9 Tips to Prevent Poor and Expensive Hiring Decisions

9 Tips to Prevent Poor and Expensive Hiring Decisions

By: Diana Schneidman, Omnia Group

If only you could turn back time and prevent the numerous hiring mistakes you have made in the past! Poor hiring decisions can be expensive when new employees do not prove to be the staffers you anticipated.

A study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) revealed that a bad hire can cost up to five times his annual salary. A Career Builder survey found that 41% of employers calculate the cost of a single poor hire at $25,000, with another quarter estimating its cost at $50,000 or more.

The secret to making excellent hiring decisions is to proceed with care. Invest the time to do it right, but move as swiftly as possible to lure the best candidates before they opt for another offer.

Here’s 9 tips to do your job candidate homework with diligence:

1. Write an accurate, up-to-date job description. Do not simply pull an old job description from the file drawer, change is rapid and the role may well have evolved since the last time you filled the job. Take a fresh look at the organization’s needs.
2. Ask difficult but relevant questions in the job interview. Carefully consider your queries in advance. Look for questions that probe on processes, values, and how would you do it? Sample questions include: Describe an instance when you failed? What would you do differently next time? What did you learn? Or How do you handle stress? Have you had work experiences where you had more work than you could finish by deadline? What did you do about it?
3. Involve other employees in the interview series. Don’t just hire from the gut because you “like” someone. Explore the perceptions of your fellow interviewers. You want people who will fit the corporate culture, but remember there is more to the corporate culture than solely your own perceptions.
4. Perform a comprehensive background check that is appropriate to the job you are filling. Verify education, skills and experience to catch fabrications. Investigate all incongruencies thoroughly. Conduct reference checks. Reach beyond the names the candidates provide and independently identify others you can talk with, including coworkers, past bosses, suppliers, etc. if you can do so without jeopardizing the individual’s present job.
5. Look for soft skills as well as hard ones. The soft skills such as a cooperative personality or dedication to meeting deadlines may be harder to detect in advance of hiring, but in the long run, these may be the most important considerations. It is easier to coach a new employee on certain hard skills than to instill ethics and personality traits.
6. Learn as much as possible about the candidate. A behavioral assessment is a valuable tool to reveal what makes the applicant tick and determine if he is the right person for the job.
7. Look for candidates proactively. Develop sources and work with them over time, including recruiters in your industry, professional associations, LinkedIn groups, and your social network. Don’t place a few ads and sit back, waiting for talent to come to you. Ask your staff to help scout the best people.
8. Carefully consider internal promotions. Not only does hiring from within motivate employees to grow on the job, but it prevents talent from defecting for your competitors, taking their experience, in-house knowledge, and the resources you invested in them elsewhere.
9 Pay well. In today’s hiring market, you will often need to offer attractive salaries and benefits to secure the employees you want.

While the risk of making a poor hiring decision is considerable, you also risk losing your most promising candidate if you proceed too slowly. Make your decision as quickly as possible, considering all the information you must collect and analyze, and make a desirable offer before the best people lose interest and opt for another position instead.

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