It's hard to hire anybody in this market - let alone people who are hard-working, proactive, focused and efficient. But it is possible! Here's how to spot - and land - more productive employees:
Every hiring manager's goal is to find employees who are productive and make a positive impact on the bottom line. However, evaluating productivity in the hiring process can be a challenge - especially in a tight market. If you are looking for impactful new employees, here are some secrets to identifying the candidates with the most potential for productivity.
Signs of a Highly Productive Applicant
Productivity is a hard trait to spot until you see it in action. However, you can look for signs in the resume-screening and phone-screening processes that indicate you've got a productive applicant, including:
- Concise resumes and cover letter: Productive employees know how to maximize efficiency, which means they understand how to communicate and make their point as quickly as possible. They organize their resumes and cover letters with the most important details laid out in bullet points.
- Results-oriented resumes: Productive employees focus on results rather than processes, and their resumes usually reflect this priority. Rather than listing their tasks and responsibilities at previous jobs, they list their achievements.
- Personal interests: Productive people typically don't spend their spare time sitting on the couch binging Netflix. They tend to have an interest in learning new skills, community involvement and hobbies.
- High energy levels: It is typical for productive people to be high-energy individuals. That does not necessarily mean they are extroverts. But it does mean they speak about their work and interests with real passion and engagement.
Soft Skills of Highly Productive People
When looking for productive employees, it is wise to weigh hard and soft skills equally. Just because someone possesses all the technical qualifications for a role does not mean they will necessarily be productive. Soft skills like these give a peek into a candidate's values and approach to work and ultimately, their level of productivity:
- Communication: Employees who communicate clearly reduce the types of miscommunication that can lead to errors and rework. Look for candidates who have solid written and verbal communications skills.
- Creative problem-solving: People who can solve problems creatively typically work well independently and do not require a lot of hand-holding.
- Decision-making abilities: Similarly, it is important to hire employees who can make independent decisions without their supervisor standing over their shoulder telling them what to do. Self-sufficient employees are typically productive self-starters.
- Time management: The ability to manage one's time has a direct impact on the amount of work they can produce on a given day.
Interview Questions to Uncover Productivity
You can ask candidates directly whether they are productive employees, but nearly every person would say "yes," whether they believe it to be true or not. Behavioral interview questions can be a much better tool, requiring candidates to talk about real-world scenarios from their actual experience.
Questions like these can help you identify productive candidates:
- Tell me about a typical day at your current job. This is a commonly asked question, but it's rarely seen through the lens of productivity. Look for signs the candidate has a structure to their day and approaches work with a clear strategy.
- When you have multiple projects or tasks with the same due date, how do you prioritize them? Productive people have a system for prioritizing work. People who struggle to answer this question are not used to prioritizing on their own, and might not be productive during busy or highly stressful times.
- Tell me about the last time you set and reached a goal. Goal-oriented people tend to be highly productive because they always have something to strive for.
- How do you focus amid distractions? Work environments are extremely distracting, making it hard to focus. In fact, distractions in the workplace itself are one of the biggest roadblocks to productivity. Productive candidates will share techniques they use to focus.
Gaining a Competitive Edge in the Hiring Market
Finding productive workers in a highly competitive market isn't easy - but it can be done. Savvy employers are turning to staffing and recruiting partners to help them find and hire productive employees.
The right staffing partner can help reduce hiring risk by speeding up the hiring process to keep talented candidates interested, conducting thorough reference checks that include seeking out evidence of past productivity and performance, offering temporary-to-hire engagements that allow you to evaluate a candidate on the job before making an offer, and even direct recruiting from your competitors.
Forming a partnership with an effective staffing and recruiting firm allows you to tap into the passive candidate market - an absolute must in today's economic climate. Waiting for productive candidates to chase you down in this environment is an exercise in futility. Go out and find the productive talent you need with a staffing partner today.