Hiring seems like a straightforward process, but it’s actually one of the most difficult parts of running a business. Forbes estimates that the true cost of a bad hire can be thousands of dollars, not to mention the negative effects on the entire workplace. If you want to create a positive company culture full of team players, you need to take the hiring process seriously.
You want to hire your next candidate quickly and effectively. You don’t want to spend too much money or time looking for the perfect person, but you do want to get it right. Here are the most common hiring mistakes to look out for so you can feel confident in your company culture.
Mistake 1: Focusing on Experience
Professional experience is important, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not always the most important thing on someone’s resume. If you’re trying to fill a high-profile position, it only makes sense to look for a high-profile candidate, right? Wrong. This type of experience-only thinking can be a turn off to quality candidates, and it puts the focus on the wrong thing.
Instead of weighing candidates based on their experience, look at their potential. Certain aspects of job roles can be taught to people at a certain point, but work ethic and a positive attitude cannot be. While you should look for candidates who are capable of doing the work expected of them, you shouldn’t ignore those who show the right motivation and teachability because they have one year less of experience than another candidate.
Mistake 2: Seeing Only Formal Education
Like mistake number one, it’s easy to fall for formal education. That expensive degree looks amazing on paper, does it really translate to any difference in real life? Of course, education is valuable, but don’t take a degree as a sure thing that the candidate is more qualified than another applicant with more experience.
Realize that classroom performance does not always translate to work performance. Pay attention to a candidate’s professional history and see if they put their degree to good use. This isn’t an admissions committee for a higher-education program, so don’t treat it like one.
Mistake 3: Making the Interview Too Important
We’ve all had less-than-ideal interviews in our lives. Maybe it was your first job after college, or you were running late. Either way, you should always avoid placing too much emphasis on the interview. Yes, it’s great to meet someone in person and see how they interact in the office space. However, “interview superstars” might be nothing more than a shining first impression. The Boston Globe even went so far as to suggest interviewing keeps employers from finding the best candidate.
Educate yourself on the best questions to bring candidates out of their shells during interviews. It’s not always as easy as asking someone to talk about a time they helped solve a problem. Think of outside of the box questions that help you understand who these candidates really are, not just how they feel today.
Mistake 4: Not Asking for Results
While it’s common in some industries to ask for portfolios of past work, this is far from mainstream across the board. Instead of asking candidates if they can perform a role, discover for yourself. Things like sample assignments, short responses, and previous workplace stats can help you determine if an applicant has what it takes to be a good fit.
For example, if you’re hiring for an accountant position for a small business, ask the candidate to explain a sample invoice like the one from FreshBooks.
(source: https://www.freshbooks.com/invoice-templates/web-design). Not only will you see for yourself how well the candidate understands his or her role, but you’ll learn more about their own style of communication.
Results can also be communicated on the resume. Was this candidate a top performer in his or her last role? Have they led projects in the past? These are signs of bigger characteristics that are important to your office culture.
Finding the right candidates takes time, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. As you’d expect, the process isn’t black and white. There is no clear “one best” choice for the right person to suit your company. Instead, learn to look beyond experience and education. Look for real results, and know that interview “superstars” might fall flat once the first impression fades.
Try to picture your candidates as if they’re already a member of the team. Will they fit in? Do they have something of value to offer beyond their experience? Things like communication, teamwork, and efficiency aren’t always teachable. Your company culture depends on your ability to source strong, high-performing candidates who are a pleasure to work with. Don’t catch yourself making any of these mistakes.
Image Credit to Christin Hume on Unsplash
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