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Prevent Bad Hires with Your Hiring Process

There’s nothing worse than investing time and energy into hiring someone and finding out you’ve made a mistake. Recruiters fear that after weeks of pouring through resumes and talking to candidates, they’ll select the wrong one. A bad hire can be a drain on the organization from multiple angles. It costs money to hire and train someone who ultimately won’t work out. And it can drag down the morale when someone new is introduced and then exited. It can cause a sense of fear and panic to reverberate throughout the organization. But what if you can prevent bad hires upfront? What if you can pick apart your hiring process to prevent bad hires? Let’s examine the steps within the hiring process that can be improved to prevent a bad hire.

 

Enhance Your Hiring Process to Prevent Bad Hires

Every company’s hiring process is different.  But some companies have their hiring process down to a science.  They run like well oiled machines and seem to attract the best candidates.  What are they doing differently in order to attract better candidates and prevent bad hires?  According to Talent Board’s 2014 Candidate Experience Report , top companies are creating better candidate experiences with transparency and support.  These top companies are operating in tune with what candidates desire.

We’re in an age where information is plentiful.  We are literally bombarded with messaging at all angles.  To find out anything, we can hop on our smart phones and surf the information super highway for answers.  But some companies are still stuck in the past.  They don’t offer information up front to draw top candidates.  This is where you can enhance your hiring process.  Your organization can move beyond simply offering a career page to branding it to attract top talent.  This is where the company can really shine: you can offer insights into teams, company culture, and branded videos to appeal to the top candidates.  Great companies often take it a step further and offer immersive interviews via video interview software.  This allows candidates to get the full experience of what joining this company would be like.  Often, these kind of information rich hiring processes are able to prevent bad hires.

Review Expectations Up Front

Sometimes, a bad hire is not the result of the hiring process, but really unrealistic expectations.  We’ve all heard stories where candidates were hired on for a role like marketing, but the hiring manager’s uncommunicated expectation was that this hire would produce their yearly salary in sales in their first month.  These kinds of expectations should be examined up front by both the hiring manager and the recruiting or HR department.  Sometimes, if expectations are not realistic or in alignment with the position, it can produce a bad fit.  In these cases, the new employee could be confused about how they fit into your organization.  A careful review of these expectations can help prevent hiring someone that will ultimately be classified as a bad hire.

Similarly, job descriptions should be carefully reviewed prior to posting.  Does an hourly cashier position truly require a bachelor’s degree?  Or will this kind of requirement produce a smaller talent pool that is more likely to leave when another opportunity comes along?  These kinds of questions are crucial to the hiring process.  By addressing these concerns prior to posting, your team can work together to prevent bad hires.

Realign and Recommit to Quality Hires

Once a recruiting strategy is in place, it’s up to the recruiting team to pursue quality candidates.  By auditing these critical steps in the process, an organization can work towards preventing a bad hire.  But it’s not a fool proof system.  Sometimes, recruiters have an off day.  And sometimes, candidates lie convincingly enough to get hired.  With these steps in place, these kinds of mistakes should be minimized and produce quality hires over time.

Preparing For A Career Pivot

In my practice as a career coach, I often work with professionals who want to pivot from one field to another because their current career one no longer provides fulfillment. I’ve read plenty of good advice about preparing for a career pivot, but perhaps in an effort to present only the positive, none of the articles I’ve read provide the unvarnished truths about what you may confront.

Let’s examine the real obstacles you may face, and then I’ll offer practical tips on how to overcome them.

You’ve done your research; you understand the field; you’ve taken the relevant courses needed to successfully transition into your chosen next career. You’re ready to begin the job search, armed with a new functional resume that discusses your competencies and skills rather than the trajectory of your prior employment. How are the recruiters and hiring managers going to respond to your candidacy?

Realistic Strategies

Spoiler alert: the answers aren’t pretty, but when you understand what you may be up against, you’ll be better prepared with realistic strategies.

I surveyed recruiters and HR managers because they are typically the first people who view your resume, asking two questions:

• A mid-career professional takes all the relevant courses in order to change fields. Will they get hired, even though their “experience” in the new field is academic, not actual?
• What is the likelihood of a mid-career professional getting hired in a more junior role in order to make a career shift?

