5 common mistakes to avoid when hiring your next employee

July 14th, 2017

Houston Business Journal

         
Houston Business Journal

Unless you’re a full-time recruiter, hiring staff is probably not high on your list of most enjoyable professional activities. It’s not only time consuming, but making a hiring mistake can significantly impact a company’s morale and productivity. Not to mention the cost of recruiting, training and replacing a candidate who does not work out. Take a minute to calculate the cost of a bad hire – it can be an eye-opening task. Below are five common mistakes to avoid when hiring your next employee.

1. Interviewing too many candidates

Paradoxically, having too many candidates to choose from can actually reduce the probability of making a successful hire. In situations where large numbers of candidates interview, hiring managers statistically make a poor choice. They can suffer from decision fatigue and will often make a decision simply to reduce their stress levels. Interview two or three strong candidates and then bring in more applicants if none of the original group fit the bill.

2. Skipping the phone interview

A short phone interview can be a big timesaver. A 10 to 15 minute phone interview can provide important information about a potential candidate. Once a short list has been created, the phone interview should be used as a quick check to screen out candidates who are clearly don’t fit your requirements and/or culture. Only those who pass the phone interview should proceed to the in-person interview. Skype and video interviews can also be utilized to quickly vet candidates, while providing more data points than a voice call.

3. Not being prepared

It always surprises me how many companies are not prepared with a set hiring process. From our own experience, supported by third-party data, it’s clear that companies need a game plan for hiring, instead of just “winging it.” Even if a company is not yet sure who it is hiring, there needs to be a strong concept of what that company is hiring for. Having pre-set questions in place, as well as what knowing what criteria are being used to evaluate a successful candidate is key.

4. Not listening to candidates

Have you ever reflected back on an interview and thought to yourself that you don’t know much about the candidate because you did most of the talking? It’s not uncommon. Let’s face it, most people enjoy talking, but it’s important to show restraint and to let the candidate shine. If the interviewer talks too much, not only does it not allow candidates a chance to express themselves, you’re also likely to miss out on important information. Ask questions, listen carefully to the candidate’s answers, and then probe for details.

5. Not checking references

Your gut instinct can tell you a lot about a candidate, but too many hiring managers skip the all-important reference checking step. Unfortunately, candidates don’t always tell the truth on their resumes (or in their interviews). A thorough reference checking process can help screen out those who may sound the part, but are unable to deliver. References should not just be a rubber stamp once a decision has already been made. They should be a standard decision making data point.

Marsha Murray is founder and president of Houston-based recruiting and staffing firm, Murray Resources.

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