4 Tips for Hiring Someone Who Will Stay

A perfect résumé doesn't mean a perfect match.

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Employees leave jobs for many reasons, so predicting who will stay for the long term is more than a little challenging for hiring managers. Here are some tips that can increase an interviewer's chances of getting it right:

1) Don't rush the process: "When people don't work out, the first question I ask them is 'How long did you spend with your boss at any single meeting in the interview process?' " says Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer of the recruitment firm Adecco Group North America. The answer is usually less than 90 minutes. "I think one of the biggest mistakes the job search process does is shortchange the time you need to spend with your boss," she says. "Not enough time was spent upfront in checking each other out."

2) Keep fit in mind: Last spring OfficeTeam, which specializes in the temporary placement of administrative professionals, found that 85 percent of human-resources managers polled said their companies have lost an employee who wasn't a good fit with the work environment. To help you find a good match, Reesa Staten, director of workplace research for OfficeTeam's parent company, Robert Half International, suggests asking candidates to describe the environments likely to bring out their best—and worst—performances.

3) Scrutinize a person's work history: Ask why candidates moved from one job to another, and look for patterns. If a person has changed jobs every few years over a long period, for instance, the candidate may already have an expiration date with your firm, too.

4) Identify the important traits: Consider the characteristics of those who have succeeded in the role to know which qualities to look for in candidates. Depending on the position, those may include attention to detail, persuasiveness, and ability to deal with ambiguity. "If you don't define what you're looking for," says Steve Gross, global leader of broad-based rewards at the human-resources consulting firm Mercer, "you run the risk of getting very much of a surface impression—how they speak, what their technical skills are—without getting to those behaviors that drive long-term success."