Every hiring manager is familiar with the temptation to hire too fast. You know you should take the time to find the perfect person for the job but you also need to fill that role and get help immediately. That’s when it’s all too easy to change your hiring criteria or lower your standards if no one is meeting the bar.
Don’t give in. Hiring is the one thing that can make or break a team, so you should always hire the best people and never compromise. Unfortunately, most managers have never been trained to recruit, interview and close the best candidates.
In fact, Gallup finds that companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82 percent of the time. To ensure you’re picking the best talent, avoid these seven deadly sins of hiring.
1. Hiring takes a back seat
This is at the root of most hiring evils. Recruiting the right person can take months, and meanwhile you’re faced with today’s deadlines and the void you are trying to fill. So what happens is you cut corners and end up hiring a “good enough” candidate.
If you want to build a great team, you need to take on an active role in the hiring process. Focus relentlessly on acquiring talent and make it clear that hiring is everyone’s most important job.
2. Overlooking employee referrals
A stellar reference from an employee you trust, who understands the culture and who has experience working with the candidate is invaluable. Treating a referral as just another resume in the stack risks alienating employees and overlooking highly vetted talent.
Establish a vibrant internal referral program and approach every employee referral with special treatment.
3. Ignoring fit issues
The more you like a candidate (and they like you), the more likely you will miss that they’re actually a bad fit for the role. Do they really want to roll up their sleeves for the job at hand? Will they get excited about your products? Are they really ready to travel as much as required? Is the commute unacceptably long? Do they have a big-company vs. small-company mentality? Both the company and candidate loses if the fit is wrong.
Be exceedingly candid about the company culture and the expectations for the role.
4. Valuing experience over intelligence
Hiring managers and other interviewers too often focus on whether the candidate has the specific experience required for the job today. A recent HBR survey found that 47 percent of employers primarily hire candidates who already hold the same job title as the open position. Intelligence and drive are much more important factors in determining a person’s ability to do the job.
Interview for whether the candidate can contribute to the company’s long-range vision. Evaluate a candidate’s potential in three months or even three years, not week one on the job.
5. Falling for the good talker
If you’ve done a lot of hiring, you know about those candidates who knocked your socks off in the interview with their charisma and charm. They won you over right away, only to find out later that they were a poor fit for the job.
When you find yourself falling for the “great talker,” you have to resist the temptation to just assume that everything else makes them a good fit for your business.
Keep digging for their track record of achievements and be careful that they are giving you convincing evidence vs. what sounds great as a sound bite.
6. Hiring “job hoppers”
It’s hard to define a job hopper. Three companies in three years? Six companies in 10 years? Sometimes there are good reasons for a few short stints, but if you find someone who is constantly moving from one company to another, let another company hire them. You can’t build a great company with uncommitted people.
Look for people who have shown loyalty and have grown within those companies over several years.
7. Don’t take references at face value
Most companies consider reference checks to be just that, “checks” – a quick call, primarily to the references provided by the candidate, after a hiring decision has already been made. A candidate’s references can offer important insights, and taking the time to thoroughly check them is critical. Done right, references can be the last line of defense against making a bad hire.
Conduct full “reference interviews” with a candidate’s former managers and use your network and LinkedIn to contact others who have worked with the candidate in the past. Ask that most important question, “Would you hire this person again?” and listen carefully to the response.
Every employee is critical to your company’s success. If you can avoid these pitfalls, you can recruit and hire the right people to build a great organization.