Late last year Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, let it slip that bad hiring decisions probably cost his company around $100M! It turns out that even companies with millions of dollars to spend and entire departments dedicated to bringing in talent can flub the hiring process if they aren’t careful. There are certain steps you can take to maximize your chances of finding the right candidate, and like any process, skipping some steps can result in a shoddy product.
Here are the pitfalls that you need to watch out for if you want an effective, efficient hiring process.
1. Not understanding the job
If you don’t understand the duties and responsibilities of the job you’re hiring for, then you’re not even in a position to bring in the best candidates. The purpose of a hiring process is to match the job to a person that can do the job. When you have an inaccurate understanding of the job, then your ability to find that right candidate will suffer. To minimize inaccuracies, get input from people that do the job or people who work closely with someone that does the job. Their perspective will help you understand what you need to look for in candidates.
2. Rushing the process
Hiring is not a race. It takes time to identify the candidate with the right combination of personality, motivators, and experience. Rushing the process robs you of the opportunity to learn about any relevant traits in your candidate. Use the interview stage to get to know the person behind the resume and application. That extra bit of insight is the difference between knowing a candidate is a good fit and hoping a candidate is a good fit.
3. Drawing out the process
A drawn out process is a cover for not knowing exactly what you’re looking for or how to find it. Throwing unnecessary hurdles at candidates for the sake of thoroughness will cost you time and candidates. While you’re scheduling your top candidates for another interview with yet another manager, a company that’s on the ball will swoop in and lure them away with a job offer. Sit down with your team and figure out what skills, motivators, and work-style the ideal person for that position should have. Then figure out the most efficient steps you can take (tests, interviews, etc) to identify that person.
4. Hiring on the cheap
Hiring is expensive – there’s no way around that. Recruiting the best candidates requires you to cast a wide net and spend resources to screen the pool until identify the right one for the job. You wouldn’t expect to find an All-Star by searching playgrounds and sandlots, right? The same logic applies to expecting to stumble on high-caliber candidates using minimal resources. Does this mean you need to break the bank? No, but you need dedicate as many resources to the process as it takes to reach the type of candidates that are the best fit.
5. Ignoring personality
Personality goes deeper than just having a nice person around the office. It also factors in to how they do their job, what duties they’re best suited for, and which environments they’d be most productive in. By ignoring how a candidate’s personality would mesh with their duties, you’re hurting your company AND your candidate. You’re wasting resources to bring in someone that’s not an optimal fit for the job; your new employee is stuck in a position that’s not the best use of their talents. Invest resources into finding out what’s behind the experience and skills, and you’ll be in a position to make an informed decision on who is really the best person for the position.
6. Failing to vet
While this problem is usually a part of the cheap hiring process, it’s not exclusive to it. Companies spend thousands of dollars on advertising, profiling, and testing, but then decide that their gut feelings on a candidate are enough. Unless you’re psychic, your gut feeling won’t tell you if your new accountant has an embezzlement conviction in his past, or if your new route sales rep has a few DUIs under her belt. The vetting process isn’t so you can fill your payroll with angels and saints, but rather so you can see if someone has a history of behaviors that would be detrimental to your company’s success.
The key to an effective hiring process is that you have the correct elements in place to filter your applicant pool until you’re left with the best candidate for the position. Doing anything that doesn’t move your company towards that goal is a waste of your resources and your candidates’ time. However you run your hiring process, take some time to examine it for these pitfalls, and then take the necessary steps to address those issues.