Hiring a new employee is a big deal for a small business. When you don’t have a lot of workers, everyone has to pull proportionately more weight. To ensure your new hire is the right one, make sure you’re not falling victim to these six common hiring mistakes!
1. Not defining job duties clearly.
You can’t hire the right person if you don’t know who you want. Before you ever put the word out that you’re hiring, clearly assess what duties the job will involve, who the person will report to, what experience and skills are needed and what type of personality will work well both in the job and for your business. Explaining all this (whether is a want ad or job posting) will not only help attract qualified candidates, but also help you assess each one’s suitability based on the definitions you created.
2. Not having a process in place.
In addition to thinking through the type of person you want for the job, you also need to create a uniform process that you can use during intake and interviews. For instance, do you want every employee to send a resume, take a specific test or provide a certain number of references? Having everyone complete the same steps ensures that you can compare apples to apples.
3. Talking more than you listen.
Many small business owners hate interviewing job candidates. As a result, they make one of the most common hiring mistakes by hurrying through the interview, filling up any dead air with their own chatter. Don’t be afraid to be quiet during an interview, and let the candidates fill any silences. What they say could win them the job—or show you decisively why they’re horribly wrong for it.
4. Ignoring cultural fit.
The best candidate in the world on paper may not fit into your corporate culture at all. I still remember one employee I hired decades ago who passed every test with flying colors, but fell apart in the real world of our company’s fast-paced, casual environment. Don’t get so enamored with a person’s qualifications that you fail to consider how he or she will mesh with other employees, clients and customers.
5. Trusting your gut too much—or too little.
We’ve all done it—fallen in love with a job candidate on first handshake, then brushed off all the myriad ways he or she didn’t quite fit the profile of what we were looking for. At the other extreme, if a candidate meets all your requirements but just rubs you the wrong way, it’s important to pay attention to your instincts. Don’t use your gut as your sole measure of a candidate, but don’t ignore it, either.
6. Not checking references.
Finding the perfect employee isn’t easy, so when you think you’ve finally done it, it’s natural to want to skip the time-consuming step of checking references. Don’t. Contact schools and colleges to make sure the candidate earned the degrees and certifications he or she claims. Contact former employers to verify dates of employment and get as much of a sense as you can of the candidate’s performance. If the person is an entry-level employee with no work history, ask for and reach out to personal references.
Rieva Lesonsky is a small business contributor for Fundera and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.