15 July 2013
Though our intentions are always in the right place when searching for the right candidate, we can sometimes be blinded by our desire to find a great fit fast. This rush can lead to a number of hiring mistakes, common tropes that may seem helpful but only harm the process—and possibly the business—in the long run. That’s why it’s important to take your time, evaluate each candidate closely, and tailor your approach to work for you. To be safe, you may find it helpful to enlist a recruiter to help you along the way. Here are 5 of the top mistakes that hinder these good practices and how working with the right recruitment firm can help you avoid them. 1. Hiring for “hard skills.” It can be all too easy to see a resume that matches up perfectly with the job requirements and think you’ve found your hire. Seeing the required “hard skills” in writing on a resume—years of experience, proficiency with certain software, etc.—is enticing, but what about the candidate’s “soft skills?” Knowing that a potential employee is friendly, cooperative, and a great communicator can often be just as important, if not more so, than knowing that he or she has experience with a specific skill or program. Something like Excel proficiency can be easily taught, whereas people skills and other intangible qualities are a bit more difficult to coach. How recruiters can help: When a recruiter is contracted to assist in the hiring process, they will conduct an interview with a variety of candidates, whether on the phone, via video chat, or in person, prior to recommending who should interview with you. Recruiters will make sure a candidate is qualified for the position, but should you emphasize that certain soft skills are needed or desirable, he or she can then narrow down the pool of interviewees to those who have both types of skill sets. 2. Hiring the first qualified candidate to come your way. Although you may have an immediate need, hiring too quickly can sometimes turn out poorly for both the company and the candidate. You want to make sure you have enough time to properly get to know the candidate in person, weigh them against other candidates, and reference check before making your decision. This way, you can be sure that the candidate is truly qualified for the skills and tasks required of the position. How recruiters can help: It can be tough to find the best possible hire in a short period of time, so recruiters are often able to expedite the process. In addition to prescreening candidates, a recruiter may already have an arsenal of candidates in mind for you. It may just so happen they have already met with qualified candidates before for other positions and they may be able to send them your way before searching for more, thus kick-starting the search early. 3. Hiring the same type of person over and over: In many companies, it can be beneficial to have a staff comprised of diverse personality types. Study after study has shown that we are more likely to hire people we identify with, or people who share similar traits with ourselves. But the best way to stir creativity and collaboration is to have a healthy mix of employees who are all well-suited to their positions and display a wide variety of work styles. How recruiters can help: Whereas it may be difficult for a hiring manager to remain unbiased while hiring, recruiters can do so more easily, and can often help assess and hire for your company’s needs more accurately. It’s natural for us to hire those who share similar values, and in some cases it is important to do so, but an unbiased recruiter can help you make the best choice for your company as a whole. 4. Hiring a poor cultural fit: While hiring diversely can be useful, it’s still important to remember that your company has its own culture and way of doing things. Every organization is different and, therefore, someone with the right credentials still may not work well within your business. It’s important for candidates to make sure the company is a great fit for them, but making a smart cultural match is a mutual effort. Making a poor one can result in both an unhappy employee and employer once again finding themselves in the hiring process sooner than expected. How recruiters can help: They can help find that balance between different working styles and cultural fit. If a hiring manager can detail the type of work environment he or she is hiring for, a recruiter can keep that in mind while searching for candidates and ensure that only fitting candidates get sent to the employer for interviews. 5. Hiring from narrow job descriptions. If you need a great candidate, you write up a very specific description so only those best qualified apply, right? Maybe not. As we stated above, certain things can be taught on the job, and sometimes finding an employee who will get along with his or her coworkers, or one who is a quick and adaptive learner, can be more valuable than hiring one with specific experience but less-than-polished people skills. So being stringent on requirements and writing an extremely narrow job description could turn away potentially great candidates who don’t fit the exact description you provide. How recruiters can help: Provide the details, and a recruiter can write up a job description that targets specific types of candidates for your company. They can also make sure your job listing reaches a wide audience of possible applicants and then help narrow down the candidates in the selection process. This can ensure that you’re attracting the right candidates and interviewing only the best available, and therefore, making the best choice for your company’s long-term goals.