When we make a bad hire, we often look at the hire and not ourselves. We blame their lack of progress or lack of connection with the team on that person rather than actions we’re taking during the recruitment process.
Hiring top talent is one of the most important things you can do for your business. To hire right, Richard Branson says this “takes time, the right questions, and a healthy dose of curiosity.” Unfortunately, we try to move too fast, don’t think about what questions to ask, and are more focused on finding someone to fill a spot rather than someone who is a good fit.
Here are six reasons you’re not finding the right talent for your business - and how to fix them.
#1 You’re not clear with what you want
How many of us have said we want someone with a great personality, but good with numbers? Someone who is experienced, but willing to work for a entry level salary?
Before you begin the search, you have to know who you’re trying to attract.
The job posting, or a job description, is so important to get started down the right path. Go further by writing on clear expectations or goals for the position to accomplish within the first six or twelve months. By doing so, you’re forces you to identify the key responsibilities and attributes the person must have to be successful. And you communicate to candidates - and yourself - who you are looking for.
#2 You let the job posting do all the work
Even if you create and post the job, you need to hustle to find the right candidate. Job postings will attract those who are looking for a job, which is great, but you also need to attract those who aren’t looking. You may be missing out on people who could be a great fit for your business but don’t know it yet.
With online resources such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, you have the opportunity to easily get the message out. LinkedIn in particular allows you to easily search and connect with prospects and your own network. At a minimum, post your job opening on these sites and encourage your network to share the opportunity with others.
And don’t forget to involve your employees. Employee referrals allow you to quickly and more efficiently hire quality candidates.
#3 You take candidates at their word
I’m at an age now where I can say “back in my day.” I’m still getting comfortable with this, but "back in my day" the only things I had to review a candidate’s experience was a resume, an application (maybe), and looking them square in the eye.
The resume is still king as it allows candidates to quickly market themselves to others. But with social media, we have an opportunity to see what they are really like and view their online presence. You can determine how they market themselves and how will they market your business through social media.
#4 You make up your own interview questions
I find myself still making this mistake; I’ll admit it. I go in to an interview with nothing in front of me and just start asking random questions. One time, we talked about Chicago sports (a common distraction for me!) for nearly half the interview. We both enjoyed it, but neither of us had enough time to evaluate each other.
To avoid this, create an easy set of questions to ask. By having questions written down, you can ensure you stay focused during the interview, but also have a common set of questions and responses you can compare to all candidates.
Questions will vary based on role and need, but a common structure I now use includes (1) a general overview. Give candidates a chance to briefly understand their history through their resume—what they’ve done, why they left and accepted jobs, and why they want to work in this role. (2) A heavy dose of behavioral questions, to get a deeper understanding of not only what they’ve done, but how they’ve done it. And (3) an opportunity to ask questions. The interview isn’t a one-way street. Candidates should be given a fair amount of time to ask questions as well.
#5 You don’t ask candidates to do some work
You’ve put a lot of work into the hiring process to this point. It’s ok to ask the candidate to do some as well. This is a great opportunity to not only see what they can do or create, but also confirm if the candidate is truly interested in the role.
Create scenarios or case studies to work through that help gauge how they think through an issue. This can involve math or analytical thinking, or written or verbal communication exercises when relevant.
#6 You don’t involve others
Just because you’re the hiring manager doesn’t mean you’re the only one who can fill the role. Especially in smaller companies or teams, you should involve others who will work closely with the role and who will help this person be successful.
It’s important that all parties have buy-in for long-term success. You may also want to consider including additional team members who can give a different perspective and/or test for culture fit. You get the final hiring decision, but you want to get a wide variety of perspectives in making that decision.
What are other mistakes you’ve made in hiring?