By Sterling Wilson, president of Pop! Promos

You're running a process-driven company with clear goals and timelines for every aspect of your business -- from customer acquisition to marketing to budgeting. Then it comes to hiring and you find candidates and hire whoever "just feels right." Sound familiar?

Don't worry, you're not alone. Every day I meet with fellow entrepreneurs, and the No. 1 pain point I hear is finding and retaining great people. These entrepreneurs are stars in their respective industries: I've seen firsthand the relentless focus and determination they apply to their business processes. So why should they believe that hiring should work any differently?

We've made great improvements in our own hiring practices by setting clear goals and following a process. Here's what I recommend:

  1. Write a clear job description. This includes not only the daily tasks of the role, but why it is important to your business and what the opportunities for advancement are. Build a consensus around this description with co-workers, supervisors and managers.
  2. Post the job widely on relevant search engines and job boards that your target candidates frequent. Provide clear instructions for applying. If candidates can't follow application instructions, how do you think they'll do on the job?
  3. Rank resumes received based on their fit for the job description. We use a great company called Jane Hires. It uses algorithms and machine learning to parse and sort resumes.
  4. Phone screen top candidates to confirm key information. This includes salary range, schedules, visa status and other deal breakers.
  5. Give some sort of standardized, quantitative assessment. This helps avoid the drift caused by conflicting qualitative assessments of candidates as they move through the interview process. At Pop! Promos, we give candidates a "Pop! Aptitude Test" loosely based on the Wunderlick test used by the NFL Combine to test their problem-solving abilities.
  6. Schedule interviews with qualified top candidates. We go through three rounds of interviews at our startup. The first round consists of three 20-minute interviews with the person who would be their direct manager, a company executive, and a co-worker. The second round is a practical interview, testing job skills and evaluated by the initial interviewers and additional co-workers. The third round is confirmatory and typically ends with a job offer.

Implementing this simple process has improved our current team members' satisfaction with our hiring procedure by improving the quality of candidates they're meeting with. It's also improved the process for our applicants by providing a clear roadmap from application to hire. Perhaps most importantly, it's given our management team a feeling of control over our hiring strategy: We can see the pipeline for different candidates, estimate start dates for open positions, and feel confident that we're properly vetting the next generation of our organization. We've also seen first-year new hire attrition fall by 70 percent since implementation.

I'm particularly proud to say that using this structured process has helped remove some of the bias in our hiring process. eliminating the pay gap between genders and improving the diversity of our workforce.

So, back to the original question: Do you hire like you run your company? Maybe not, but I'll bet that's about to change. Turn hiring into a formal process to improve results and transparency.

Sterling Wilson is president of Pop! Promos, the U.S. market leader in PMS matched branded merchandise.

Published on: Jul 13, 2017