Hiring a High-Quality Hourly Worker
Too many employers make the mistake of underestimating the influence that high quality hourly workers can have on their businesses. Like salaried employees, hourly workers affect productivity, morale, company image, and more.
Indeed, many employers have long since given up trying to carefully select the best counter help or clerical talent, instead simply ushering in a stream of warm bodies for brief tenure. But this heedless hiring comes at a huge cost, including non-exempt employees who:
- Commit many errors
- Offend customers
- Contribute to the cost of high turnover rates
So, what can you do to increase hourly worker performance? “Having a system in place is the key,” says Trae Wieniewitz, president of Wieniewitz Financial. Begin by assessing and upgrading the key stages of your recruitment process: employee sourcing, interviewing techniques, and employee screening. A relatively modest investment of time and money up front should pay for itself many times over.
Reassess your candidate sourcing strategy
Maybe you’ve always advertised hourly openings in your community newspaper or simply hung a help-wanted sign. Or maybe you’ve posted jobs online for years. Either way, in this age of exponential change, you should frequently reassess how you source your hourly workers. Your process should include:
- A well-written job description;
- Consulting existing employees about the skills necessary to get the job done;
- An assessment of which jobs databases and social media platforms to use;
- A networking plan.
As you screen, interview, and hire applicants, take note of how you acquired the best candidates; not all recruitment channels are created equal.
Before you do another interview, take a day to make a plan: write a standard set of interview questions; consider who on your staff should participate; settle on a method to record and score the interviewee’s performance. It’s ok to ad-lib and improvise during the interview, but having a prepared, standardized process will help you stay focused and organized.
“I use a two-step process,” says Wieniewitz. “First, a phone interview where we talk about the candidate’s previous employment, why they want the job, what they bring to the table. The second interview would be in the office and would include a role-play.” For example, an hourly worker interviewing for a retail position might be asked to handle an argumentative customer.
Other important tips for conducting a thorough interview include:
- Staying away from yes/no questions and instead ask behavioral-based interview questions like, “Tell me about a time when…”
- Listening more than you talk.
- Preserving the value of the interview by making a contemporaneous record of it immediately after it ends: how it went, the candidate’s responses and demeanor, and so on.
Through an effective interview strategy, you can get to know quality candidates and let them know what types of benefits, experience, and growth potential are available at your company.
Screen and select strategically
If you’re like many employers, you don’t test hourly workers for skills, abilities, and behaviors. “Pre-employment screening is pretty uncommon among small businesses,” says Ken Lahti, a vice president at SHLPrevisor, a provider of employee assessments. But if specific requirements of the job are necessary and time-consuming to acquire, you should consider formal screening. “Just having had a job doesn’t mean you’re good at it,” says Lahti. “That’s why testing can be extremely useful.”
For example, candidates for an hourly bookkeeper job can be tested for skills in accounts payable and receivable. Applicants for a customer service representative job can be assessed for attitude and sales ability.
What’s the out-of-pocket expense? A basic program of tests will likely cost between $25 and $100 per candidate, according to Lahti. “The return on investment is likely to be at least 10 times that amount.”
Finally, take the time to make calls as part of your reference checking. Negligent hiring lawsuits are on the rise, and this simple step can save you from a lot of headaches down the road. Check references and backgrounds before you make any firm offers.
Hire smarter with Monster
With hourly employees comprising a majority of today’s workforce, you can’t afford to neglect your hourly worker hiring process. Monster can help you avoid costly mistakes and high turnover rates. Get expert recruiting advice and the latest hiring trends from Monster Hiring Solutions today.