Company “Fires Employee Accused of Stealing,”… a headline that’s probably the worst nightmare of any hiring manager or small business for that matter. So what went wrong in the recruiting process?
Here are the 7 most common mistakes that even the most experienced small business owner or hiring manager will make and how you can avoid them.
Used the old job ad, didn’t you?
You’re stretched for time. Looking for a new employee, once again, is the last thing you need. So you pull out the old job advertisement for the same position, make minor edits and viola — it’s done! Very efficient; except that very little thought is put into the type of person you really want for the job. Not to mention, that it is the same ad that attracted the employee you just fired (ouch!). Merely getting the job responsibilities right won’t cut it. Instead, consider the personality traits that are absolutely critical for success in the position. A great way to start is by using a personality assessment guide, such as DISC, to figure out what type of person would be great in the position and then list those traits in the advertisement.
Got sold on the perfect resume, huh?
I totally get it. You have to be sold on the packaging before you’ll buy the product. But don’t make a resume the only criteria. Build in an extra qualification step before you begin reviewing resumes. One of the hiring strategies we use for screening is asking candidates to call in and answer three questions about themselves. You’ll be surprised how many people will eliminate themselves and save you the grueling task of sifting through irrelevant resumes.
Beware the traditional interview approach.
Shakespeare was right when he said, “All the world’s a stage,” which just goes to prove what a fantastic opportunity an in-person interview can be for job candidates to display their acting skills. And so it happens that even the best of judges is reeled into the character. What’s the best way around it? Change your interview process and add some variety. Also, let prospective candidates interview with several people (include the direct supervisor and a colleague they would be working with). Next, consider a group or panel interview where multiple candidates are interviewed simultaneously and have to sell themselves on why they are the best fit for the position.
Prepare for the interview?
Not really, that’s the candidate’s job. You’ve done this so many times that you don’t really need any prep-time, right? So when the candidate arrives, you roll right into how great the company is, your vision, what the job entails, what it will take to be successful, etc. Before you know it, you’ve fallen into the trap of talking too much. Why? Because talking makes us feel important and through it we subconsciously compensate for a lack in preparation. Definitely, more fun than listening, right? It works great for a candidate who now has all the ingredients to cook a perfect answer. Instead, take an FBI approach: talk for only 25% of the time and let them take up the 75 percent telling you why they are the best fit for your company.
Asking questions guaranteed to receive canned answers?
Here’s a secret. When you were Googling “The 10 Best Interview Questions To Ask,” so were your job candidates. But they went the extra mile and found the “Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers.” Seriously, what would we do without Google? Now that your candidates are ready to give you the best rehearsed answers, step it up and throw in a curve ball. Avoid hypothetical questions like, “What would you do if you had a conflict with a team member (do you really think they’ll say, ‘punch them’)?” Instead get them to share a real experience with a question like this: “Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a team member and how you handled it?” That forces them to share a real situation with very little time to rewrite the screenplay.
Missing out on the non-verbals?
Non-verbal communication makes up 93% of the communication and yet we are so stuck on the 7% (i.e., words). Good news, so are job candidates! Look at the entire picture and interestingly enough, you’ll catch things you would never see on a resume or an interview. For instance, polished (or unpolished) shoes will tell you if they’re really as “detail-oriented” as they claim to be. Just as posture, eye contact, and feigned interest will testify what you see on their resume. Tune in; can you sense discomfort or a desire to impress; avoidance or confidence? Don’t discount these types of cues because it’s a lot more genuine than what a person says … or puts on paper.
Did you forget the personality assessments?
As highly developed as your gut feeling may be when it comes to hiring, leverage the power of other tools in your toolkit such as personality assessments (there’s a reason why the personality test industry is reportedly a $450 million dollar industry), background checks, reference checks, on-the-job tests, etc. Usually the ‘testing’ happens after the interview, giving the interviewer a chance to be more objective and shake off the ‘candidate charm.’ Whatever way you look at it, it’s a win-win because you will either find out that your instinct was spot on, or if the tests don’t turn out great you’ve saved yourself the agony of a bad hire (with a paper trail to prove it).
When all is said and done, if you have hired new employees or are in the profession of hiring you know that (despite everything) your “great candidate” may not turn out so great; they’re humans after all! But what I can guarantee is that you will save time, headaches, and be much more likely to find the right candidate with these seven tips.
Yamini Virani is the founder Celebrus Business Strategies, a management consulting firm that helps small business owners build great businesses. To find out how well your business is positioned for growth and expansion, download her free ebook “The 10 Essential Pillars In Your Business Structure” at celebrusstrategies.com.
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