How Shadowing can Help Business Owners Hire the Right Employee

In the current economic climate, every business owner and hiring manager knows how difficult it can be to recruit new employees and keep them. California reported an unemployment rate of 4.1% for the month of November, the most recent month for which statistics have been published. Such a small candidate pool makes it difficult to recruit new employees. With the extra effort needed to attract new associates, it benefits a business owner or a hiring manager even more to make sure that the right employee is hired. To that end, shadowing is a hiring practice that is becoming more popular by ensuring that the best candidate is hired, thereby cutting time, effort, and expense in the hiring process.

What is Shadowing?

Shadowing, simply put, is having candidates come to the business and “work” an amount of time with the peers, supervisors, and managers with whom they would potentially be working. “Work” is in quotation marks above for an important reason, which will be discussed further below.

Why Shadow?

With such a low unemployment rate, job candidates often have choices in where they are going to work. Having potential employees come in and see the company culture and what a typical day looks like serves several purposes such as:

  • Meeting peers and supervisors with whom they will actually be working and not just the general manager or hiring manager
  • Understanding what a typical day in the life of the business looks like since “a fast paced environment” or “challenging conditions” mean different things to different applicants based on previous experience and personal preference
  • Seeing the culture of the business firsthand

At the end of the day, as a business owner, you do not want to have new employees be on-boarded and then leave after two days because they did not understand what the business truly does on a daily basis.

Another important reason to shadow is to make sure your business does not just hire based on one or two interviews. Most business owners or managers can tell you horror stories of hiring a great candidate based on interviewing skills and then having that person turn out to be a nightmare. It is estimated that a new salaried associate costs between six and nine months of salary or more to bring on board. If the wrong person is hired, the business is faced with duplicating those costs and with the loss of productivity as the hiring process is forced to begin again.

Does Shadowing Equal Working?

The reason work is used in quotations above is that when you have someone shadow, you should not have that person actually work. Remember, you want them there to see how the business operates and to meet the other employees so that both parties can see if they will be a fit. There are potential legal and pay implications if they actually do work while in the facility, so a thorough shadowing policy is a good idea.

If you are a business owner and you are interested in crafting a shadowing policy or if you need to come up with a solid hiring process, an experienced employment attorney can help. If you are in the Los Angeles or San Francisco area, give the skilled attorneys at the De Cardenas Law Group a call at either 626-577-6800 (Los Angeles) or 415-590-4869 (San Francisco) or click here to set up a consultation today to see what we can do for your business.