Hiring Mistakes You Might be Making – And How to Avoid Them

July 31st, 2013

It can cost up to three times the salary of a new employee when you make a bad hiring decision. So, how can you ensure you’re doing it right the first time? Consider these common hiring mistakes and how to avoid them:

Your Process is Not Clearly Defined

  • Start with a prescreening interview or questionnaire. This gives you an objective tool to determine basic differences between candidates, so you can narrow the field.
  • Pay attention when checking references. A hesitation or attempt to dodge a question may be a hint that a candidate is not as qualified as he claims.
  • Fully vet the candidate’s claims. Check previous employment, education and experience. One in three resumes leaves out essential information, and up to 40 percent of resume data can be false or misleading.

Your Interview Questions are Inconsistent

Keep questions consistent from candidate to candidate to ensure objectivity and make your final decision more clear cut. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time and be sure to address:

  • Subject matter expertise: Determine the specific business, industry, technical and process skills and knowledge the candidate must have in order to succeed.
  • Look for the behavioral traits listed below, divide them into three categories – basic, competent and master (or use similar terminology that works for you) – and then rank all candidates objectively.
    • Does the candidate have the necessary characteristics for the job?
    • Can the candidate identify and describe specific experiences that illustrate the successful application of these traits?
    • Does the candidate demonstrate a commitment to personal and professional growth?
    • Here are some additional tips for posing these behavior-oriented interview questions:
      • Make sure questions are clear, succinct and open-ended.
      • Request input from your colleagues and managers, to make sure your questions are clear.

Your Expectations are Unrealistic

Don’t be lulled into believing the perfect candidate will come along or that you’ll find a clone of your current superstars.

  • Divide desired skills and traits into two categories: “must haves” and “desirables.” Must haves are non-negotiable; you can cross candidates off your list immediately if they don’t have them. Desirables are those qualities you’d really like to see, but realistically could move forward without or develop later in an otherwise robust candidate match. Accept the fact that you may not get all the desirables, at least not right up front.

You’re Taking Too Much Time

Taking too much time with your hiring decision can kill a candidate’s interest if they’re left dangling for too long.

  • Schedule interviews within a few days of one another and move through them efficiently.
  • Make every effort to come to a final decision within a few business days after the last interview is completed – and then immediately start informing candidates of your choice.

There are Too Many People Involved

Group interviews are beneficial and important as you seek to ensure that a candidate is a good cultural fit and a valuable team player. But be careful not to get too many people involved.

  • Remember, most company human resource departments will conduct reference checks to help you with initial screening.

Your Compensation Rate is Not Competitive

High-quality individuals require attractive salary offers – and they’re worth it in the long run.

  • Keep in mind that there is likely to be a counter offer from a candidate’s current employer. Anticipate this and be prepared to negotiate.

Working with a recruitment firm can help you avoid negative backlash that comes with hiring mistakes. To partner with an experienced professional, contact Select Group, Inc. today!

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