Finding and hiring game-changing talent is critical in today’s competitive business environment. Even the best-run companies, ones where hiring managers understand the potential of finding and acquiring great talent, sometimes overlook the flip side of the hiring process: the potentially devastating impact of a bad hire. As an executive recruiter, I know how much is at stake in the hiring process, and strive to pair businesses with dedicated and qualified employees.
High performers are typically well employed, not looking on job boards and not posting their resumes on career sites. Without the guidance of an executive recruiter, it can be difficult to attract this top talent. Personal networks and internal resources have value, but generally include only a small percentage of the talented professionals out there to consider. This limited view can result in a small pool of prospective hires, and greater potential for a hiring mistake.
Avoid derailing your organization by learning to spot these four common hiring mistakes:
Overestimating the applicant’s skill set
A charming and enthusiastic applicant might tempt you to overlook a lack of relevant skills. When an employee is under-qualified, missed opportunities, mistakes, and training expenses are obvious costs. Less obvious, however, is the productivity you’ll sacrifice from good employees, who often must compensate for low-performing colleagues. Great workers who are surrounded by poorer ones report lower job satisfaction – so under-qualified hires may indirectly cost you your best talent. Avoid hiring under-qualified employees by producing detailed job postings, and ensuring that the hiring manager understands the necessary skill sets for the job.
Assuming the employee will adapt to your corporate culture
Great companies encourage employees to speak up and drive innovation. An employee that consistently works against the grain, however, can disrupt the dynamics of a team. This friction will result not only in decreased productivity for the employee, but a frustrating work atmosphere for the whole group. Ensure that new employees are the right fit by building an employment brand. Make it clear how the office works and what qualities are valued at every level of the organization.
Hiring a poor team player
It’s crucial to ask the right behavioral questions during an interview. Employees that constantly arrive late, leave early, or fail to put the interests of the company first can have untold impacts on the atmosphere and efficiency of an office. They can sour a corporate culture, tarnish the company’s reputation, and disengage their colleagues. In the interview, ask the new hire to explain why he or she is excited about working at your company. Most importantly, always ask for references: if an employee seems leery of offering high-level contacts, there is probably a reason.
Making a short-term hire for a long-term position
No company wants to deal with a high employee turnover rate. The time and effort required to reassess your needs, post a position, conduct interviews, and train new hires saps valuable resources from other projects. For this reason, it’s crucial that a new hire is committed to growing within your company. Questions from applicants early in the hiring process about salary, promotions, or severance packages are red flags. A potential hire’s passion for the organization should be obvious – he or she should exude enthusiasm during an initial interview.
There’s no such thing as a “perfect fit” – every new employee needs time and support to grow into a role. By identifying sour apples at the interview stage, however, you’ll have a greater chance of making a hiring investment with real potential.
What strategies do you use to find great, committed, and culturally compatible talent?