4 Great Recruiting Best Practices from Canada’s Best Workplaces

Hiring the best talent is as tough as it’s ever been, with projections indicating that for the first time in history, the number of younger workers entering the labor market won’t be enough to replace those who are leaving. However, even though talent is scarce, applications seem plentiful once you post a job online. Thanks to job boards like Indeed and SimplyHired, your posting can be shared with thousands of people in no time.

In this job market, you’ll have to do things differently if you want to avoid sifting through a huge stack of poor-fit resumes — or if you want to snag your dream candidates who already have a job elsewhere.

cdn2.hubspot.netTech firms in the US have a reputation for having some of the most interesting hiring practices.  For example, Reddit has come up with a great way to cut down on the amount of unqualified applicants – you can’t submit your resume until you solve a skill-testing question. Some companies go the other way and require you to get creative, such as Epipheo who skips the resume and asks you to answer two questions “What can you do for us?” and “What makes you awesome?”

In order to find some great Canadian examples, we asked Great Place to Work® Institute Canada to share with us some of the hiring best practices that they came across when selecting the recent 2013 Great Places to Work winners.  These companies pride themselves on having a strong culture and great employees, so hiring is an important step to ensure they stay on the list year after year.

G Adventures
“The G Factor”
At G Adventures, in order to ensure cultural fit of prospective employees, they have created the G Factor Interview.   During this interview, the Talent Agency and a few randomly selected employees from other departments ask candidates questions that focus on their ability to thrive in and contribute to the company’s unique corporate culture.  The questions themselves are chosen randomly by spinning a wheel with pre-selected questions on it.  Examples of questions include “what’s the biggest New Year’s resolution you’ve ever kept”, or “how many different hairstyles have you chosen in your lifetime?”

Morningstar Research Inc.
“Interviews with Senior Management”
One distinctive way Morningstar Research Inc. tries to ensure they are hiring the right people is by involving senior management in every hiring decision.  In addition to ensuring candidates have multiple interviews with their potential managers and co-workers, every candidate—whether it’s a receptionist, an analyst, a relationship manager, you name it—meets with one of their senior managers before they make a job offer. While this may be viewed by some as time-consuming for their leaders, they have found it critically important in finding the right people. It also lets new hires know that they really matter to Morningstar and that each and every job is important.

Screen-Shot-2013-05-02-at-4_49_59-PM.pngGoogle Canada
“Hiring for the long term”
At Google Canada, employees work on tons of projects with different groups of Googlers, across many teams and time zones. To give applicants a sense of what working there is really like, some of interviewers could be potential teammates, but some interviewers will be with other teams. This helps them see how a candidate might collaborate and fit in at Google overall. Also, an independent committee of Googlers review feedback from all of the interviewers. This committee is responsible for ensuring that their hiring process is fair and that they’re holding true to their “good for Google” standards as they grow.

Ian Martin Group started their hiring process with me in November of last year, and I was amazed at how much time and effort was put into it. My first “interview” was a casual afternoon coffee with the CEO, Tim Masson and the COO, John Breininger .  I had come thinking I’d be sitting in a boardroom and answering questions, but was pleasantly surprised when it was a relaxed conversation about what I was looking for in a company. It was a chance for me to interview them, and decide if a job there was something I wanted to pursue.  Next, they offered me a chance to come into their office and talk to some of the senior management who I’d be working with. Once again, no interview questions came my way, it was simply more time for me to understand the culture, people and overall operations.

Seems too relaxed of a process? Well, once I decided that I wanted to move forward in the process that changed. I was first asked to complete an online psychometric assessment  which gave them insight into my characteristics and motivators, so that they could understand my potential “fit” at the company.  Next up was the Top Grading Interview, which was just as intense as it sounds.  I had to fill out an online Career History form which required me to describe my career from high school to the present. (When I can barely remember what I did last week!) I was then booked in for a half day session with a panel of 4 interviewers, where they asked me questions about the many different positions I’ve held, as well as tested my competence in key areas related to the job. It was my first job interview that included a short “intermission” because of its length! About two months after my first cup of coffee with Ian Martin Group, I signed my official offer letter and joined the team.

Why do these companies put so much effort into hiring? They value the unique cultures that they have developed at their organization and they understand that every new employee will affect that culture. As Prof. James L. Heskett wrote in his book The Culture Cycle, effective culture can account for 20-30 percent of the differential in corporate performance when compared with “culturally unremarkable” competitors.  So hiring for culture fit may take longer, but it makes a lot of business sense!

What are some of the unique hiring processes that work well for your organization?


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