By Kathy Foust

Recruiting and hiring employees may be just the start of the process of developing long-lasting, productive relationships with your team, but it can also be one of the most expensive. In some cases, it’s like throwing cash out the window. By changing the way you think about and implement the hiring process, you can save money and end up with more valuable employees at the same time.

Setting expectations

One of the most common mistakes employers make in the hiring process is looking for applicants that they don’t really need. Though hiring and firing may be an integral part of the human resource responsibilities, they should serve only as the mechanism to implement decisions. Since the HR team isn’t out on the floor, they need to look to those who are in order to understand the true needs of the position to be filled.

What kind of goals are you trying to reach with your new employees? Before you even put out an ad, consider what the company really needs. Talk to team leaders and managers to learn what their needs and desires are. Create an open line of communication with the people who are managing your teams on the floor, and you empower them to do their jobs even more efficiently and effectively than they are right now. Some important questions to ask are listed below.

  1. What strengths does the team currently have?
  2. What strengths could the team benefit from?
  3. Are there any suggestions for improving quality or efficiency?
  4. What are the top three areas where improvement is needed?

By asking these questions, you can better learn what kind of employee you are looking for and what should be expected from them. You can also learn more about the production area itself in this manner, no matter what department you are working with.

Recruiting software

Recruiting software does most of the work for you. Once you set the parameters, it can filter out the applicants who fit your scenario best. Now that you know exactly what to look for, you can use keywords to search through applications. For instance, you can use “CNC machine” to filter out applicants who have no history or skills in working on this machine.

Details are important. When creating your ad, you might ask for specific actions to be taken, such as including a specific department to be mentioned in the resume or position applied for section. You can set parameters with this type of software so that those who don’t follow your simple instructions won’t be included in the pool your system creates. Those applications will exist, so you still have access to them, but you can avoid wasting time on the ones who have not met the specific requirements for the position in question.

This type of software goes beyond filtering applicants. Robust programs exist, which allow you to track every step of the process, from the application to the very last interview. In this way, each person involved in the hiring process has access to information from previous interviews and encounters with the applicant.


The best relationships begin with clear expectations. When it comes to the employee/employer relationship, you can start promoting your expectations before the first interview. When you contact the applicant, be sure to let them know what to bring to the interview and what the dress code is.

Body language is important, but keep in mind that some natural nervousness is normal. The interviewee could have been out of work for a while, more comfortable with numbers or machines than people or any number of other things that will cause them to appear tense. Try putting them at ease before asking questions.

Adding happiness to the equation

You might be surprised to learn that while many people expect to be made happy by successful steps in their lives, the ones who are already happy are more productive. They see challenges as reasons to get creative, rather than letting them dilute their resolve. Speaking with interviewees about what makes them happy is a great way to break the ice, but also gives you insight into what kind of person they are.

For example, when interviewing someone who is going to be handling quality control, attention to detail is a must. An interviewee who tells you that some of their hobbies include creating miniature figurines or developing hybrid plants in the garden is really communicating to you that they are all about fine details.

Past successes

People like to talk about themselves. The more interested you seem to be, the more information they are willing to offer. Ask about past successes and how they reached them. Avoid dealing with interviewees who put more effort into explaining the faults of previous employees or coworkers than into explaining what they did to correct the issue or improve performance. You do want employees who can problem solve and use critical thinking, but you don’t want employees who have a negative attitude.

Past failures

While most people don’t want to put the spotlight on their failures, it’s important to know that an employee you hire can recover from mistakes and, more importantly, learn from them. Let them lead the way, but ask questions to clarify how they handled the situation. It’s not the failure itself that is important, but how it was managed.

Give what you expect

Make sure any and all applicants know what they can expect from the company. Just like you want them to be crystal clear on what their duties and schedules are, they need to know what you have to offer. The job market may be difficult to navigate right now, but if you want quality employees, you need to offer them more than just another job to “get by” on.

Kathy Foust is a freelance writer with an M.Ed. and a love of the outdoors. She writes full time from home and often spends her weekends sparring or repurposing materials into costumes or home remodeling projects.