One of the most important decisions a business makes is choosing who it hires. Simply put, selecting the right staff for the job can make all the difference in how well a company performs, and how efficiently a team operates and gets things done. Hiring missteps can lead to major problems; including costly staff turnover and uncooperative teams.In our nearly 50 years helping organizations improve the quality of hire, we’ve seen example after example of the same mistakes. Here’s a list of some of the more common missteps we’ve seen. Trusting your gut
It’s hard to avoid the “just feels right” impression you can get while vetting a would-be staffer. But tempting as it is to go with your intuition, you should hire using a range of results-based methods such as assessment tests, work samples and even job simulations. Make sure your hiring process involves a healthy amount of qualitative and quantitative data based on your company’s focus areas to avoid this mistake.
Optimistic screening When hiring, many businesses look for qualities identified in a candidate that match the specific job requirements and company culture. But when you’re tuned to target positive features, you can completely miss out on a candidate’s problem areas. This can result in a candidate’s weaknesses being given short shrift in favour of the (sometimes minimal) positive markers. To counter this, remember that you’re looking at a candidate’s whole profile and history. Pay attention to anything that suggests they wouldn’t succeed at the job.
Uncertain expectations Many managers don’t enter the hiring process with a crystal clear sense of the job specifics – skills, abilities and knowledge – they’re looking for in an employee. To remedy this, draw up a clear profile of what you need in a hire before you start screening applicants.
Talking more than the candidate You’re there to decide whether someone has the right stuff for the job, not to sell them on why the job is a good one. Don’t spend more than a fraction of the job interview – roughly 20 per cent – talking. Let the applicant do the bulk of the talking in the interview so you have a full read on him or her.
Accepting vague answers Don’t let an applicant get away with giving general or vague answers to your pointed questions. Some people may worry that cutting a candidate off mid-sentence for more detail is rude; not so. You want to gather as much information on their skills and experience as you can to make a confident hiring decision. If they’re evading a question, don’t let them move on. Instead, follow-up and probe them for as much detail as they can provide. The more of this interview “data” you can collect, the better your hiring will be.