We have been here since 1952 and have been through literally thousands of hiring processes. We are asked about the biggest and most frequent mistakes that hiring authorities make in the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process. Here they are:
1. Not having a clear idea of what they are looking for - that everyone understands. Hiring authorities aren’t specific enough about the duties, skills, and competencies they need. They confuse amount of experience with competency: “8 to 10 years of experience” - does that mean that someone with six years of experience can’t do the job? Or what about the candidate who has had one year of experience 10 times? Putting any kind of numbers of years of experience limits them. What is important?
Employers would be better off defining the functions they want done very specifically, and then finding someone who can do it. This may mean someone who has done it well before or someone who has the potential to do it well. The specifics need to be written by the hiring authority who has the “pain,” i.e., the person who needs the help and is going to be responsible for the new employee.
Concocting “wish lists” of super-human attributes, combined with unrealistically low pay scales relative to expectations of the experience needed, will create havoc in a talent search. Hazy, ambiguous descriptions along with generalities like “good written and oral communication skills” don’t help either. Know your target.
2. Having an unrealistic idea of what kind of candidates might be available and the money it may take to hire them. Just because everyone would like to hire Superman or Wonder Woman, that doesn’t mean they are available or will go to work at your company. There is no perfect candidate, and waiting for one is as unrealistic as searching for one.
The only way to become realistic about what the market might bear is to interview enough candidates to know what is available and the commensurate earnings expected. It may take quite a few interviews. The number of quality candidates is drastically lower than it was even two years ago. Our clients are often shocked that the salaries they are locked into won’t allow them to hire the quality or experience they wish for.
And just because you believe that your company is wonderful, it doesn’t mean: (1) everyone wants to go to work there, (2) they will accept any amount you offer, and (3) there aren’t four or five other firms like yours trying to hire the same candidates.
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