It’s a fact: finding and keeping great employees is challenging. 82% of business leaders don’t believe their companies recruit highly talented people, and of those that do, only 7% think they can retain them. In other words, there can be a sizable difference between a candidate who seems like a fit, and the person who will ultimately become a long-term superstar at your organization.

How do you recognize who’s a long-term A Player? What determines their aptitude for greatness within a specific organization? The line is thin, and a good candidate can make a good employee, but it’s crucial your hiring team understands the difference between someone who dazzles in the interview and someone who has the capacity to go the distance. Here’s how to pinpoint the specific traits of great employees and how modern HR technology simplifies the process:

Here’s how modern #HRtechnology finds great employees, not candidates:

Analyze top performers and assess internal talent pool

Six out of ten employees are looking for growth opportunities internally, and if they don’t find them, chances are they will be looking externally. Great employees stand apart from savvy candidates because they reflect a desire to take on new challenges that will help improve themselves and the organization.

Say you want to hire top talent, but decided to promote internally instead – how do you keep the employee engaged and growing? What is your contingency plan for when a candidate or perceived great employee suddenly leaves your organization for an opportunity elsewhere? HR technology is helping HR professionals more than ever to prepare and forecast for all of these talent changes.

ClearCompany’s Performance Management tools track and analyze performance data that can be used to prepare succession planning and employee development tracks to place great candidates, weed out those who will not be a good fit for your organization and give the insight needed to retain great employees. As an example, imagine you’re sourcing new talent. One of your current great employees, Ana, has been your rockstar role model for work ethic, professional growth and productivity. Her performance records inform what type of employee you’re looking for when hiring for her role with its own mission, goals and defined set of responsibilities. Our clients use this information to automate hiring, new hire onboarding and performance processes, and understand each employee’s contribution. It’s key to acquire and retain motivated top talent like Ana in order to further the organization’s mission and vision to achieve business success.

Ask the right interview questions

88% of hiring decision-makers believe that an informed candidate is a quality candidate, but it can be hard to see through the charm of a well-informed candidate to find the great employee beneath the surface.

To determine which applicants will make great employees, cut to the chase: ask what their professional goals are. The first trait that separates great employees from top candidates is motivation. Some topics your hiring team should be asking about include:

  • The individual’s work ethic – What drives it? Is it aligned to the rest of the company?
  • The individual’s decision-making process – Do they understand their decision-making process? Can they articulate it? Can they give you an example of when it’s worked well? Of when it has failed them?
  • The individual’s motivations for improvement – What are their goals for growth? Do they have personal goals? How do they follow-through on their goals?

All of the above questions must be aligned with the company mission, vision and values in order for the candidate to be successful.

Enable your hiring team! 3 ways modern HR tech helps businesses weed out savvy candidates and find great employees:

ClearCompany’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) provides Interview Guides and Candidate Management tools that streamline the interview process. Creating the right strategic interview script will offer proactive solutions that ensure every interviewee is given a fair chance at demonstrating their aptitude to be your next great employee. Here are a few examples to consider:

Company Values

  • “Which of our values do you feel you most embody, and how has it helped elevate your career?”
  • “Please describe a time when you feel that you have effectively demonstrated our company value of ________.”

Skills & Performance

  • “I see you worked at [Company] as a [Job Position]. Can you think of a time you had to help one of your customers through a stressful interaction? If so, please explain.”
  • “When you were at [Company], please describe a time when you helped solve a problem that arose. What part did you play in solving the issue?”

Work Environment Fit

  • “What kind of work culture do you flourish in the most?”
  • “Describe someone who shaped your career and why you find them so important.”

Use a goal-based approach that enables your hiring team

Many leaders read “hire for cultural fit” as “find a person who looks and acts like me and will fit into my circle.” This cultural fit misunderstanding has plagued the hiring process for even some of the most well-known employers - those that have their pick of applicants.

ClearCompany’s Talent Operating System (Talent OS) helps hiring managers develop scripts that discover who shares similar work values, can perform in the environment and has reached goals that align to the company or department. The Talent OS helps articulate and identify excellence by giving each role in an organization its own mission, goals and defined set of responsibilities.

Questions to consider when developing interview scripts with Talent OS:

  • Is the person sitting in front of you in the interview room able to accomplish the specific goals of the role you are looking to fill?
  • Is the person lacking any specific traits or experience the position requires? If so, what traits? What training would your business need to include in their onboarding process if you decided to hire them?
  • What departments in your firm would benefit from having this person added to their team?

Hiring teams often stop at the attributes mentioned above to find good candidates. Take it a step further:

  • Establish the overarching goals of the hire’s specific team or department, then work back to the individual tactics and projects that would need to be completed.
  • Using those overarching goals, formulate interview questions or assessments that will determine an applicant’s ability to perform.

For example, ask the interviewee how they would approach a challenge your team has faced in the past. This will help you understand what they value in times of crisis (processes, organization, collaboration, etc.) and will give you a taste of what skills they hold and use confidently. Using a goal-based approach like this is especially helpful to understand what transferable skills can make a successful employee.

Sometimes, developing the perfect talent acquisition process can be a long, arduous process. There are more than a few places that could be stopping you from consistently hiring and retaining A Players. The point isn’t just to rack up applications from a new source or two, but to instead improve the quality of your talent pool. Modern HR technology like ClearCompany’s complete Talent Management Platform can help you along the way to total Talent Success.

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Sara Pollock
Sara Pollock
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As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent hundreds of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.

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