Finding a perfect candidate isn’t as easy as it seems, but if you have a firm process in place to sift out the golden candidates you will soon have your dream team. Fulfilling a role is one thing but finding an employee that has the skill set and the cultural fit to your business is hard to nail.
With this in mind, hiring mistakes can be costly, creating a ripple effect that impacts other employees and your business. Take heed of warning signs and make sure your next hire is golden:
- You can’t change a leopard’s spots.
Regardless of the role there is the need for all employees to follow company rules and guidelines, whether formal or unwritten. Still, some people can’t, or won’t be, managed and the long term affect of this can be damaging. A mix of personalities in the workplace can make a business thrive in the right places but if you feel a potential new recruit could ruffle too many feathers in your business be cautious.
The outstanding salesman with the incredible track record of generating business and terrorizing admin and support staff won’t immediately play well in your sandbox just because you hired him. For some people the work itself, and how they perform that work, is what matters most — not the job. Don’t think you can change them. With this in mind ensure your recruitment techniques are designed to truly assess the skills and attributes you really need.
- Hiring for skills rather than attitude.
Skills and knowledge are worthless when not put to use. Experience is useless when not shared with others. The smaller your business the more likely you are to be an expert in your field; transferring those skills to others is relatively easy. But you can’t train enthusiasm, a solid work ethic, and great interpersonal skills — and those traits can matter a lot more than any skills a candidate brings. If in doubt, always hire for attitude.
- Selling your business.
Times have changed and it is no longer solely down to the candidate to impress the employer – it’s a two way street and you need to convince candidates they would want to work for your company. Quality candidates have other options, whether this be from your competitors, or a counter offer from their current employer, you need to get buy-in to your culture. An excellent way to do this in the final stages of interview is to have a collaborative hire approach where your staff engage with the candidate and feedback, plus let them know why your company is a great place to work.
- Hiring friends and family.
Your heart may be in the right place in hiring friends and family, but their desire to help out a family member doesn’t always align with your need to hire great employees. Plus friends and family see each other outside of work, too, increasing the chances of interpersonal conflicts. Either set up an appropriate policy, like “no family members in the same department,” or do an incredibly thorough job of evaluating the candidate.
Using a recruitment service such as Benchmark gives you access to a wider pool of people and will give you a broader perspective on the calibre of candidates available.
- Ignoring intuition.
Nothing beats a formal, comprehensive hiring process — except, sometimes, intuition. Always weigh impressions against qualitative considerations and feel free to run little “tests”. One of our clients gives an insight into their approach:
“I always took supervisory candidates on an informal tour of our manufacturing areas. Sometimes employees would interrupt to ask a question; I stopped because employees always come first. A candidate who appeared irritated or frustrated by the interruption was a cause for concern. Same with a struggling employee, say one who got behind while stacking boxes. I would naturally pitch in while still talking to the candidate. Most would also pitch in, some self-consciously in an obvious attempt to impress, others naturally and without affect. It’s easy to tell who automatically helps out and who does so only because you’re watching.”
Let your experience and intuition inform your hiring decisions. And don’t be afraid to conduct your own tests. You know the intangible qualities you need in employees; determine a few simple ways to see if a candidate has or lacks those qualities.
- Personality types
At Benchmark we encourage clients to use alternative interview techniques as they work to demonstrate people’s competencies for the job, showing you their skill rather than just telling you. Assessing a candidates character through Myers Briggs personality profiling and using a learning style questionnaires is another beneficial insight. You have to ask yourself whether you want an employee with the opposite personality traits to you, or anticipate where you think there may be a clash.