SmartRecruiters Blog
Retention in Hiring

5 Ways to Create Retention in How You Hire

As a hiring manager, we need to work beyond just the job description and person specification i.e. this means really identifying and honing in on skills we require for the functions that are being performed now and in the future. For example, when hiring a Project Manger, perfect your context: We need our Project Manager to do x, y and z. We need them to be competent in what they do and deliver error free project delivery, which is quality, risk-free, on time, and within budget.

Prior to Hiring

As a line manager, do we gain any insight and knowledge from exit interviews, prior to advertising the role in question? Are our person specifications really reflecting the changing nature of the business we run? In turn, are the functions being performed now the same as will be in 5 years time? Notice, I have not mentioned with word ‘role’ but ‘function.’

The above questions are important but overlooked aspect of hiring decisions for a potential replacement or role redesign. If we analyze and evaluate insights, business needs, workforce plan and knowledge from external workforce data, job market, existing and leaving employees, we add value to the interview process before it has even begun.

Retention in Hiring

We must make sure the skills that we require are future proof and that the candidate is flexible to perform and deliver, in change, pressure and delivery. Loyalty can be assessed from the CV or application submitted, along with their commitment (which can be assessed) during an interview.

So how do we ensure the next employee will be with you for the long term? How do we assess this when hiring?

Create an impressive interview, that not only challenges potential employees’ thought process, competence and behaviors; but is future proof and flexible in what individuals can best offer and potentially do more of. An interview that really engages the interviewee to perform their best and inspires them to do more. Questions and style of interview that captures the real motivating factors for individuals in work (intrinsic and extrinsic): Read More: Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory.

Here are 5 tips for a interview process that creates retention:


1. Create the perfect interview environment: Emulate the culture and feel of the organization by creating a group interview session; with shortlisted candidates and a series of tasks, whereby you are assessing problems solving techniques, team behaviours, skills and competence within a specified time. From a recruiter or hiring manager point of view, it will take time to prepare, but the benefits of this are much more than planning investment. Assessing an individual based on the best fit for the organization and culture; and how they adapt to change is a good indicator of how they work with others, and deal with change, pressure, initiatives, work ethics, character, leadership and communication styles.

2. Rather than just a structured, standardized competence based interview; try adopting a conversational approach to interviewing; which will highlight significant strengths, understanding of context, preparatory work, researched company data and potential weaknesses. A fluid interview process, is one which is engaging, and allows both interviewer and interviewees to ask questions based on the flow of the conversation.

3. Question based on challenges. Not just what the interviewee has done previously, but what the real pressures and challenges are for the organization; they would like to work for. This tests ability (such as ‘teamability’, or ‘bounceability’), flexibility and researched data, about the company and the sector you are successful in, as well as, the organization that they want to work with. You are assessing their long term commitment to the organization and the sector.

4. As an interviewer, ask the question about what really inspired or motivated an individual to apply i.e. You are looking for initiative, motivation, positive spirit that impresses you. It will also allow you to understand what didn’t come through as relevant or important on the job description, person specification and organization they found? Don’t go for a rehearsed, perfect model response; but one that shows creativity, individuality and above all enthusiasm for the industry and interest.

5. Develop some innovative interview questions that assess an individual’s creativity, problem solving and innovative thinking (organization specific):

We should not only be hiring on the basis that this individual is competent; but on how could this be applied to our future work and changing working environment. Can this individual adapt? Will they deliver under pressure?

  • i.e. We have a budget allocation of $10k to identify a key project that will support our presence in the market. How would you use this budget and why?
  • We are a global brand, with dispersed teams. What skills and experience can you bring to help us bring out the best of our talent, input, knowledge and expertise?
  • If I gave you the role of CEO for one week, tell me what you would do and why.
  • Prince2 methodology: Do you like this methodology and why? How can you deliver the project we have asked you to help us with; and create value beyond?
  • What inspires you about project management; and how will you support our creative thinking in project delivery? Do both work hand in hand?
  • What have we (organization) missed? Name me a challenge we have overlooked.


Deciding Factors:

Place a candidate in a position where they not only think inwards and reflect on strengths for the role, but also are able to elicit values and skills that align with colleagues, company ethos and vision. Do they ooze initiative and add value to what is being done? How will they be supported in the organization and team? How do you create a package that is an irresistible offer beyond just remuneration i.e. succession planning, employability initiatives and learning and development? What makes individuals thrive and what organizational culture will impact and support their drive? How will they complement and add value to what you have in the organization?

So what can you take from this blog: Assess talent for change, challenge, commitment, drive and passion.


Prabhjit KaurPrabhjit Kaur is the Founder of KaurSkills (India and UK). (CMgr MCMI | AssocCIPD | MBA(Open)) Strategic Skills, Workforce Development & Transformation Consultant.  Image Credit Ely Tran.



Prabhjit Kaur

Prabhjit Kaur is the Founder of KaurSkills (India and UK). (CMgr MCMI | AssocCIPD | MBA(Open)) Strategic Skills, Workforce Development & Transformation Consultant.