In 207 B.C, 2000 years ago, the Chinese Han dynasty attempted to create a scientific process for hiring their civil servants. They thought the answer would be to write detailed job descriptions, but despite this rationale, few of the people hired performed as they expected.
Today’s hiring efforts are more daunting than ever. Resumes often leave hiring managers with more questions than answers. Even after thinking they made a “good” hire, it’s not unusual for hiring managers to be left wondering, “What was I thinking?” Not unlike the days of 207 B.C., it is still impossible for hiring to be done by a scientific process. Only a systematic approach and an awareness of common mistakes made in the hiring process will enhance your odds of hiring superior performers. From research conducted by The Kabachnick Group we found the following to be the most common mistakes made during the hiring process:
- Hiring in reactive mode. Too often there is panic and a feeling of having to quickly fill a position simply to replace someone who has just left, causing steps to be skipped and potential dangers to be overlooked.
- Expecting to find the twin. Susan was terrific, so I need to find another Susan. The only thing we’ve successfully cloned so far is sheep, so don’t expect to clone Susan.
- Unrealistic expectations. The job description looks like it was created for Superman, including expectations that no one person could possibly meet.
- Asking poor interview questions. The interviewer fails to probe into specific examples, focusing instead on generalizations or opinions versus substantive facts, as if they were taken right out of a book on how to interview.
- Taking the resume at face value. Beware of simply taking the resume at face value. Think of it as “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” because it probably is. After all, who is about to include that six month stint that was a complete failure?
- Relying on references. No one lists anyone but positive references. And, even if they did, with today’s legal issues, no one’s about to reveal the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
- I like you because you’re just like me. It’s very easy to fall into the “halo” trap and like the candidate because he/she’s a lot like you. The problem is, your job is already filled and the one you’re trying to fill likely has a whole different set of criteria.
- Undefined job competencies. Because the competencies required for top performance in the job have not been clearly defined, and because the candidate’s competencies have not clearly been identified, there is no assurance that the candidate is actually well matched for succeeding in the job.
- Past performance assumptions. Just because the candidate has previously performed in a job that seems similar there is an assumption that their past success will be duplicated in this job. Since you have no way of knowing the true nature of the previous job, this can not only be a bad assumption-it can be a dangerous one.
- Failing to follow any real interview process. All too often there is no systematic approach tied to the interview process other than identifying who interviews the candidate. Without a systematic hiring process to follow, both you and the candidate risk eventual disappointment.
Does your hiring process take into consideration all hiring systems take into consideration all the critical elements that are necessary for superior performance in a job? When a good person is aligned with the skills and behaviors necessary for success in the job, you’ll find an individual who will likely experience job satisfaction and good performance. However, when that same good person is also aligned with culture fit, that’s when you get a passionate, committed and superior performer. There is a difference.