Did you know there is a proven system that ensures you always get the highest possible return on your investments? Yet, when it comes to your most important buying decision — hiring employees — we tend to ignore the process. 

It seems few realize that best-practice purchasing procedures are also an effective employee hiring system. If you are not doing so already, maybe it’s time to consider taking a page out of your Purchasing Procedures Manual and start “buying” employees with the same due diligence you apply to every other investment decision.

Spell Out Purchasing Specs
You can’t get what you need if you don’t know exactly what you need it to do. Your purchasing specs for a new employee should spell out:
• The mental and physical capacities needed. Do you need a rocket scientist or someone with a GED?
• Attitude accounts for 93 percent of a person’s success on the job; spell out the innate attitudes (responsibility, teamwork, etc.) that ensure the employee likes the job and your customers are pleased with their work.
• The personality traits best suited to the job. Does the job call for a person who prefers to sit behind a desk or who would rather be active all day?
• The specific skills you need. Does the ideal candidate need to be an expert at infection control? If yes, design a test to make sure you get what you need.

Solicit Interest
Next, the purchasing agent issues a Solicitation of Interest to find out who might provide the re-quired products or services. This is when you advertise your job using every possible resource. Ask for referrals from employees, customers and vendors. Advertise on job boards, your website, in the local papers and on social media.

Evaluate Bidders’ Qualifications
In the hiring world, this is a series of simple steps to ensure better hiring decisions.

First conduct a telephone pre-screen to see if applicants meet your basic hiring criteria (the ability to work the hours needed, reliable transportation, etc.). There’s no point in continuing with someone who doesn’t pass this step.
Worthwhile candidates are then tested to see if they meet the requirements called out in your specs. The first tests are for the required physical skills and mental capacities.

Once those are verified, standardized attitude and personality tests are available to identify those people best suited to the job or you can build these questions into your interview.

Issue Your RFP
Just like qualified vendors submit their proposals, you have identified a group of people you want to invite in for the big test — the interview.

Use structured interview question sets to get better results. By asking each applicant the same questions, you’re able to compare apples-to-apples.

Analyze The Bids
Purchasing agents will enter all the information into a spreadsheet and analyze the data to make a decision. When hiring, you have four things to consider and weigh as follows:
• Test results count for 30 percent
• The interview counts for 30 percent
• References count for 30 percent (if you’ve thoroughly checked them)
• Your personal perception only counts for 10 percent because you have normal, human biases based on first impressions.

When you find good-to-great ratings in all four areas, you’ve found the right person for the job. 

Mel Kleiman is a certified speaking professional, writer, pragmatic business owner and consultant on frontline employee recruiting, selection, and retention best practices. He serves as president of Humetrics, is a member of a number human resource-related boards and organizations. He is also a longstanding member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the National Speakers Association.

Mel is the author of five books, including the bestselling “Hire Tough, Manage Easy - How to Find and Hire the Best Hourly Employees,” as well as hundreds of articles for numerous magazines and trade journals worldwide.