Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try in Hiring. Or Is There?

September 19th, 2014 by David Rothschild Leave a reply »

It’s not always possible to determine whether a candidate will be a good fit for a job in your organization, no matter how rigorous your screening procedures are. This is why human resources directors are turning to bringing in candidates on a trial basis, to see how they will fit into the company culture.

If you’re not already doing so, you might find it beneficial to begin arranging for contracted work on trial basis to help you evaluate potential employees, using a temporary-to-permanent status hiring process.

This tactic is appropriate for organizations that have particularly high turnover, especially those with smaller workforces, such as a 15-person shop where a single bad hire can be disastrous for team morale, according to a recent post by Sarah Max at the New York Times.

Contract Work Before Permanent Status

One important thing to keep in mind when considering offering contract work is to make sure it doesn’t interfere with candidates’ current jobs, assuming they are already working. In such cases, you could let them work on a specific project on a trial basis over the weekend or for a set amount of evenings.

A single project that lasts a week or two will give you a better idea of how a recruit will fit in with your team. When you offer them work on a contract basis, you’ll want to set specific goals, so that candidates can only advance to permanent status after they pass a series of milestones.

Max cited the case of website hosting firm Weebly, where nearly every one of the 150 employees went through a trial workweek before getting hired permanently. Approximately 75 percent of candidates who go through a trial period at Weebly wind up getting hired, according to company CEO David Rusenko, who told the New York Times that the remaining 25 percent of people would have either been fired or damaged team morale if they had been hired.

HR Managers, Pay No Mind to Yoda

If you grew up watching the Star Wars film franchise, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the diminutive master Yoda telling his trainee Luke Skywalker to “Do. Or do not. There is no try,” when learning the ways of the Jedi and how to control the Force.

The idea behind Yoda’s characteristic clipped expression is to trust yourself and to listen to your instincts when encountering obstacles and difficult situations. However, in the world of human resources, relying on your gut instincts alone is not always going to be sufficient when evaluating possible job candidates.

For example, whatever you hear during the initial interviews with a promising candidate, you won’t always be able to determine his or her organizational capabilities, noted Adriana Gardella in a recent New York Times piece about hiring on a trial basis.

She pointed out that HR professional Jennifer Blumin of the corporate events planning company Skylight Group doesn’t search for people with event planning experience. Instead, she keeps an eye out for intelligent candidates who solve problems creatively without getting stressed out under deadline pressure.

So, it seems clear that focusing on “doing” rather than “trying” can be detrimental to your organization. Hiring more or all of your future employees on a trial basis may be just what you need to improve efficiency and keep your teams stable and happy going forward.


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