Avoid Becoming a Stepping Stone Employer
Human resource professionals often encounter an all-too-common scenario, especially during periods of high unemployment: A candidate who seems perfectly qualified, or even overqualified, accepts a position and receives a few months of training before leaving the company to take a better position elsewhere. The new hire was well educated, friendly and promising, she learned quickly, and she seemed to enjoy her role with the company, at least while it lasted. Only after her desk had been cleared out did her hiring manager and HR professional recognize a few retrospective red flags.
Hiring and training a candidate can cost money and valuable time, and the return on your investment can drop to zero when new hires don’t stick around. Identifying a few tell-tale signs can help you avoid becoming a stepping stone for employees who are not likely to stay longer than they need to. And if you recognize a stepping stone employee after she’s already been hired, there are a few steps you can take to compete with the other companies that are likely to steal her away.
Most important, make sure you ask the right questions during the interview, especially if you know the candidate may be overqualified for the position. Ask her about her long term plans and find out where she wants to be three, five, or ten years from now. If you have the resources within the company to take her where her ambitions lead, now is the time to tell her so. But don’t exaggerate or describe opportunities that aren’t realistic. If you decide to extend an offer, make sure you can provide the periodic salary increases that will inspire her to stay. If you know this won’t be possible, tell her so upfront.
Don’t hire a candidate who you know you can’t keep, and if you invest in a talented new hire, be ready to offer the coaching she needs to advance within the firm. And as far as possible, be prepared to provide an environment that will keep her growing skills within the company.