While many organizations struggle to retain top talent in a tight employment market, some firms are using intensive, rigorous hiring and training practices to ensure both that their hires are the right fit and that the employee stays for the long term.
"We haven't seen anyone come through our door with the full skill set to do this job right off the bat," says Joe Puckett, director of recruiting and training, Vitalyst.
Vitalyst, previously called PCHelp, is a 22-year-old application and device support helpdesk and migration support system with approximately 450 active clients, says Lori Zelko, Vitalyst's senior vice president of marketing. The firm requires a specific type of person (not necessarily related to the technical and administrative skill sets), Zelko says, and that's the focus in much of the hiring, interviewing and training process.
Hire for Fit, Train for Skills
"When we interview someone with the intent to hire, we know we're going to have to train them," Zelko says. "That's a given. So, we don't worry about that aspect too much at first — what we focus on is a certain personality type; we focus on, 'Can they survive the training programs and handle all these processes?' and just as important: 'Are they willing to do so?'" Zelko says.
"We're looking for people who can give us and our customers a flawless service experience, first," says Puckett. "That speaks more to a 'type of person' we're looking for, not an existing skillset, so we use a series of tests and training programs: 'normed' tests that are template and geared to accurately identify the results we want," he says.
In addition to a full background check, potential hires at Vitalyst must also go through a Wonderlic pre-employment assessment test and a series of four interviews, says Puckett.
Intensive Interviewing Pays Off
"Our process involves four interviews; the first is conducted by a productivity consultant. The potential hire meets with the consultant so they get a sense of the ins-and-outs of the job they will be doing. Then, there's a team leader/supervisor interview, then there's a company-wide interview that includes people from our recruiting and training department and one of our administrative folks, and finally there's a fourth interview to go into detail about their specific job," Puckett says. Once those steps are completed, he says, it's much easier to gain a clear picture of the candidate and if they'll be a good fit for the company.
"If we get to that point, we can be pretty sure they fit in. But at this juncture, they also need to decide if they fit, and if they want to continue — if they're not happy with where they are and what they'll be doing, there's no point in going further. It won't work out for either the company or the employee," he says.
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