Finding the Right Employee

Finding the Right Employee

by Monica Sanders, December 2009

When an employee leaves, especially a good employee, it is hard for a business to find a replacement. Making the right choice is important for the company in terms of both costs and the quality of the work environment. Having to conduct repeat searches and hires can be expensive. Picking someone who does not 'fit in with the team' can create a workplace dynamic that is, to say the least, uncomfortable.

Start Close to Home

So where do you look for the right person? Sometimes the best place to start looking is in your current pool of employees. There may be someone already working for the company who is qualified for the position and ready for a pay raise or promotion.

In fact, hiring from the inside can save time and money. Another benefit to "looking within" is that this employee already has a track record with the company. You end up with a better idea of the kind of employee you are getting from the beginning.

Use Different Methods to Increase Yield

If finding someone internally is not an option, then the best approach may be to spread your search around. One Department of Commerce study suggests that coupling different methods ensures a wider variety of applicants. Temporary Agencies and headhunters can also take care of some of the work for you. They pre-screen applicants and refer only those who fit the requirements of the position you would like to fill.

Temporary agencies can also be a tremendous resource for providing short-term employees. You never know, a short term employee with the right skills and drive can just as easily impress an employer. The best part is that a temporary situation allows the employer to "test-drive" an employee before committing.

Headhunters or executive search firms seek out candidates for top-level appointments. They conduct most of the background, qualification and reference checks for the contracting company (you). These firms are paid for their services regardless of whether you hire anyone they refer to you. It can be expensive with fees ranging anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of an executive's first year salary.

Online Anyone?

Initiating an online search is an increasingly popular way of reaching out to potential employees. Just think about those Superbowl ads. For a small fee Monster, Hot Jobs, Career Builder and similar websites will post an ad for your open position. It will be visible to job seekers and allow them to email you resumes. Some websites even allow online applications or provide links to your website.

Employers can also create virtual 'agents' that can search the site's resume database for potential matches and send them to you. Because these sites are similar to search engines, they can yield hundreds or even thousands of responses. Therefore, it is important that an employer be as specific as possible when creating an ad. Know what kind of employee you want. Give details about education and experience requirements and be clear about the job duties. Outline as many of the major functions as space will allow. The more specific you are the fewer and more relevant the results you get back will be.

Naturally, of the methods mentioned so far, this requires the most work on your part. It is up to you to do background, qualification and reference checks before interviewing anyone. Typically, there is no screening process for online job sites, which opens the possibility of the less than candid submitting resumes.

It's Good to be Special

If your industry is a highly specialized one, like information technology or labor law firms, it may help to make your search for the right employee specialized. Place an ad in an industry trade journal or magazine. The audience will be limited to those who are either already working or have some background in your field.

Go to a college career fair or career services office. If you are looking to fill an entry-level position, these options can be a great help. If you need a lower level engineer, then the career services office in the engineering school can direct you to a qualified student. In addition to helping graduating students, these offices also help school alumni with employment options. Again, this can help you target a specialized audience with education or experience in your industry.

Ask Around

Finally, don't forget to ask around. Many employment agencies and experts say networking or word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a job. By analogy, it makes sense that it could also be one of the best ways to find a good employee.