It is encouraging to note there are several programs in place to improve this situation over the medium to long-term, including the growth of ESPA and NSCA’s new Ignite program.
But how can you make your hiring process more efficient and successful right now? How do you accurately assess an applicant’s skill set? What tools are available?
What NOT to Do:
- Referrals: While a direct referral from a current employee can often be a good start, a much more formal process needs to be utilized to ensure a candidate’s suitability. So be careful.
- Hiring from a competitor: Employees often leave their current job for the wrong reasons; the same reasons they might leave your team in the future. And the more experienced they are, the more likely they are to bring bad habits with them, which can be difficult to break. Always look at the quality of the company a person is coming from for insight into the quality of work they are likely to do.
- Hiring too quickly: Pressure to expand your team can be a motivator. Work needs to be done, and you are understaffed. But rushing to hire under these circumstances can lead to even more problems down the road. Successful managers know it is better to be slow to hire and quick to fire, than the other way around.
What TO Do
They key is finding the right combination of personality traits, work ethic, and measurable skills. The most consistent and trustworthy way of measuring knowledge and skills is certification.
When a person pursues, and earns, a professional credential, they are demonstrating that they take their career seriously and that they are willing to put in the effort to study and prepare for a high-stakes test.
Start with the job posting. You may want to use a job board hosted by an industry association or the one offered by Commercial Integrator magazine.
If there are credentials which tie directly to the job description, list them. The credentials don’t need to be a hard requirement but shown as a “plus”. If a prospective employee is serious about getting into the industry, they may even get the certification you are asking for, proving they are serious. You can also save a lot of time and expense related to posting and screening by using a staffing solutions company such as TierPM.
Once you have an applicant engaged, there are a number of evaluation tools you might consider. Some will give you some insight into their personality and how well they might fit into your team.
For a great assessment of their technical knowledge, utilize NSCA’s Technical Assessment Tool. This new online assessment gauges proficiency in several different disciplines and will tell you if the applicant really knows what they claim to know, as well as help you find the right place for an applicant you know has the mindset and soft skills you are looking for.
Consider a trial employment period. Defining a 60 or 90 day evaluation period in advance provides motivation, as well as an easy solution in case things don’t work out. And asking them to earn a specific credential within that time period gives them a goal as well as building their skillset in the desired area of expertise.
This approach could include another NSCA offering which has been launched recently; the C-SIP (Certificate as a Systems Integration Professional) program, an online self-paced course that prepares new employees to be successful in the industry.