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Posts Tagged ‘hiring’

The Biggest Mistakes Employers Make When Hiring Someone

In the competitive world of business, hiring the right people is critical to the success of your enterprise. Only a small percentage of those who hire have had any training in effectively choosing new employees. The reason you are involved in the hiring decision is most likely because the person being hired will be working with you. You are not “invited to the party” because you necessarily have any good people-picking skills.

This lack of training often leaves the people who are responsible for hiring feeling anxious and self- conscious. For almost thirty years I’ve worked with employers helping them improve their employee selection process. What follows are some of the most frequent mistakes that employers make.

Focusing on too many factors unrelated to the person’s ability to fit into your culture.
How often have you heard someone explain their decision to hire with the comment: “They seemed like such a really nice person.” or “ They seemed so smart.” or “There was just something about them I liked.” You’re goal in hiring someone is very simple.
You want four questions answered:
· Will you make me look good?
· Will you work well with the people who are already here?
· Do I like you enough to hang around you for eight hours?
· Can you do the work?
Let’s look at each of these.

Will you make me look good?
The last thing a hiring person wants to hear from a superior is, “What were you thinking when you hired that person? Was it just too calm around here? Were we getting along too well?” The last thing a hiring person wants to hear from a customer is, “Where did you get that person?” No one is going to intentionally hire someone who will make him or her look bad regardless of how talented the person may be.

Will you work well with the people who are already here?
Managing people is like balancing a very delicate equation. When you add a new “variable,” it changes the people equation. Employers want to hire people who will fit into the existing culture. I often tell people there are three reasons to get along with your coworkers: They were there first. There are more of them. They’ll “kill you” if you don’t behave.

Do I like you enough to hang around you for eight hours?
We spend more time with our coworkers than with our loved ones. I once had a conversation with a newspaper editor. She was recounting a story about a woman who had applied for a reporting job. “She had worked for Time Magazine, Newsweek, and The Washington Post. She had the most impressive resume I had ever seen. She was also one of the most obnoxious people I had ever met. I wouldn’t have hired her if you paid me.”

Can you do the work?
Of course this is a critical question. However, if the employer is convinced you will make him look good, will work well with the people that are already there, and are the kind of person he can be around all day; he may make allowances for your background. While you will still need to have some specific skills, your ability to fit into the culture should not be underestimated.

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Hiring People Who Replicate You Rather than Compliment You

The truth of the matter is that many of us think the world would be a far better place if everyone were more like us. Then, we wouldn’t have to communicate so much and people would do things the “right” way (i.e. our way). If we are the kind of people who pay attention to details, then we believe everyone should focus on details. If we see the big picture, others should see it too. The problem with this is obvious. Big picture people, by definition, often miss the details and detail people often have no idea what the larger purpose is. The goal in building an effective team is to hire people that compliment each other’s skills. A detail follow-through person is the person who makes the big picture person’s ideas a reality. Without the big picture, there is nothing on which to follow-through.

Failing to find out if the person likes the job they will be performing

There is nothing quite like getting up each day and fighting traffic to come work to do a job you don’t like. There is a direct correlation between how much you enjoy your job and how well you perform. Generally speaking, if you like something enough you’ll be good enough and if you don’t you won’t. For some reason it does not dawn on many interviewers to simply ask the applicant: “Do you think you’ll like this job and why?”

Failing to verify the employee’s technical skills

There is often so much focus in the interview on where someone worked and what they did that the prospective employer simply takes an applicant’s word that they have certain technical skills.
How often have you seen a resume that read “Proficient in Word, PowerPoint and Excel?” Proficient” according to what criteria?
Once upon a time when someone was hiring a secretary, they would give that person a typing test to see how many words a minute they could type. It worked very well as a means of determining a person’s technical ability.
You can do a version of that with the person you are interviewing. If they claim a skill, ask them for a demonstration.

Hiring out of desperation

The work is backing up. We’re stretched too thin. I just need someone. Ever felt that way? If so, be careful. People desperate for a relationship often romanticize things about someone they meet giving them attributes they don’t possess. The hiring person can do the same thing. In your zeal to solve a labor shortage problem, you may be creating many more problems. A person who is a bad fit can alter the group chemistry, negatively affect morale and alienate clients and customers. As hard as it is, doing without until a qualified person can be found makes more sense.

Hiring is a necessary evil for some but necessary nevertheless. Understanding and avoiding some of these common mistakes can make a potentially difficult process much more bearable.
The payoff of hiring a good employee that fits into your culture and adds value is well worth the time and effort you put into learning new ways of thinking about the hiring process.

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CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

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