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Recruiting the Best – Common Mistakes to Avoid

Finding someone with both the right skills for the job and also the right attitude and personality traits to fit in with your team can be a challenging task, and a time consuming process.

We have compiled a few of the common recruitment mistakes we have come across to help you on your way to making great hiring decisions.

Mistake 1: Relying on interviews alone

Interviews involve talking and a candidate having to sell themselves. Yet how many roles actually have this as the main skill set you are looking for? Judging candidates on who interviewed best can often result in a poor hiring decision, as you end up taking on the best talker, rather than the person with the best skills for the role. Include other elements in the process where you can. These could include a skills test or personality test and it is imperative to include at least two verbal reference checks. The more varied your selection methods, the more robust your results will be and the better your recruitment decision will be.

Mistake 2: Looking for an exact replica

We all know how sad it can be when Jane, you star employee, leaves the business and how tempting it is to want someone just like her to replace her. The bad news is that there is only one Jane. However the good news is that a Mary or a John may still do a great job, but just do it a little differently. Double check your selection criteria to make sure you are looking for what you actually need, rather than just describing Jane and looking for Jane Number 2.

Mistake 3: Not allowing the right amount of time

Recruitment processes can become complex due the pressures to fill the role, other business priorities and also the possibility that you might lose a star candidate at the last hurdle. This can mean that the process ends up proceeding too slowly.

However, don’t be pressured by the immediate need to replace. Quick hiring is usually bad hiring, and can in the long run cause you more difficulty than leaving the role vacant for a while.

Equally if you have uncovered a top calibre candidate, then move decisively or you will lose them to someone else. Throughout the recruitment process, ensure that you are communicating with them, keeping them informed of progress and keeping the stages moving along so you don’t lose them to someone else. Losing top candidates in this way happens all too frequently.

Mistake 4: Looking for the impossible

It is easy to write a candidate person profile wish list a mile long, but how realistic is this? Once you have written your list, identify the “must haves”, the “good to haves” as well as the “trainable” areas.

That way if you have someone who ticks all the “must haves” and some of the “good to haves” you can assess if you can train the rest. Remember no-one is perfect.

This, of course, does not mean lowering the bar. A top class candidate is still first prize and compromises below a certain point should not be made. Hold onto your “must-have” list, and make sure the candidate you do hire ticks all these boxes.

Mistake 5: Relying on the judgement of one person alone

Everyone has different views and sees different things in people. Relying on your judgement alone can sometimes mean missing a crucial aspect of the candidate’s skills or personality. Having more people involved in the process adds different perspectives and helps for a better decision.

Mistake 6: Being unrealistic about the Company

You often hear from new employees “This is not what I signed up to!” Recruitment is a two-way process. For the new hire to be successful they have to be sure they will be happy with you, as much as you have to be happy with them. Be honest about the environment, the culture and the role. This doesn’t mean being negative. It means honestly informing them of the challenges they will face and allowing them time to decide if they are up to it and the company culture suits them.

Mistake 7: Offering a salary which doesn’t meet the market

If you believe a candidate is good, so will others, and if a candidate has two equally attractive all round offers on the table they will usually take the one that pays more.

Be realistic about what you offer. While it is tempting to look for a superstar who has possibly been overlooked by others and hope you strike gold, the chances are not high.

Usually if someone is good at a job, yet takes a role below market rates there is a reason for this. Paying market rates makes good sense and apart from attracting people to the business is also a key element in retaining good people.

Bear in mind that recruitment costs are usually estimated to be between 3-5 times the annual salary of the position you are hiring for. This takes into account the time of everyone involved, the cost of advertising, lost productivity when you have a vacant role, as well as the cost of training someone and waiting until they are up to speed and become productive.
Knowing that, it makes sense to do it properly, correctly and professionally so that you hire the person who is right for your business and stays with you for the long term.

Think about the effort put in and how long it takes to arrive at a $30,000 + CAPEX decision, and you don’t buy it year after year….

We trust these points will help with your appointments.