We last spoke about the importance of employee engagement to a well-run business. Now let’s look at the initial step to create engaged employees: hiring — specifically, hiring correctly.

What is your system for hiring? Do you have a system?

All businesses, no matter the size, should be run by systems, and the first system in the cycle of business is the hiring system. This one system will be a critical factor in determining the type and caliber of people you attract to apply for any open position.

There are three essential phases to hiring correctly: recruiting; interviewing; and assessing.

Jason Adler is a John Maxwell-certified executive coach (www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/jasonadler) helping people and their organizations hire and keep quality employees.

Jason Adler is a John Maxwell-certified executive coach (www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/jasonadler) helping people and their organizations hire and keep quality employees.

In recruiting, it is important to begin with the end in mind. Create an avatar of the perfect candidate. Include a description of what outcomes and results will be expected. Instead of a job description, you create a picture of your future employee and what that person must be capable of. All this helps to make the role of an interviewer a little easier.

One of my clients has a recruiting system in which the goal is that 30 percent of the applicants, and 50 percent of hires for any non-entry-level position, come from within the organization. This is called internal recruiting.

Internal recruiting gives employees a career path and not just a job. The investment of onboarding a current employee compared with a new one is minimal. Most important, when people know there is a good chance of promotion from within, they will usually become more engaged employees.

If you have a smaller business and cannot recruit internally, what should you do?

Start by asking for referrals. Referrals are the best thing after internal recruiting. Ask friends, family, employees, customers and their friends and families, and vendors.

A key recruiting statistic is that 35 percent to 55 percent of jobs are filled without being published. Word of mouth is usually the best advertising.

What happens when you are forced into the modern-day equivalent of the “Now Hiring” sign, the infamous ad on an online job board?

The question that needs to be asked first is who will manage the onslaught of applications and résumés. Will it be someone in house, or will you outsource this task to an agency? Try it once in house, and I think you will agree that outsourcing is the better decision.

Many technological tools are available to help screen for the best candidates.

As we move to the interviewing phase, consider a different approach: no upfront résumé required.

Yes, there is a standard interviewing method. After sorting through applications and résumés, you do multiple rounds of interviewing to find the right candidate.

The inherent flaw in this process is that job seekers are (or at least should be) at their best during the interview, prepared with answers to most questions. Yes, you can ask open-ended questions to make them think, but oftentimes the person you interview is not the same person you hire in regard to energy, focus, skills and competence.

For clients looking for a better way of interviewing, I recommend a four-step group interview process without looking at résumés. This specific process defines outcomes expected from people as opposed to job descriptions.

Candidates are asked to follow a specific set of directions before being invited to a group interview. During the group interview, they are asked to distinguish themselves from the crowd. With multiple people in the room, leadership comes to the forefront. The cream rises to the top, and you get to pick the best of the best for the assessment phase.

The final phase is assessing one or more candidates to determine who is a fit for your culture and possesses the skill set for the position. The marketplace offers a multitude of assessments, or you can create one of your own.

Regretfully, this last phase is often skipped. The information gleaned from these assessments will confirm or deny your gut feelings on this potential hire.

No one can make the right hiring decision all the time. However, following these three phases will improve the probability of a good hire.

There is a theory that says hire slowly, fire quickly. Firing people because you did not hire correctly is not fair to the employee and is costly to the organization. Take your time, implement all three phases, and welcome your new employees with open arms.

In my next installment we will examine the process and benefits of onboarding completely. Stay tuned.

Jason Adler is a John Maxwell-certified executive coach (www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/jasonadler) helping people and their organizations hire and keep quality employees.

Read More: Coach’s Corner: Put Your People First