Finding Employee Keepers

Finding Employee Keepers

Q:  I run a small business that’s growing quickly. I’m expanding my staff but have been hiring people who look great on paper but when it comes to getting along with the team or fitting in with the company culture, they are a bust. There have been four people in the last three months who have quit or who I’ve had to let go. Can you recommend any techniques or tools that will help me find keepers?

Answer: You’re in good company, as most business owners and managers experience the same frustration. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, when hiring managers based their hiring decisions strictly based on  their own impressions of candidates, only half of the time do the new employees become “keepers.” That’s a 50%  failure rate. As you’ve experienced, this creates an endless “treadmill” of hire-terminate-hire-terminate, etc.

It is critically important when interviewing potential candidates to review their ‘hard skills’  ie proficiencies in specific areas, as well as their ‘soft skills’…communication skills, team building skills, etc. Paying attention to how someone meshes with your corporate culture is essential to hiring people that will thrive in your unique environment.

Being the daughter of a scientist, I am a firm believer in the theory of ‘Data Trumps Theory’. Therefore, I recommend you use scientifically validated pre-hire assessments to add perspective – and a degree of predictability – to your best efforts in finding talent.

One of the longest-standing and most proven is The Predictive Index®. Based in Boston, Predictive Index has been in existence for 61 years, and is used by over 10,000 companies worldwide. The local contact for them is

Instruments like these provide predictive data – but don’t tell you whom to hire. For that, I recommend you learn to use “Behavioral Interview” style questions. These ask the candidate to share PAST experiences, where they had a situation they handled, what actions they took, and what the durable results were. You can learn more at

Finally, when conducting character references, it is important to compile a list of pertinent questions that you can ask regarding  your potential candidates ability to work well with others, their collaborative abilities, etc. Asking the right questions, and utilizing some of the amazing tools available and incorporating Behavior Based Interview Questions should dramatically increase your successful hires.

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber
International Search Consultants

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