Recently I surveyed a large number of Australian employers in the IT, mining, defence, scientific and civil industries. I found a very alarming trend.

The turnover rate of new staff within the first three months of employment has increased by over 210% since 1999!

What does this mean? It means new employees are jumping ship earlier than ever before. Unfortunately this is a symptom of a very buoyant employment market, and last occurred in the late 1990s when we were again in huge employment boom.

In the current market place candidates are in very high demand as there is more than ample employment opportunities in the market place. Unfortunately this leads to an increase in staff turnover and very transient new staff.

So what can employers do about this to protect themselves?

Firstly, let’s looks at the statistics as given by candidates to management for leaving as per a survey on our web site of over 1200 employers in 2008.

24% Travel time
21% Job/company security
18% Unable to meet expectations
12% Better offer ($’s)
10% Personality clashes with management
8% Personality issues with other staff
7% No reason found, just get up and go, never to be heard of again!

Now of course, these are the stated reasons – they are not always the REAL reasons, but they are considerations at the very least. Most “reasons” we have found from experience stem from not being able to meet the expectations of the employer, but are veiled in “other reasons”.

Interestingly if we compared the results between male and females, we found that personality issues differ by up to 12%. It appears the female population on the whole requires a more “fun” environment than men, who are more prone to get up and leave without a reason given.

Over 80% the candidates that would leave without a given reason were recent arrivals to Australia or the state. From the reference checks I have made on such candidates, many still put their past employer in their CV, even though they most likely would not receive a favorable reference!

So what are the solutions? There are two, the hiring process and the induction process. In this article we look at the hiring process, in the next article we will look at the induction process.

Screening Candidates

In times of high demand for staff, many companies see only what they want to see in their applicant, turning a blind eye to the indicators that matter.

A good hiring manager has a nose for determining whether the candidate will be an asset or not. Just following screening policy or interview questions to the letter does not cover all contingencies. A good hiring manager must keep their eyes out for Candidate Indicators. Below is a list of possible good and bad indicators. The list is endless and therefore must rely on the Hiring Manager asking themself “If I wasn’t in a crisis to hire – would I hire this person?”

Good Indicators

• Referees are employers or ex-employers who can verify candidate’s production record from a supervisory position
• Statements and data presented on the CV are realistic.
• Referees, when contacted, are able to verify the candidate’s production record with specific data.
• Candidate is able to easily answer technical questions about his skills.
• Data from candidate matches data from referees.
• Candidate talks of employer or ex-employer in complimentary terms.
• Candidate shows strong interest for the field he works in.
• Candidate’s verbal communication is sequitur (a logical consequence)
• Candidate keeps promises once made.
• Is willing and enthusiastic about providing more data about himself or his experience when asked.
• Referees state that candidate is a good producer and can back this up with actual examples.
• Referees state that candidate is a reliable and can back this up with actual examples.

Bad Indicators

• CV contains a lot of data that is not believable.
• CV is confusing.
• Candidate is critical of present or past employers.
• Verbal or written communication is non sequitur
• Candidate provides only referees that they were not employed by.
• Referee data doesn’t match candidate data.
• Candidate mainly interested in how much remuneration he or she will receive.
• Candidate mainly wants to know what’s in it for him.
• Referee states or implies that the candidate was a poor producer.
• Referee states or implies that the candidate was not reliable.
• Places where the candidate worked have closed down.
• Candidate has been involved in legal action with previous employer(s).
• Candidate reluctant to supply further data about themselves when asked.
• Candidate blames a past employer for some non-optimum condition they are in.
• Speech falters when answering questions.
• Candidate doesn’t keep promises.
• Place of work is more than 1 hours drive from their residency