Employers Beware! Common traps to avoid when hiring new staff

By Paul Slezak - Aug. 2, 2012
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hiring staff, recruiting staff, recruitment processAs 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 mediocre people. Not just someone who happens to be immediately available to fill an urgent vacancy in your team. Not just someone who may have attended the same university as you did. And definitely not someone who you just think looks too perfect on paper to possibly let get away.

Within so many organisations, the recruitment process is far too reactive. A manager will be faced with a resignation or an internal restructure impacting the team, and what will they do? Whip up an ad and upload it on to a job board, or call HR or perhaps even a recruitment agency to “just send me some candidates” … and then hope for the best.

As the weeks go by and the position is still not filled the hiring manager (not to mention the team) goes into panic stations.

Then what happens too often 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 or portfolio gets hired.

Caveat procurator. This is Latin for “let the [hiring] manager beware”.

When looking to buy a new car there are many traps that we can fall into. For example just because it’s in our price range, the colour is what we were hoping for, or it’s got a sunroof we might be tempted.

Or similarly when we’re looking to buy a new house it might look perfect, it might be in our price range, on a quiet street or in a great neighbourhood. But it’s only upon closer examination, for example taking the car for a test drive or arranging for a detailed property inspection that potential problems come to light. Suddenly the car or house might not be so perfect any more.

Lead us not into temptation …

It is no different when looking to hire new staff. There are just as many traps or temptations that we could fall into. Fortunately the majority of them can be avoided by taking the recruitment process seriously, looking at potential candidates objectively and most important of all not rushing through it. It’s 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 80% of recruiting errors are due to the hiring manager (or interviewer) relying too much on personal biases, opinions, gut feel or first impressions.

On one side of the spectrum the decision could come from a positive vibe such as if the candidate is confident, has a great sense of humour, is well presented, has similar interests or qualifications as the interviewer, or maybe has worked in a similar role in the past.

On the flip side the decision could be the result of a negative vibe if, for example, the candidate has sweaty palms, can’t make eye contact with the interviewer, is too softly spoken, or perhaps is so nervous that their leg won’t stop shaking during the meeting.

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.

The common recruitment 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 hurt.

Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years.


Paul Slezak

Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years.

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