Don’t settle for ‘bums on seats’: Wait for the right person to hire


It’s typically at this time of the year that business owners and managers start to think about new hires for  the coming year. But as a hiring manager have you ever really stopped to think just how important it is to find the best people for your business? Not just someone who happens to be immediately available or who you just think looks too perfect on paper to possibly let get away.

Over the years one thing I have seen is just how reactive (not to mention how often extremely rushed) the recruitment (and in particular the interview) process is within so many organisations.

As the weeks go by with a position still unfilled, the hiring manager often starts to panic. Then what happens is that someone who almost meets the criteria set out in the job brief (and by almost I mean aside from having a pulse and a clean shirt is so far off the mark it isn’t funny) and has an impressive CV gets hired. In the recruitment world this is often referred to as a “bums on seats” or “churn and burn” approach …

There are many traps or temptations a hiring manager can fall into. Fortunately the majority of them can be avoided by taking the recruitment and interview process seriously, looking at potential candidates objectively and most importantly not rushing through it.

It’s much better for the business in the long run to perhaps wait a bit longer to find the perfect person, than to fill the vacancy with a poor hire.

Research shows that the majority of recruiting errors are due to the hiring manager (or interviewer) relying too much on personal biases, opinions, gut feel or first impressions. It is critical for any hiring manager to control their emotions during an interview.

During an interview try to spend at least 30 to 40 minutes assessing the candidate’s previous work history in terms of key competencies and accomplishments. Looking back at past performance is the best way to determine how someone will react in a similar situation in the future. Avoid hypothetical questions at all costs.

You need to ascertain exactly why the candidate has chosen to meet with you. Too often the interviewer is so excited by the fact that someone has actually applied for their role, that they fail to find out what happened in their last position, or more specifically what they are hoping to gain out of their next career move. When this happens the interviewer spends far too much time selling the benefits of their company and the role that the candidate can walk away feeling that they were unable to contribute to the interview at all.

A successful interview is one where the interviewer spends 20% of the time talking and 80% of the time actively listening to the candidate sitting in front of them.

These (and many other) common recruitment and interview traps have always been there – and will always be there. It’s up to you to steer well clear of them so you (and your business) don’t get burnt.

Lead us not into temptation