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Nov 20, 2012

If employee retention is a problem for your company, it might be time to go back to the drawing board when it comes to your hiring practices.

Even with the recent decrease in unemployment, it can be tough to attract good employees that are into it for the long haul. Quit wasting time and money hiring employees who just don’t fit the mold or align with your company values.

Here are four tips for improving your hiring process to find employees worth retaining:

1. Develop a culture worth bragging about

OK, you may not be Google or Zappos, but there are several things your company can do to create a culture worthy of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies To Work For list. Your company’s foundation should have a concrete vision, mission, and values. These areas should be heavily intertwined in the hiring process to ensure the candidates truly match company values and visions.

It’s also important to offer employees various forms of rewards and recognition, company social events, a strong internal communication structure, and feedback. Building a company culture that draws in job seekers isn’t something that happens overnight, but creating an office worth spending time in can be the biggest asset to employee retention.

2. Challenge your candidates

Employers often waste countless amounts of time and money through unproductive hiring processes. They either end up missing out completely on highly qualified candidates or let under-qualified candidates make it too far into the hiring process.

Improving the hiring process involves stepping away from the traditional resume-to-interview format that many companies have grown so accustomed to. The solution for many employers is to provide job seekers with a business challenge in their job posting. This allows interested candidates to answer the employer’s position-related challenge, while the employer is able to better understand the candidate’s ability to tackle the challenges of the position they are pursuing.

Providing candidates with challenges early on in the hiring process reduces turnover by giving a company the chance to assess the potential impact the hire may have on the company. It also eliminates resume spam as you can’t provide a pre-formatted response to a challenge that is specific to one company. The candidate needs to be thoughtful and show their skills, which ultimately allows them a stronger voice since resumes often do not tell the whole story.

There is no better way to truly evaluate a potential employee than by testing their dedication and understanding of the business. Additionally, if a job candidate doesn’t want to think about your company in order to answer a job challenge, there is a good chance they do not want to work for your company all that badly.

3. Look for more than a good resume and references

All “bad hires” were once “good hires,” so what might have been missed during the hiring process?

While it should come as no surprise to any employers that job seekers tend to stretch the truth, it’s the hiring managers job to effectively assess the skills and experiences on a candidate’s resume. This may mean researching a candidate’s information heavily online and through social media before deciding to invite them to interview.

The same goes for references, which many seem to believe are a “no fail” solution to the hiring process, but oftentimes this is far from the truth. While it’s important to contact a potential employee’s references, many companies express more interest in candidates that have been referred by individuals from within the company.

4. Emphasize professional development and learning

Companies with strong values generally invest in the professional growth of their employees. Recently, the job market has made it so companies seek out employees that are “perfect.” Sadly, this thinking is far too short term and is certain to turn off candidates who aren’t the cookie cutter version of your job posting.

To improve the hiring process and your company’s retention rate, develop and implement a professional development plan that provides employees with the skill development they need to learn and grow. Many highly qualified candidates seek out companies that value their employees enough to watch them grow.

Has your company implemented changes in the hiring process that have improved employee retention? Share them in the comments!