I am often asked by partners or business unit managers how to improve retention rates, or to turn it around the other way, how to reduce turnover. It is easy to forget that functional turnover is not the end of the world – the voluntary resignation, or managing out, of underperforming staff is ultimately good for the business. It is, however, costly and one of the best ways to avoid functional turnover is to hire the right people to start with.

We think about this issue a lot here at empire careers because that is our ultimate aim – to find you the right person for the job. So here are my top tips for making sure you hire the right person.

Don’t be in a rush to fill the role

In saying that, of course there is always a need to act quickly when you need to fill a role and we will respond to that. But please don’t recruit someone just because they have a pulse and have a bit of experience that is relevant.

Know your minimum requirements

Sit down and objectively write down what you are looking for in terms of expertise and skills.  Develop a ‘score’ card so that you can score the candidates you interview against those criteria. You might like to weight some things higher than others as well – for example, you might be seeking someone with, or with potential to develop, specialist accreditation, or another qualification. This will help you compare apples with apples.

Beware of your own biases

We all have bias – both positive and negative, and you need to be aware of them in the interview process.  Do you unconsciously favour someone for example that went to your alma mater? Do you subconsciously worry that a young woman sporting an engagement or wedding ring will abandon you to have babies? Do you dismiss applicants with foreign sounding names without interviewing them? Bringing out your own unconscious biases and being aware of them is a good way to minimise them.

Don’t hire someone too qualified

In the excitement of finding a candidate who has the right experience you’re looking for, but at a more senior level, you forget that you may not be able to offer them the challenge they need with the work you have, particularly if you already have three other people at that level in the firm. They may leave because the job did not meet their expectations or there is no career path for them.

Values based recruitment

What are the firm values? Does the candidate exhibit those same values? Use your behaviour based interviewing techniques to find out their values to make sure they align with yours.

Consider Executive Search

Often the right person for your role is happy and well paid somewhere else and not actively looking for a new job. Consider looking via a targeted search rather than advertising and you will be surprised who you might find!

Do you have any tried and true methods for hiring the right person the first time?