Starting Strong: How to Hire and Pay the Right Candidates
Many employers view new hires as a leap of faith, and when working out the financial details, CEDR often gets questions about what types of wage offers to make and which demands to accept. Personally, I categorize applicants in one of three ways to help me determine how to meet their pay requirements.
My three applicant categories, after 92% of the masses have weeded themselves out because they cannot follow my simple-yet-multistep instructions during the application process, are as follows:
- Type 1 – These candidates have some experience, and I can see they can probably do a good job. It’s at best a guess as to the final outcome.
- Type 2 – Really smart and very good in the interview, but with little direct experience for the thing I need them to do. Their background and experience checks out well. If we can train them and they have self-efficacy, we are probably going to get a top performer and perhaps a leader. We call this “hiring smart and training to the position.” It’s time consuming, but worth it. It’s also a very good argument for why you need good systems in place and a team that can train to high standards.
- Type 3 – We call this type “a difference maker.” This applicant is searched for and interviewed with the following in mind: they have knowledge, skills, and abilities in areas that exceed the company’s current skills or knowledge, and are being brought in to raise the overall level of the company and/or a specific area. I’ve learned that this can be applied to even a front desk receptionist position.
So where does one come across these different types of candidates?
Type 1s are found on places like Craigslist, and are often a result of a passive, luck-of-the-draw search and interview techniques.
Type 2s come from just about everywhere. Using detailed application processes and other methods, these applicants often easily jump past the hurdle of a phone interview and end up as great candidates.
Type 3s happen through an arduous process. Frankly, until I was willing to adopt the tools that helped me build my hiring muscle, finding this person was pure luck.
Ultimately, the amount you pay a person does not create the level of performance or the level of quality you need (or will get) from the employee. But just as a good wage won’t make a good employee, I’m also a little wary of a salary determination method that essentially says, “I’m going to negotiate all applicants down to a lower pay, just in case I chose poorly, or until they prove they deserve it.” In most cases, professionals like those Type 3s described above are not going to play this game.
Another point is that, as seasoned employers, you and I both tend to know within a day or so if the person is right for the team and the position. Certainly within a month, I’ll know for sure. If they are not what I am looking for – not excelling, not a rock star – I let them go. It’s for precisely this reason that we recommend making a 90-day “getting acquainted” period part of dental and medical office employee handbooks.
Consequently, I don’t keep mediocre employees that I might originally have been willing to pay $19 dollars, if they were great, simply because they will take $14. This seems like a net loss for the employer all the way around.
And here is my final point: If I’ve got a Type 3 person in front of me, and I’ve done my best to verify their abilities and talents, I try to get as close to their reasonable demand as I can. I won’t weed out a great potential employee by missing the opportunity to pay them everything they are worth. Instead, I get them in, work with them, and if they are not what they imply, not a fit, not a team player, then I let them go.
Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature, and is not intended to replace good counsel about a specific issue with either your attorney or your favorite HR expert.