It’s a great time to look for work in America. Unemployment numbers hover at historic lows, so you have more options in your job search than at any time in the past fifty years. It’s the perfect opportunity to find a good match with an employer that knows how to hire great employees.
No One Wins With a Bad Hire
Honestly, no one wins with a bad hire. There can be a number of repercussions:
- Employees face the prospect of disappointing a new employer
- Employers invest in training a new employee only to have them leave before finishing their training (on average, one third leave within 90 days)
- If the mismatched employee stays with the company, they frequently disengage from their work and become a drag on productivity
- Employees may leave negative reviews about the company on review boards such as Glassdoor.com, harming the company’s reputation
It’s no wonder that the Society for Human Resource Management found that it costs companies $4,129 on average to replace an employee—these drawbacks of making a bad hire can add up to real financial damage, not to mention harming the company’s culture and employee morale.
And this doesn’t mention the pressure you would feel to stay with a job you hate to avoid résumé gaps or short tenure.
So to protect your career and find an employer that cares about your experience, watch for these seven signs of companies that know how to hire:
1. They Post Clear, Targeted Job Descriptions
A job search boils down to two questions:
- Can you do the job?
- Do you want to do the job?
For a job ad to answer the first question, it needs to give a clear description of the job. A targeted job description shows that the company has spent the time to fully define what it takes to succeed in the position instead of copying a standard description or trying to clone an existing or former employee.
Let’s face it—when you’re a new employee, you’re not going to be just like everyone else on your team, even if you come from the same background and have the same job titles in your résumé.
Companies that know how to hire leave room for diverse candidates in their job ads instead of narrowing the requirements down to someone who fits an exact list of experiences and skills. They identify what skills are essential for a successful employee to have and what can be learned on the job.
So if you’re looking at a twenty-page application, it’s likely you’re not the clone that the company is looking for. Move on.
2. They Define Their Mission, Vision, and Values
After you decide that you are capable of doing the job, the next question is even more important: do you want to? Finding the answer to this question comes from understanding the company’s mission, vision, and values.
As you research the company you’re considering, look for how they define these three aspects of their working experience:
- Mission: why are they in business? (aside from bringing in revenue and cutting paychecks)
- Vision: what is their goal for the future?
- Values: how do they want to perform their mission and accomplish their vision?
These should be more than posters on the break room wall. Companies that define these in advance show that they’re concerned with their company culture and that they’re taking steps to improve it.
3. They Get Rave Reviews
You can’t fake culture. It’s the sum total of all experiences and interactions in your company. So as you continue your research, see if others’ experiences match up with what the company says about itself.
Don’t just look at the average ratings on Glassdoor, but delve into the reasoning behind them. Are the reviews consistent with how the company portrays its values? How does the organization react to negative reviews, if any? Looking at a company through the lens of existing and former employees can give you important insights.
4. They Respect Your Time
As you move from the research phase to the interview phase, you get your first look at how the company operates. A company that treats job candidates like a dime-a-dozen renewable resource will likely extend that view to its employees, while companies that care about their employee experience tend to extend the same courtesy to their job candidates.
Throughout the interview process, smart companies will respect your time. They’ll understand that you need to coordinate with your current employment and take time out of your life to interview. And when the interview is over, they’ll respond in a timely manner to let you know the next steps in the process or to thank you again for your time.
5. They Optimize the Interview Experience
Have you ever answered a ridiculous interview question? As much as we love the question about fighting one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses, we save it for our new hires’ welcome lunch.
The interview should be a chance for the company to confirm that you’re the candidate that interested them on paper. When companies stick to this goal, they avoid asking biased and possibly illegal interview questions.
We recommend that employers spend some time introducing you to the company with a tour, and then ask targeted questions about how you can do the job. Your first impressions about the company are just as important as their first impressions about you.
6. They Have a Compensation Strategy
This one may seem counterintuitive, but a company that cares about employee experience likely won’t have much room for salary negotiation. Instead, they will have done their research on fair compensation for your work and built a strategy around it.
According to a study from PayScale, most employees who are paid more than the average for their positions still feel like they’re underpaid.
So if you negotiate a higher salary, how will you feel if you don’t get a raise for two years? And how will you feel if your newest coworker starts at the salary it took you two years to earn?
Smart companies provide a salary that matches the market while taking the time to help employees understand how their benefits benefit them—including salary, insurance, and perks.
7. They Plan for the Future
Compensation shouldn’t be the only long-term consideration in your new employment.
- What opportunities for career development are there with your new company?
- How will you develop?
- Can you advance in your discipline, or do you need to have managerial training to rise in the ranks?
How a company answers these questions, along with other questions about their business, gives you important insights as you plan out your career.
When job candidates like you connect with companies that know how to hire great employees, it leads to a pleasant and productive experience for all. Watching for these seven signs during the hiring process can help you find a great fit.
Author Bio: Brian Anderson is a copywriter with BambooHR, a full-service, cloud-based HR management software. His work explores employee engagement, total rewards, and how core HRIS software connects with every aspect of HR. In the hypothetical matchup, he chooses to fight 100 duck-sized horses because it’s like fighting a herd of puppies.