Do you know the cost of a bad hiring decision? The Department of Labor estimates it can be as much as 25 percent of a new employee's salary. When you add to this the time and costs of recruiting, hiring, and training a new person, the mistakes made by new employees, and the cost of customers lost, it becomes a tremendous drain on a company's resources. Here are some frequent hiring mistakes you need to avoid to increase your success ratio:
1. Hiring out of desperation. Many managers are so frantic to fill a position that they hire out of desperation. And as desperation goes up, your standards go down. You end up lowering the bar so people can get over it. One bad employee who mistreats your customers can cause you to lose big bucks. Plus, your clients deserve better treatment than what a substandard employee can or will provide. Try raising the bar, and get better people in the door. The valued employees you already have on board will love you for it.
2. No success profile. If you don't know what a successful person looks like in a particular position, how can you be sure you're hiring the right person? How can you ask the right interview questions? Some people think that they know a quality person when he or she is sitting in front of them. But what you are actually seeing is interview behavior, not job behavior, which can be faked easily.
Before you even begin the recruitment process for a position, document the behaviors and skills this person must have to make him or her a success. Come up with a list of 10 to 15 key abilities that will ensure that someone is the right person for the job.
3. Not asking the right kinds of questions. Having observed hundreds of interviews, I have seen far too many managers wing it. They sit down for an interview without a list of written questions. As a result, the candidates control the interview, giving useless information or stating things they think you want to hear.
If you created a success profile of key behaviors and skills needed for the job, then you should ask questions based on that profile. Most of your questions must be behavior-based. In other words, ask prospective employees about past behaviors on previous jobs. People tend to repeat the same behaviors again and again under similar circumstances, so their answers will give you excellent insight into how they will perform. For example, if you want to know how someone makes decisions, ask him or her to describe a situation on a past job where a difficult decision had to be made. Ask the candidate to describe the situation in detail, and probe deeply into his or her thinking.
4. Not checking references. The number of managers who don't check references is shocking. The common excuse they give is that nobody will divulge any information. You wouldn't bring strangers into your own home to do work without checking them out, so why would you allow one into your business? You have to be creative. Use human resources to check the correctness of facts on employee applications, but make sure that you speak to past direct supervisors, as well as people they worked for, with, or over.
To make it easy on yourself and put the pressure back on the candidate, tell them your company has a no reference, no hire policy. Then ask for three references, and have the applicant call those references and set up phone appointments for you. It's a direct indicator of how badly an individual wants a job.
5. Overselling the position. Don't make the position out to be a cakewalk or the perfect dream job. If you misrepresent the position, it's likely someone will take the job and then quit in a few days, forcing you to start over again. Tell candidates what the worst days are like. If they still want the job, that tells you something about their character and determination. —Bob Losyk is the author of Managing a Changing Workforce and Get a Grip! Overcoming Stress and Thriving in the Workplace. 800. 995.0344. www.boblosyk.com.