10 commandments of hiring & retention

Photo: ©istock.com/Hailshadow
Photo: ©istock.com/Hailshadow


  1. Thou shalt commit thyself to hiring and retaining only the best. Great companies are great employers, in turn, who are able to hire great people. Mediocre employees breed mediocrity, so make sure you recruit and select only the best. If a position goes unfilled for a while, you’re better off than if you settle for a new employee who doesn’t measure up to your highest standards.
  2. Thou shalt not be influenced by dazzling answers and false appearances. Applicants are generally better prepared for the interview than most employers are. They’ve practiced pat answers to your run-of-the-mill interview questions, and they may know how to dress to impress. It’s your job to dig deeper. There are only two sources of information about every job applicant: the applicant and the people who know the applicant. Skill and attitude testing are good measures of strengths and weaknesses. Also effective are the candidate’s references, coworkers and friends. Talk to these people to verify what the applicant tells you and to learn even more.
  3. Thou shalt know what thy is looking for. A detailed job description is essential. This includes the responsibilities of the position and the skills, aptitudes, abilities, and, most importantly, attitudes needed to be successful.
  4. Thou shalt take a marketing approach to recruiting. Recruiting is an on-going process. You should recruit new employees in the same way you recruit new customers: consistently and proactively.
  5. Thou shalt capitalize on referrals and rehires and pay attention to retention. First and foremost, you want to recruit the best and then retain them. Referrals from current employees and re-recruiting former quality employees are the best sources of recruits. When you have a great employee, do everything possible to retain that person. If you do lose great employees, keep in contact with them as future rehires.
  6. Thou shalt not be limiting nor discriminatory. The job market is changing and you must change your perceptions and attitudes along with it. Don’t look only for the young or people who have always been in your industry. It pays far greater dividends to hire people with great attitudes rather than for their experience, education or skills.
  7. Thou shalt never stop looking for thy next great employee. If someone gives you good customer service, ask if they are interested in working for you. When you stop at the bank, go to the grocery store or pay the kid down the street to mow your lawn: Ask yourself, “Could this person succeed in my company?” You’ve already witnessed his work ethic. You owe it to yourself to at least ask.
  8. Thou shalt make the new hire’s first day the best day. First impressions are lasting. The extra care and time you spend making the new hire welcome and comfortable will be richly rewarded by the hiring gods. When your new hire returns home at the end of the first workday, a friend or family member will most certainly ask: “How’s the new job?” The answer needs to be: “Fantastic. What a great company. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow.”
  9. Thou shalt set high standards and hold thyself and thy employees accountable. You shall be clear from the get-go about values, mission and responsibilities. Your employees will know and understand why their jobs are important and exactly what’s expected of them so they can meet your standards and be stunningly successful.
  10. Thou shalt honor thy employees and treat them well. Employers often forget that employees represent more than a “one-time sale.” These “chosen ones” are the organization’s inner sphere of influence. They can raise the perceived value of your company or they can speak negatively and undermine your reputation. They are the reason customers come back as well as why new customers come to you. They can refer potential team members or they can scare prospects away. Simply put: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

If you follow these rules and remain focused and committed to hiring the best, you soon will see that your organization becomes just that—the best.

Photo: ©istock.com/Hailshadow

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Mel Kleiman

Mel Kleiman is the author is the founder of Humetrics. He helps companies build high-quality, frontline, hourly workforces. Reach him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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