There are a lot of ways to go wrong in hiring. Studies done by the University of Chicago have shown hiring success rates to hover around 50-55% – the equivalent of flipping a coin. Your company’s human capital should be treated as any other investment and given the proper time and attention to make the right decision. For starters, review these 7 common hiring mistakes to make sure your company isn’t falling victim to these errors:
1. The Halo Effect
Ever been taken in by a candidate with a great resume, or a reputation that precedes him or her? Maybe you’ve had your eye on this person for a long time, wishing that he or she would come to work for you someday. This is the Halo Effect, and it often impedes proper vetting and interviewing. On the surface, this person seems like a great candidate, and maybe they really are, but that doesn’t automatically equate to being a great fit for your company.
2. Pool of One
When you have a limited applicant pool, it’s easy to become desperate, especially if you started out in a place of pain, needing to hire someone as soon as possible. A common error is to choose from a pool of one. You only have one candidate who really qualifies for the job and you like him or her “well enough” so you’re willing to hire them. The problem with this is that you don’t have the opportunity to compare and contrast with other candidates of a similar caliber. In these situations, we advise you to wait until you have another candidate or two to compare. Don’t hire the first decent candidate just because they’re the only option you think you have.
3. Qualifying your favorite
Similar to the Halo Effect, sometimes in the process of interviewing, you come to fall in love with a candidate. You daydream about how this person fits perfectly with your team and will change and even improve the way you do business. What happens is that you begin to qualify the candidate and dismiss any red flags. When you find yourself unable to see a single weakness, you may be qualifying your favorite candidate. It’s time to step back and invite a few trusted associates (preferably people on your team) to interview this candidate and give you honest feedback. Everyone has their flaws, even if you can’t see them.
4. Someone Like You
Another common hiring mistake is hiring someone exactly like you, with your same strengths, weaknesses and even personality type. You hit it off famously and find the person immensely likeable. But your company already has one of you, why do they need another? It’s better to hire someone that balances your strengths and weaknesses, and can fill in some of the gaps to improve your company’s performance.
5. Not Getting Buy-in
It’s especially common for small to mid-sized business owners to do all the hiring themselves, and not involve anyone else in the hiring process. When this happens, and you begin onboarding the new hire, your team sees that hire as YOUR hire, and they aren’t as committed to the success of the new employee. When you involve your team in hiring, especially those who will work closely with that person, you get buy-in and that means everyone is committed to the success of your new hire.
6. Hiring Too Fast
Many companies put off hiring until they absolutely can’t stand the pain anymore. They wait until their staff is overworked and customers are underserved to begin looking to fill the position they desperately need. In this scenario, a company is looking to ease the pain as fast as possible, and this can be a recipe for disaster. Proper interviewing and decision making is sacrificed for sheer speed of search. Better to start the interviewing process before the pain is unbearable, as a good and thorough process can take up to several weeks. The waiting may be hard, but it’s certainly better than making the wrong hire because you went too fast.
7. Who do I Know
Instead of thinking about what the company needs to continue growing, sometimes leadership will start thinking about who they know and trust to fill an open position. Hiring someone you know, like and trust isn’t bad; the problem is when it comes at the price of getting what you actually need. First determine WHO and WHAT you need, before you begin looking for that perfect candidate.
What are some common hiring mistakes you’ve seen? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!