Hiring entry-level workers presents unique challenges. Lower skilled front-line positions experience high turnover, but because entry-level employees represent lower wages and value, some companies skimp on recruiting efforts for these staff. This churn-and-burn approach to entry-level recruiting may be costing them more than they realize.
According to Indeed, 41 percent of companies say entry-level positions are the hardest to fill, with more than half of healthcare and retailers saying it is their biggest challenge in the face of talent shortages.
And even when they do have success with entry-level recruiting, roughly 30 percent of new hires quit in the first 90 days.
While front-line employees may not garner six-figure salaries, replacing them is expensive. While calculations on the cost of turnover vary, ERE Media estimates it can run 30-50 percent of an entry-level worker’s annual salary to replace them – and that doesn’t include soft costs related to poor employee morale and lost productivity.
For big businesses that hire hundreds of front-line workers every year, these cost quickly add up. In 2016, the U.S. retail industry lost approximately 9 billion dollars to voluntary, entry-level turnover. Those numbers were expected to rise as demand for talent increases and workers gain confidence that they can find a new job quickly.
To improve entry-level recruiting success, companies need to be more thoughtful about how they vet candidates. Fully 80 percent of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions, according to Harvard Business Review. The research suggests the high rate of error is due in large part to problems in how candidates are assessed.
Entry-level workers (by their very description) have little-to-no job experience, yet most companies base their entry-level recruiting decisions on resumes and applications. While this is a fine way to vet a potential manager or subject matter expert, it’s not effective for frontline workers. Not only do their resumes provide little to no valid information about what kind of employees they will be, more than half of the time the information they provide is embellished.
Instead, companies should assess the attributes and attitudes that will make new hires good employees. Are they passionate? Good communicators? Enthusiastic problem solvers? These are the factors that determine whether an entry-level employee will be a great fit.
To figure out the right personality profile for an entry-level position, many companies start with a benchmark study. These reports assess the traits of top performers already in the company to determine what characteristics they have in common and what sets them apart. That data is then used to create a custom hiring profile that defines the ideal personality and problem-solving abilities for a specific position. The hiring profile outlines what traits are most desirable, and weights them according to their importance to success on the job.
Recruiters use that data to hone their selection criteria by matching candidates’ pre-employment assessment results to the hiring profile. The closer they match, the more likely they will be to succeed.
Once a company finds the right candidates, they can reduce the risk of losing them by making sure their first days on the job are good ones. Employees abandon new jobs for a lot of reasons, including mismatched expectations, bad on-the-job experiences, and a negative corporate culture. These are all issues that can be addressed through effective onboarding, custom training, and a welcoming corporate culture.
Entry level employees are often the first experience a customer has with any business. Making sure you hire passionate candidates and create an environment where they will want to stick around will ensure they become great ambassadors for your brand.