Monday, June 29, 2009

Avoid these common hiring mistakes.

Working mostly with smaller companies these days, I find they usually have weak or nonexistent HR capabilities. Even if employees are valued in a family sort of way, the main concern in hiring is to fill a space and stay out of trouble with the law. Here are some of the most common errors and omissions I encounter. These can all be avoided by following the hiring outline I provided in last week's posts.

• There’s no formally spelled-out hiring procedure so managers all do it differently. Some do it well but most do not. They've had no training in how the company wants its managers to hire in a consistent way.

• Hiring decisions tend to be made on emotions (“I really liked so-and-so”) rather than being fact based. Managers hire in their own image and likeness, mostly hiring people they’ll be comfortable with. Not a great way to bring new and challenging ideas into the company.

• People are hired for what they know, then fired later on for who they are.

• Managers who are rated an 8 on a performance scale of 1 – 10 hire 7s. 7s hire 5s. And so on.

• When a candidate is interviewed by several managers, the criteria aren’t agreed to up front and the results aren’t scored against these criteria. When it’s over, all you’re left with are multiple impressions of the candidate and these are often based on different assessments of what the job entails.

• Position descriptions are seldom developed beforehand to define the skills, capabilities and experience the candidates need to have before they can be hired. Without this, it’s impossible to develop scoring criteria for the interview process. Job descriptions typically list activities, not capabilities.

• References are seldom checked because “since they could be sued, they won’t tell us anything worthwhile anyway.”

Tomorrow, I'll cover more about reference checking. Also what to do if the candidate doesn't work out after being hired.

Are there any other aspect of hiring that are of interest to you?

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