Hiring Mistakes We’ve All Made

1. Not Knowing What You’re Looking For. You can’t hit the target when you don’t know what it looks like. Define what you’re looking for by writing a job analysis that spells out the mental and physical capacities, attitudes, personality and skills you need.

2. Not Thinking Outside the Box.  One overlooked source of candidates these days is all the good people who’ve left the company or were recently downsized. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side and they may want to come back. It’s worth a call.

3. It’s Too Easy to Get the Job. Do you simply collect resumes and applications and hire the person who interviews best? By taking the path of least resistance, you’re saying you just need a body to fill the position. If you don’t value the position, can you expect the person you hire to think any more highly of the job than you do?

4. Not Separating the Wheat from the Chaff. It’s been proven that if you make a hiring decision based solely on an interview, you might as well have flipped a coin. There are many validated tests on the market that can identify the capacities, attitudes, personality traits and skills your stores need most. The real beauty of testing is that it uses the applicant’s time, not yours.

5. Talking Too Much. I have witnessed far too many interviews where the applicant sits smiling and nodding her head, while the interviewer goes on and on about the company, his job, his department—even his family. As a rule of thumb, you should make sure the applicant does at least 80% of the talking.

6. Never Mind the Applicant, How Competent Is the Interviewer? Have you ever noticed how much shelf space is given to how-to-find-a-job books at the bookstore? I can usually count 50 titles as compared to the one there might be on how to conduct a productive interview. This is because the applicants are buying the books and studying; the interviewers aren’t. Interviewing is a skill and interviewers need to be trained.

The Hawthorne effect holds that “anything you pay attention to improves.” When you focus on your hiring process and take the steps outlined above, you’ll make better hiring decisions. Better hiring decisions will improve the performance and profitability of the entire company.

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