Human Resources News & Insights

6 big reasons managers hire duds

Hiring missteps: They cost companies a lot of time and money — and in the end, create a lot of extra work for HR. Here’s some help for guiding managers to make the best hiring decisions possible.

No manager’s going to make the right decision 100% of the time. But avoiding these common mistakes will help them increase the odds:

At the start of the process

The recruiting effort should start with a good job description and decent pool of candidates. Without those, you’re likely to end up hiring the wrong person. Here are two manager mistakes that can get in the way:

  • Requirements are too narrow. It’s a common mistake for a manager to list too many “requirements,” or focus too much on the less-important criteria. Often, too much emphasis is placed on skills that can be taught quickly in on-the-job training anyway — as long as the candidate is a good learner and can adapt quickly.
  • They don’t help HR prep the candidates. Since HR managers or recruiters are generally the first people to talk to applicants, it’s usually up to them to tell candidates what they need to know before the interview. Make sure you ask hiring managers if there’s any important information you should pass on to help the candidate prepare. That’ll make sure the interview time is well spent.

During the interview

Given how subjective the art of interviewing can be, it’s no surprise a lot of faulty decisions are made based on a candidate’s interview. Still, there are ways managers can get more out of the process.

Some common interview mistakes you can help them avoid:

  • They give first impressions all the weight. Obviously, first impressions are important and will always make a difference. But too often, managers make a decision immediately and won’t be swayed either way, no matter how great — or awful — the rest of the interview is.
  • They go too easy on people. A common mistake people without much interviewing experience make is speaking up during long periods of silence. Usually, the manager asks a tough question, the candidate pauses for too long to think of an answer, so the manager jumps in and lobs a softball question or gives a hint on how to answer. But managers need to learn to use silence to their advantage and wait to hear what the candidate has to say.

When the decision’s made

Here are two more behaviors that can lead to the job offer being handed to wrong person:

  • Candidates are only rated comparatively. After seeing a few obvious duds, the next mediocre candidate that walks in the door might seem like your next superstar. But that doesn’t mean he or she is the best choice, or even a good choice. It’s important for managers to have established criteria and hold off on the offer until they find someone that really meets them.
  • The decision takes too long. Granted, the manager should never rush into a decision. But if the process takes too long, the best candidates are more likely to accept other offers or decide to stick with their current employers.
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  1. Leslie R. says:

    I would like to reinforce your ideas about “starting the process”. I understand employers to be moving toward more of a behavioral interview to determine a person’s character and fit within the organization. And like you mentioned, most of the technical skills can be learned on the job given the candidate has the appropriate background
    And yes I agree that preparing the candidate is key, and an important part of the screening process. During this stage the applicant gains a better understanding of what the position entails and you are able to further access his/her skills in communicating etc.
    Employers should also think about using more resourceful methods of finding the right pools of candidates. Online recruiting marketplaces such as Dayak are providing a more efficient model for the hiring process. Effectively eliminating the middleman, much like eBay where the seller and buyer are introduced and negotiate the price accordingly. Employers may post positions, name their fee, then a nationwide network of recruiters compete to fill the position.
    So many employers are comparing apples to apples, not recognizing talent but simply comparing mediocrity and then “settling” for whichever candidate presents themselves best. This is both unfortunate for both the candidate and the company, since the odds of this relationship lasting is slim.

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