North Central Business Journal News
SELECTING THE RIGHT WORKFORCE
(March 2002 issue)
by Sandra Kay Neal, Ph.D.
The best time
to select the right workforce is when there is a downturn in the economy.
Many highly competent people are seeking new employment because of downsizing.
To take advantage
of this supply of potential employees, those in charge of hiring need to
think through the needs of their companies. Since there is an abundance
of people seeking new employment, money no longer needs to be spent on
recruiting. Instead, those resources can be used to select the best
employee for the company.
The best employee
not only has the requisite skills, but also the work habits and personality
to fit with the company. To ensure that the best employee is selected
for a particular company, all those who directly work with that job need
to develop a preferred profile for the new employee. It helps to
all the important tasks that this job handles, to be sure that the
skills needed for the job are part of the repertoire of the candidates.
But once these
skills are known, it is equally important to describe the work habits
and personality that will best fit with the company. A helpful
way to do this is to list all the good things about the previous
employee that were valued by co-workers and supervisors. Sometimes
people assume that these good qualities will naturally occur, but that
is not likely unless they are specifically sought.
It is also helpful
to list all the things about the previous employee (or other previous
employees) that have caused problems. These were things that
should have been avoided in the initial hiring process, but were not considered
at the time of hire. It is easier to avoid problems at the time of
hire than to fix them later.
has unique aspects that allow it to work effectively.
People work better with some types of people rather than others.
So it is important to find people who will work well within the current
culture and climate of the company.
work habits and personality traits can be selected for by planning ahead
to seek them. Many of them can be detected with pre-employment tests.
During the interview process, questions can be asked that surface desirable
and undesirable habits and traits. References should be asked to
describe incidents depicting these habits and traits. It is important
to look for both the desired and undesired qualities.
It is better
for the company in the long run to spend some extra time with the selection
process than to hire the wrong employee. Describing the ideal candidate
in as much detail as possible in terms of skills, work habits, and personality
will increase the likelihood of finding someone close to that ideal.
Sandra Kay Neal
holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and has 19 years
experience helping organizations solve human resource issues.
Her company, Synergistic Organizational Solutions, specializes in aiding
small businesses. Dr. Neal can be reached at email@example.com