By: Alyssa Johnson and Allison Ausmus, Eide Bailly’s Recruiting Team
We begin with a story. You need help to build your company. So you decide to hire some new staff. You start out with high hopes. After all, this person will be the missing piece to your team puzzle. You write the position, it gets approved and you open it. You go through all the tried & true steps, remain patient and trust that the perfect candidate will come along.
Unfortunately, this is the way too many business go about their hiring process. They stick with what has worked in the past. After all, if it’s not broke, why fix it? They don’t worry about adopting new practices in order to attract the best candidates. Rather, they hold out hope that the right candidate will find them. But what if they don’t?
Hiring the right people has a huge impact, no matter the size of your company. So it’s important to get it right. In order to help you prevent these mistakes from happening, we’ve compiled a list of mistakes organizations make when it comes to finding and hiring the right people.
We’re not saying they’re magical or anything, but by avoiding these mistakes you can hopefully have a much smoother and more successful hiring process:
Not updating the job posting or having an unclear job description. We’ve all been there. Someone leaves and you need someone ASAP to replace them. So you copy paste the old job posting and use it.
Do yourself a favor and take a moment to re-evaluate what you really want when you have an open position. Is this truly the role you need? Did the last person live up to your expectations? If your job posting does not accurately depict what you are looking for, you are going to have a frustrating time hiring & retaining your new employee.
Also, keep in mind what top talent is looking for: advancement potential. Research from Randstad reveals that most staff leave firms due to lack of career advancement. So it would be wise to develop a position that has the opportunity for advancement.
Relying on employee referrals to fill the position. While employee referrals are great, they should not be your only source of candidates. When you rely solely on employee referrals, you can limit the types of candidates you get, as well as the diversity of candidates (which can have some serious legal ramifications). Rather, encourage employee referrals by asking your current employees to share an open position with their network. Then post the position in a variety of places.
Hiring for a perfect paper match. Some qualifications and skills are nonnegotiable when it comes to hiring (think education requirements, certifications or credentials, as well as pervious relevant experience). But remember, you’re not perfect and neither are the people you’re interviewing. So think through what skills are absolute and what skills are “nice to haves” but not deal breakers.
Don’t get stuck in the rut of finding that “perfect candidate.” If you expect to find someone who checks off every requirement on the job posting, it can also draw out the hiring process for a long time.
Not conducting background checks or reference checks. A company, at minimum, should be conducting background checks on every candidate they plan to extend an offer to. Make sure this happens before an offer is even made. Why? Well surveys show that as many as a third of candidates lie on their resume.
Reference checking is more gray. Companies need to be careful when conducting reference checks, as they do not want to jeopardize the candidate’s current employment. A best practice is to ask the candidate for references of past employers (not family, friends, etc.). Let them know the type of people you would like to have as references, such as current or previous supervisors or managers, a client, a vendor, a subordinate or a coworker.
Once you get the go-ahead from the candidate to reach out to their references, make sure you know what you’re asking. Jot down questions you want to ask or any issues you want to address. Let the reference know this will be kept confidential, and then make sure you do just that – keep it confidential and use this information as a piece in decision making.
Not preparing before the interview. You’ve found a great candidate and you schedule an interview for Thursday. It’s now Thursday morning and your week has been crazy so you haven’t prepared at all. This isn’t great. Failing to do a structured interview is a big mistake. Structured interviews have been shown to have twice the predictive reliability than unstructured interviews.So what should you do?
- Prepare and write down a list of standard interview questions to ask every candidate you interview for this particular position
- Take time to review the resume and develop questions based on items you would like to address
- Gather information you want to share with the candidate about your culture, team dynamics, projects they will work on, job expectations, advancement potential, etc.
Hiring can be exhilarating, frustrating and oh so rewarding. With these tips in mind, you will be on the way to identifying the ideal fit for your organization, while providing a positive experience for you, your team mates and the candidate.