As hiring managers fight to recruit talent, speed can play a factor. You want to secure a candidate before someone else does. Unfortunately, a rush to hire leaves the door open for missteps. If a bad fit is onboarded, it can damage your workplace culture.
Research from the talent lifecycle management platform Beamery found that 83% of businesses have compromised when it comes to recruitment, due to the current levels of competition for talent in the market. While the competitive market can make hiring more difficult, it’s best to slow down your process, even if you risk losing out on great candidates.
Avoid these five mistakes to improve your hiring process and your chances of finding the right talent:
1. Waiting Until You Have a Job Opening
One of the big mistakes is reactive hiring, says Jay McDonald, author of Strategic Jaywalking: The Secret Sauce to Life and Leadership Excellence. “To have a world-class team, you need to be recruiting all the time, not just when you have a vacancy,” he says. “When you wait until someone leaves, available talent is traditionally those who are looking, not those who are best.”
Recruiting all the time doesn’t mean you’re hiring all the time. It’s about building your network and creating a top-five or a top-10 list of people to contact.
“Pay attention to the kinds of people that would fit your organization’s culture and that have the skill sets that you might need,” says McDonald, a corporate consultant and serial entrepreneur. “Build relationships with those people and others who might refer those kinds of people once an opening does occur. The more influential people who know about your organization, your culture, and how you do business, the greater chance you’ll find the right kind of people that would do well and be successful in your organization.”
2. Not Properly Introducing the Company to the Candidate
Quite often the hiring process is designed to focus on identifying the skills, potential, and personality of the candidate. What can get glossed over is the part where the recruiter talks to the candidate in detail about what the business offers in terms of their career and growth, says Steffen Buch, vice president of people and culture at Beamery. But career trajectory is an important consideration for today’s candidates and providing information on what your company can offer can seal the deal.
“Candidates, quite rightly, want to be supported with opportunities to learn and develop, and to understand the potential path their career can take in order for them to feel emotionally invested in a business,” he says. “Planning talent strategically to support business growth means recruiters switch from experienced-based hiring to focusing on the potential of the individual. This allows the employee to also understand what the business will look like in the longer-term and what their role has the potential to evolve to.”
3. Not Screening for Soft Skills
While it’s important to know that candidates possess the right skills, don’t simply focus on hard skills, like technical knowledge. McDonald suggests doing a SWOT analysis of your company, identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, to determine the soft skill and qualities needed for the job.
Asking behavioral questions during interviews can help screen for soft skills. McDonald likes to ask candidates to describe situations that were uncomfortable to them in their current or past work lives. For example, ask about a prior situation that went against their values or what’s important to them, and how they handled it or reacted. This gives you a window into their way of behaving and thinking, he says.
“Most people don’t work out because of lack of hard skills,” says McDonald. “It’s usually a lack of emotional intelligence, empathy, an ability to listen and be open minded.”
4. Writing Poor Job Postings
Speed is important in hiring, but so is a quality process, says Christy Spilka, vice president of talent acquisition at iCIMS, a recruiting software platform.
“Hiring managers and [talent acquisition] teams need to take the necessary time to align on the role, ensure the job posting accurately reflects the role, and discuss the interviewing process,” she says. “Helping the candidate gain a clear picture of their day to day, any challenges they may face in the role, initial and ongoing training opportunities, internal mobility opportunities and more will help to gain alignment.”
Spilka suggests supplementing your job postings with strong employer branding, such as on your careers site and review sites, to attract candidates who will be a better fit. “Video testimonials can help with this,” she says. “Reaching into the organization and bringing employee experiences to life is a great way to build an authentic employer brand.”
5. Talking Too Much During the Interview
When you’re hiring someone, it can be tempting to try to sell your organization. It’s easy to look at a person’s background and résumé and get enamored with the past. Instead, McDonald says you need to project the person into the future—into your organization’s role—and determine how well they’ll fit. A good measure of finding the right fit is looking at the balance of time between the interviewee and the interviewer.
“You might be at 75% interviewer speaking and 25% candidates speaking, but it should be something in reverse and more like 80% candidate 20% interviewer,” says McDonald. “The interviewer should be asking good questions and then listening and probing and trying to get details.”
The business adage to “hire slow and fire fast” is even more relevant during the current war for talent, when you’re likely paying up to get the right people. By taking your time on the front end, you could avoid having to let someone go in the future because they weren’t the right fit.