How to Evaluate Job Candidates for Long-term Employee Retention

Hire for retention

New Ecsell Institute research shows that 1 in 4 workers are still considering leaving their jobs. The recruitment landscape has evolved a lot of the last couple years, as rapid employment shifts throughout the pandemic continue to change the game. With 25% of your workforce at risk, knowing how to hire for employee retention has never been more important. Prioritizing how to hire for employee retention will help you identify the candidates who align best for your role, the team, and your culture.

As organizations tackle the latest retention challenges, understanding candidates on a deeper level can make the difference between success and failure. When you hire for retention, here are four things to keep in mind when evaluating candidates.

4 Lenses to in which to Assess Candidates

  1. Behaviors (their HOW) – We all know the importance of using behavioral interview questions, and when used by trained interviewers they can reveal quite a bit. (We won’t get into how they can be rife with subjective bias; we’ll leave that for another post.) Behavioral questions are meant to help us understand HOW a person will behave in a given situation, and they typically start off with “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of…” These questions are fairly traditional, and most recruiters understand well how to interpret candidates’ responses.
  2. Motivators/Values (their WHY) – The famous book Start With Why by Simon Sinek takes you on the fantastic journey of uncovering the importance of this dimension. If you haven’t read the book, we’ll keep it simple by saying our motivators are generally hidden from others, and often, candidates do not know how to articulate them in an interview. Not being aware of a candidate’s motivators can be costly and painful for everyone if they turn out not to be aligned with the role and company. If you hire someone who is driven by internal values that are polar opposite from the values held by the rest of the team, you may be scratching your head as to why your “great new hire” heads right back out the door.
  3. Work Energizers (their WHAT) – We all want to do work that energizes us, and we all want people on our teams who are productive and engaged. For those responsible for filling the talent pipeline, we also know how much better it is to retain a great employee than to go find a new one. So, in addition to filling jobs with external candidates, we need to be intentional about internal mobility and develop pathways for opportunity for current employees. When you understand the type of work and the environment that energizes your employees and candidates, you can optimize teams, hire for retention, and even fill even the most stubborn of open roles.
  4. Life Priorities (their NOW) – Lastly , a candidate’s life priorities help you understand the things that are most important to them at this point in their life and career. Is personal development or achievement key priorities? What about their need for social interaction and belonging? If you know these answers and they are aligned with the opportunity you have available, you can walk your candidate through why they’re a good fit. 

How to Hire for Employee Retention: Focus on Culture

You guessed it! To hire for employee retention, your best approach is to focus on culture – an often neglected candidate qualification. This means that hiring who the manager likes is no longer sufficient. You have to dig deeper and find the kind of talent fit that can last. The four lenses (Behaviors, Motivators, Work Energizers, and Life Priorities) help you do that.

For many who are finding new-hire retention success, the answer lies in psychometrics and team culture analytics.  When you infuse psychometric assessment into your interviews, you’ll be able to uncover a candidate’s behavioral strengths and weaknesses as well as their ability to adjust to situations at work. You’ll identify their key motivators or values, as well as uncover the kind of work that energizes them. 

To assess and hire for culture, you’ll need to assess your current team too. From there, you can form a current vs target profile of the team’s culture and then hire in a way that allows you to achieve your target and the best balance of the behaviors, motivators, and work styles for the team in which the role resides — that’s hiring for fit and managing culture by intention. 

And the best part is that this approach is not a heavy lift. The profiles are based on a 12-minute assessment that unlocks critical information about a person’s behaviors, motivators and values, work energizers, and life priorities.

Once you have this information for your team and ask your candidates to take the assessment, you can produce an ideal candidate profile, assess future success in the role based on benchmarks, look at similarities and complements between your candidates and the team, and identify the candidate who will make the most significant positive impact.

Recruitment and employee retention won’t get easier anytime soon. While you won’t have a problem attracting applicants, you’ll certainly need a better, more effective approach for evaluating those applicants. Evaluating candidates through the lenses of behaviors, motivators, work energizers, and life priorities is how to hire for retention – and make selections that strengthen the team and fill gaps.

Watch now to learn more about how to use these lenses to hire for retention or contact us to set up a time to talk.

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