Oct 25, 2013

With Halloween around the corner, it might be time to admit hiring can be downright scary. You want to find the best people for your company before the competition picks them off one by one.

More importantly, however, you want to avoid making bad decisions. Some of these hiring mistakes can be truly scary; one in four hiring managers said a bad hire set their company back more than $50,000!

With facts this spooky, what better place to look for advice than horror movies? Scary movies tap into our primal fears. Many of these common fears can apply to the hiring process — because, just like picking up a hitchhiker on the side of the road or going to an abandoned cabin, you never know what you’ll find.

Here are some (unintended) hiring lessons from the masters of horror. Learn from their mistakes in order to hire candidates who will save the day, instead of office zombies.

1. Never split up

This horror movie convention is an old one.

Someone will hear a strange noise and the group will split up to investigate the source. Most of the characters never see each other again, because once the group has splintered, they are infinitely easier to pick off.

This is such a common horror movie trope that recent scary films feel the need to tweak the stereotype or acknowledge it before separating characters.

The hiring process is not exactly like exploring a haunted house, but it certainly requires teamwork. Your hiring team should be collaborating to find the best people, not splitting up.

Having multiple points of view when considering viable candidates is the best way to ensure your company doesn’t waste time when hiring top talent. Recruiters who rely on qualifications can balance out those who rely on their gut instinct, and vice versa.

Considering ultra-competitive fields like the technology sector are hiring at twice the rate of other industries, it’s only smart to get everyone on the same page so you can lock down the talent you need faster than your competitors.

Whether your team is evaluating a never-ending pile of resumes or connecting with candidates in the interview process, it’s important to stick together. While not everyone can always be on the same page, technology like sharable video interviews and internal social media make it easier to collaborate with even the most frighteningly busy team members.

2. Share what Your Company Did Last Summer

In the teen slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer, a hit-and-run turns deadly for a bunch of teens. This goes to show that your past experiences have the power to influence your current success. For companies hoping to establish their key messaging and pull in top talent, however, it’s extremely important to disseminate your message through every channel available.

In today’s realm of constant social media updates, this is more important than ever before. Today, there are more smartphones on Earth than people and one in four people worldwide will use social networks, so it only makes sense for companies to use social media to share information about their culture and solidify their employer brand.

Your social media channels should answer several key questions for interested candidates:

  • What does your company do?
  • What makes your company unique?
  • What milestones has your company achieved?
  • What’s the company culture like?

Most importantly, it should answer the question of why a talented candidate would want to work for your organization.

3. Record your company activity

In found-footage hits Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, the main characters recorded their spooky encounters on film. This led to big chills (and a bigger box office) for these films, but this idea can be a big boon to your recruitment process, too.

You don’t need an office haunting in order to find the value online video can bring to your hiring process. For instance, creating a company recruitment video can be a great way to show interested candidates what life is really like in your organization. You don’t need to record paranormal activity, just what an average day is like in your organization, allowing interested applicants to get a feel for the company culture.

Your company can also use online video to aid in the interviewing process. Using one-way video interviews, where candidates answer employers’ written questions on video, can cut out the scarily time-consuming phone screen. This helps your company get personal with the best candidates faster, leading to less time wasted chasing down ghosts and more time connecting with the right people.

4. Control your image

In the horror classic Frankenstein, the titular monster turned out to be kind, not evil. But the villagers didn’t understand that Frankenstein’s monster was an OK guy and chased him with torches. Conversely, people aren’t afraid of Casper, probably because he has the qualifier ‘the friendly ghost’ right in his title.

Your company has a certain brand identity, and you would do well to pay attention to what this brand is saying about your organization. There is nothing scarier than a poorly conceived company brand.

Pay attention to how your company is perceived and what messages your brand is telling interested applicants about what life is like in the workplace. Is your brand attracting great candidates or does it have them running for their lives? Don’t fall into the Frankenstein trap; let applicants know your company is a friendly place for talent.

Hiring great people really doesn’t have to be scary. Social media, collaboration, and utilizing online video are all easy ways to make sure your company attracts the right kind of people. When you hire your next superstar employee, be sure to thank Freddy and Jason for the advice.

What are some hiring lessons you can take from your favorite horror movies? Share in the comments!