Recruiting and Staffing

Is the World Full of Slackers, or Do I Just Suck at Hiring?

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It’s easy to make hiring decisions, but it’s significantly harder to make good hiring decisions.

Suppose a man named Bob interviews with your company. He seems to know his stuff, and he roots for your favorite football team, so you hire him.

Unfortunately, it turns out that Bob spends most of his day playing Zynga games on Facebook and browsing Reddit. Now you’ve got to fire Bob and start the hiring process all over again. What a waste of your valuable time and money.

The hiring process is loaded with pitfalls that can compromise your ability to find someone competent, landing you nothing but nincompoops for your efforts. If you’re struggling to find a productive new employee for your company, you’re probably making some of these mistakes as we speak.

Take a look at the following situations and ask yourself if any of them seem familiar.

You hire on impulse, looking for “Mr. Right Now”

Sometimes your company really, really needs an extra pair of hands around the office. That’s understandable, but desperation doesn’t mean you should go with your gut and extend an offer to the first candidate that gives you a good feeling.

Ignore the old adage about knowing whether or not a candidate is right for your company seven (7) seconds into the interview. Hiring a good employee requires careful analysis and vetting. It’s important to make sure that the person has the skills to be competent at the most difficult aspects of their job and that he or she has the right attitude to become a productive team member.

Since impulses are, by nature, neither careful nor analytical, it’s probably best not to act on them. The next time you get that warm, fuzzy feeling about a candidate, slam on the brakes and sleep on it. You’ll make a better decision after some serious thought.

You rely too much on the interview

Believe it or not, the tried-and-true personal interview really isn’t that useful in helping companies make good hiring decisions. A University of Michigan study found that an interview increases an employer’s chances of picking the best candidate by less than 2 percent.

Why? There are two main reasons. First, most candidates have been through so many interviews that they know exactly how to answer questions in a way that makes them seem like an ideal fit. Second, the interview gives candidates an opportunity to “kiss up” to you, which can distort your view.

Not enough emphasis on recruiting

Recruiting and hiring are related, but they’re two different processes. Successful recruiting depends upon accurately defining the available position so that the bulk of the resumes are submitted by ideal applicants. The hiring process involves weeding through those applicants and choosing the lucky dog who gets the job.

If you’re not bringing in the right talent, you need to update your job descriptions. Think carefully about the position you’re advertising. Provide candidates with an accurate and engaging description of their duties and responsibilities.

It’s okay to sell yourself, but don’t sugarcoat things in an effort to bring in a greater number of applicants. The more honest you are with the recruiting process, the better your field of candidates will be.

You’re not organized

The hiring process can be complex, confusing and exhausting – especially if you work for a larger company and your inbox is flooded with new applications every day.

Forwarding resumes to the rest of the hiring team and organizing meetings to discuss potential candidates is a tedious business, and it can be enough to drive even the most grizzled human resources professional insane. Consequently, it’s easy for the ideal “A+” candidate to be overlooked in the shuffle.

The more organized your hiring process is, the better.

At the end of the day, hiring a new employee is a lot like gambling in Vegas. All the references and skills tests in the world can’t guarantee that any one candidate will be a “sure thing.” But even though you can’t hit blackjack every time, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your field of candidates clear of busts.

By avoiding these common hiring process pitfalls, you’ll dramatically increase your odds of finding that perfect new employee. That way, you can make sure that you never hire a guy like Bob again.

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.

Eric Gaydos is the former Buzz Marketing Manager at The Resumator, a SaaS applicant tracking system and recruiting platform trusted by many of the fastest-growing companies in the world. You can also connect with The Resumator on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theresumator.
  • John Bushfield

    Eric – I’m surprised that you failed to mention perhaps the most  important component in the selection process:  Assessment tools.  It’s been proven time and time again that proper use of an assessment tool increases the odds of successful hires by a significant factor.  Its also true that the least developed skill among managers today is interviewing skills.  So it only makes sense to have something objective and relevant to review during the interview process.  There are some good ones out there, all validated to be non-discriminatory and compliant with all the laws surrounding the hiring practice.  Its a wacky world out there, and its getting wackier.  Hiring managers need all the help they can get, especially since most of ‘em would have trouble interviewing a sack of hammers.  Well, that may be a little strong, but you get my point.

  • Bob d’Gamer

    lets face it. most people in HR are useless. Once in a while a useful person will emerge. Hiring criteria is polluted with wish lists and unattainable employer goals. Pretending otherwise is justification of the HR department.