In a busy day, it’s easy to overlook the basics, and that’s especially true in the high-pressure War for Talent.
Seasoned HR pros know from experience that hiring the right employee isn’t a perfect science. Sometimes the best candidates just don’t pan out.
To improve your team’s chances of making the best hire every time, here are 13 common recruiting mistakes that tend to slip back into the process when assessing new talent:
- Unclear job descriptions – You can’t post a generic job description and hope the candidates who show up will match the ideal you have in your head. The position must be properly communicated to the recruiter or human resources organization. Focus on the skills and qualifications a candidate must have and a few skills that would be nice to have. This will help tailor candidates from the beginning.
- Decisions based solely on the resume – You’re not buying a brochure or an advertisement and that’s exactly what a resume is. You need to find out if your candidate has book smarts and street smarts, knowledge he or she can apply in real time and a passion for the work. Not all of that can be communicable in one page. Granted, resumes are important, and you can use the best ones to help you sort through the possibilities. But remember the resume is only what the candidate wants you to see.
- Poor quality interviews – Most managers forget to structure their interviews beforehand. As such, they end up asking poor quality, off-the-cuff questions. Instead, it’s best to prepare beforehand and ask tough, probing questions that might surprise your candidates, but will give you a better idea regarding their past performance and ability to meet the challenge.
- Relying too heavily on interviews – Job interviews are only a small portion of the hiring process and should be weighted accordingly. Keep in mind, candidates probably have a lot of interview experience. They are skillful at presenting themselves in a good light and practiced at responding with ideal answers.
- Doing all the talking – When conducting an interview, it’s tempting to talk about the company, the job or the environment. But these are all things your candidate should already know, so discussing them too much in the interview is a waste of time.
- Signaling the right answers – This is another drawback of talking too much. Many hiring managers tend to give some of their answers away and inadvertently prepare their candidate during the interview process. This is especially true of yes or no questions. Make sure you keep your body language neutral, so applicants don’t simply repeat what they think you want to hear.
- Not treating candidates like experts – If you’re looking to hire an expert, be sure to treat them like one. If you assume the person sitting in front of you is an expert, you conduct the interview differently. You’ll more quickly determine their competency and gather the facts.
- Choosing based on past performance – Those with a successful past aren’t always a sure bet for a successful future. The experience might not correlate. Instead of relying too heavily on past experiences, drill down on skills you’re specifically looking for.
- Hiring in their own image – It’s so tempting to hire the candidates who look just like you do on paper. Don’t fall into the trap of qualifying candidates because they went to the same schools you did or worked at the same companies. Though you might connect with these candidates, these similarities could be hiding some major weaknesses. You also need to be careful when hiring based on personality instead of job skills.
- Selecting too soon – When searching for a candidate, you’re likely in a bind and needing to fill a position as soon as possible. Don’t allow this pressure to push you into a decision too soon. The extra time will ensure you find a great match. Don’t hire to simply fill a gap, or you’re more likely to suffer from hiring remorse.
- Failing to get second opinions – You need more than one perspective, especially when hiring someone to work as part of a team. Get other people involved in the hiring process. Have them conduct informal interviews and compile feedback before making any type of decision on prospective candidates.
- Acting unprofessionally – You expect your applicants to be on time, dress accordingly and give you their undivided attention. Your prospective hires expect the same from you, and you need to make a good first impression. You might have dozens of other priorities or projects on your plate, but when conducting interviews, those other jobs can wait. You work for a great company, and you need to sell the job by starting on time and showing your candidates the respect they deserve. Make your office a place they want to work.
- Not doing the research – Though not every position requires an extensive background check, you should conduct at least some preliminary research about the applicants you are seriously considering. A little online research can suffice. Check their social media platforms to see how they handle their online image. Also, follow up with references to see why candidates failed in a job or what previous managers thought of their work.
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