This week, we’ve been talking a lot about how employers can improve the engagement of their staff. So far, we’ve been looking at this problem in it’s later stages, when employees have already begun to withdraw from their jobs and become discontent with your company. While it’s important to coach employees who have reached this unfortunate, disengaged state, it’s just as important to try and hire as many employees as possible who won’t require this sort of intervention. But, as you probably know, it’s not easy to predict how well someone will do in a job a year from now, based on a 30 minute interview. I’m sure that every disengaged employee that you have ever had to motivate or fire started out just as bright eyed and bushy tailed as your most driven, enthusiastic employees. Though hiring for higher engagement can be a challenge, there are several signs that can tell you if a candidate is the real deal.
Before we get into the top indicators for high engagement in a prospective hire, the first thing to cover is first contact with candidates. Whether you realize it or not, employee engagement starts before someone is even employed by you. Every bit of your company’s online presence and job marketing makes an impression on job seekers, and you definitely want that impression to be a good one. Besides making sure that your job marketing looks professional (you’d be surprised by the number of typos that we see), you want to have a company image that is appealing to job seekers, the greater company goals principals for them to identify with before they even apply for the position. One of the leading reasons that employees become disengaged from their work is that they have no connection to the work that their company is doing. I mean, wouldn’t you be discouraged if you only had a vague idea about what your company does?
Because of how important it is for all employees to be aware of and be involved in the big picture of their employer, your hiring process should leverage this information whenever possible. From your job marketing to the interview, candidates should be able to tell their friends exactly what your company does and how the role they’re applying to fits in with that.
Now, for those indicators I was talking about. When you’re looking to make a hire that will be engaged and stay engaged in their work, it’s important to get beneath a candidate’s professional facade to see what you’re really working with. Broadly, one of the best indicators of an engaged candidate is how much research they’ve done on your company. Yes, most candidates will have done research on your company, but who was curious enough to do that extra digging? If a candidate’s interest is peaked in this way by your company before they’re even hired, it’s a great sign that they’ll be a valuable asset to your team now and for years to come.