidate—poor fit: Alex was looking for a stable position in Pharma where he could apply his MBA skills and start learning more aspects of the industry. When he interviewed with BigTime Pharmaceuticals, they assured him they could provide mentoring and career development opportunities. Alex signed on and became a high-performing analyst. In time, when Alex asked about opportunities to develop skills in other parts of the company, he was rebuffed because he was “valuable where he was.” Increasingly frustrated, Alex left the company in 3.5 years, feeling that he had been misled and taken advantage of.

In each of these scenarios, hiring decisions contributed to increased administrative involvement, higher turnover, and lower retention rates. None of the candidates hired for these three jobs were right for the positions they took. Engagement could not occur because it was not present at the outset.

The engaged recruiter—how you can increase your odds for the right hire

Your recruiter is ideally situated to broker a good outcome for you and the applicant you hire. You can improve retention and reduce churn without doing anything but using the right recruiter. Remember, recruiters work for you. They do the labor to send you candidates who will prove a long term, good fit. So instead of what to look for in a candidate, look for these qualities in your recruiter:

Willingness and time to get to know your company: Does the recruiter you typically use understand the position you are hiring for, the personalities involved, and the long- term expectations of the job and company? Or are they just sending you any candidate they can get to fit the description you provided?
Background fit: A good recruiter gets to know their candidates and understands the inherent quirks, qualities, and adaptive skills that may make them a good applicant for your company—or not. Use your recruiter to screen for the situation. For example, are you getting candidates who are collaborative players for a position that requires teamwork?
Dedication to the right fit: A good recruiter understands the career aims of their candidates, as well as the job needs of their client company. A recruiter who promotes an applicant whose career goals do not match those of an employer serves neither the company, nor the applicant.

If troubled by turnover or lack of high-quality candidates, check your recruiting process and think about starting over—with the right recruiter.

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