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What's Your One Hiring Rule?

What's Your One Hiring Rule?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was recently quoted as saying "I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person. I think this rule has served me pretty well ... Facebook is not a company for everyone in the world." This is apparently Zuckerberg's one absolute for hiring. Regardless of whether you agree with Zuckerberg, consider your one hiring rule, or even your top three, and how they have impacted the success of your business. Have these rules been constant or have they evolved over time? Most importantly, how effective have they been in shaping a unique company culture that attracts and retains top talent?


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Hiring rules are developed to help companies ensure they recruit candidates who are well-suited for their organization. Aside from degrees and certifications that may be state or federally mandated for specific roles, these guidelines have more to do with what companies attribute to successful hiring, as opposed to hard and fast hiring rules. No matter what businesses consider to be their hiring musts, every organization can benefit from periodically assessing whether their hiring rules are truly yielding the employees they seek, or if they are creating unnecessary hoops for candidates and interviewers.

Google is a prime example of an organization that is revered as the ultimate dream company, yet saw the importance of re-evaluating its hiring process. Up until a few years ago, prospective Google employees frequently were required to undergo more than 10 interviews. The lengthy hiring process created a time-intensive ordeal for hiring managers, causing the company to frequently lose top talent to its competitors. Google overhauled its process and limited each candidate to five interviews, recognizing that the longer candidates are on hold, the more time they have to get another job offer or accept a counteroffer.

If a major technology force like Google saw the importance of revisiting how it hires, perhaps it is time for your organization to do the same. "Many companies have established long-standing hiring rules that they swear by, but the reality is hiring is not a static function, nor is it effective if the process deters potential "right-fit" candidates," says Nancy Halverson, vice president of global operations for MRINetwork. "Further, when employers have open jobs for long periods of time because they haven't been able to find the "right" employee, it's a clear indication that they may be out of touch with how to attract and retain high performers that will thrive in their organization's environment."

Halverson provides the following tips for re-evaluating hiring rules:

  • Review the number of hires over the last five years and assess how many of those individuals have become significant contributors in their respective domains, or to the company's overall success. What characteristics do they have in common?
     
  • Annually consider the organization's top hiring rules and whether they are still effective in recruiting quality talent that will fit seamlessly within the company culture.
     
  • Review hiring situations that didn't work out, but don't obsess on the reasons these individuals were unsuccessful in their roles. Instead focus on the positive skills or experience that they possessed and see how these attributes could be beneficial to the department or the company overall.

The rules of engagement are constantly changing when it comes to hiring, and potentially so are an employer's hiring tenets. Halverson notes, "As retention is becoming more critical than ever, the true testament of whether an organization's hiring rule(s) work is revealed in their ability to engage and hold onto top producing employees that are essential to the success of the company."

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