Bad Hiring Practices, or Why You Need to Leave Your Gut Out of It

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Sep 20, 2013

Pride comes before the fall, or so it goes.

It also comes before bad hiring practices.

You may have started a young, successful company or even hired a few quality employees already. As well as you’ve done, you still need to understand that hiring with your gut is a risky practice that can backfire in a big way.

Confirmation bias

That warm feeling in the pit of your stomach is the same sensation that will completely cloud your faculties of fair evaluation. Judging applicant Joe Shmo and his ability to build your lead pipeline? The quickest way to skew your evaluation is to listen to your gut feeling.

Historically, the most common methods for hiring a new employee were:

  • Nepotism;
  • Liking someone, and then offering the job;

No wonder such methodically tactical methods have led to the common statistic used for describing hiring success rates: 50 percent.

Common mistakes

Geoff Smart, a CEO and bestselling author on hiring, narrows down common hiring mistakes into 2 areas.

They [people hiring] actually don’t think about the outcomes they want someone to achieve. They think about the profile of the kind of person they want to attract.”

So how are you hiring? Are you thinking about this position’s duties and responsibilities or the potential characteristics of your new employee?

Consider the literal deliverables you expect from this position — find candidates to produce those tangible results.

You could hog the interview

If you become smitten with a potential candidate, you run the risk of making this new hire more about yourself. You can make this same mistake in nearly every hiring scenario, but hiring with your gut makes it more likely.

You, across from a stranger, get a fuzzy feeling, and then start creating reasons for this person to work for you.

  • He doesn’t have the requisite experience, but neither did I when I started.
  • She doesn’t have the right degree, but I remember the vague nature of many college classes.

On a side note, leave the hypothetical situations for your friends. You won’t receive the valuable information you think clever questions solicit. You’ll hear speculative suggestions that don’t exist in reality.

How to hire, better

  1. Base your hiring decisions on tangible information.
  2. Evaluate candidates with numeric scores. Use these scores and quantifiable bits of information to inform the feelings that could creep in, no matter how much you hope to eradicate it.
  3. If you must use a feeling, let the intangible connection help you decided if a candidate is a good fit for your business.

Think of it this way: Feeling for fit, not for function.

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.

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