In response to the first question, two recruiters replied with an unqualified “no,” with one saying that his employment agency would never be able to place such a candidate, and the other, a HR manager, noting that “once you are pigeon-holed in a particular field, it is nearly impossible to break out.”

Others were more optimistic, provided that the candidate met other criteria, such as having significant transferable skills. One hiring manager said she would consider career pivoters,” but that they would face serious competition from candidates with actual experience.

Another recruiter said it would be “tricky,” but the degree to which the candidate’s previous experience is relevant to the new employer would be a significant factor; she added, “I wouldn’t bank on it unless it’s a sector where the new skills are in high demand.” An IT recruiter suggested that candidates whose prior experience has afforded them knowledge within a specific domain could potentially move into that field, but said the real question is, “where is the value-add for their potential future employer?”

As for the probability of mid-career professionals being hired in more junior roles in order to gain experience in their new careers, two recruiters ranked the possibility as “very likely,” or “high,” if the abovementioned criteria were met. Others were less optimistic, pointing out that most mid-careerists would have trouble taking a compensation hit.

Overcoming Objections From Recruiters

None of this sounds encouraging, but there are strategies for overcoming objections from recruiters and employers if you want to change careers.

Network

You’ve heard that networking is critical to a job hunt, and no more so than when you search involves a career pivot. Leverage your social network contacts to develop relationships to help you get ahead.

Stay Put

The biggest problem career pivoters face is being an unknown quantity in a new field. Changing careers if often easier if you stay within your current company where you have earned a reputation as being smart and hard-working. Transitioning to a different department allows you to gain experience, often without taking a compensation hit.

Go Solo

While some people thrive as employees, or just need the security of a steady paycheck, there are considerable benefits to marketing your talents directly to employers on a freelance or contractor basis.

Prove your Value

Want to demonstrate your skills within your next career? Create something of value – pro bono – and offer it to your target employer. If you know how to do something – just do it (sorry, Nike). Perfect example of “show, don’t tell,” and if nothing else, builds a portfolio of work that demonstrates your expertise.

 

Image: bigstockphoto

Are Your Recruiting Practices Scaring Good Candidates Away?

Have you ever posted an opening and received very little response from job seekers? It has happened to most of us who work in HR and recruiting. We often sit and lament the fact that there are no more good candidates, but sometimes the issue is with our recruiting and hiring process rather than the candidate pool. Here are some tips for improving your process, so you can attract the right candidates.

Confusing Application Process

Whether you are posting on your company site or on a job site, you want to make a good impression. Start with a clear and easy-to-understand description of the job. I have seen a lot of postings that are simply the job description. Online attention spans can be short, so avoid uploading the job description and write a concise posting. Have a few sentences describing the job and some bullet points that highlight the minimum requirements. Include a sentence or two about the perks of working for your company. Proofread your posting to fix any typos or errors that could make a bad impression. You can link to the job description, but it should not be the thing that initially draws candidates in.

Explain how to apply, and detail what application materials you want from a candidate (e.g. application, resume, references), and state how you want to receive those items. Include the link if you have an online application, and do not forget an email address if job seekers need to send a resume in that way.

Jumping Through Hoops of Fire

Difficult application processes can scare good candidates away. Take a moment to list everything a candidate must do to go through the hiring process at your company. Start with the application. I had a professor in grad school who told me that I needed to “prune the dead words” from an essay I had handed in. She sent me away to scrutinize each sentence, and I ended up getting an A on the rewrite. Turn the same critical eye on your application and prune the dead sections.

Figure out what information you need to determine if a candidate is a good possibility and base your application on that. Job seekers often spend a lot of time filling out detailed applications for multiple employers. Consider a shorter pre-application with only the necessary information, and then have those you call for an interview provide more detailed information on a full application.

Next, look at any pre-employment tests. Are they necessary? Do they give you the information you need to decide if a candidate is a good fit? I had a former co-worker who recently told me she gave up on applying for a job after they sent her a two-hour personality profile that she needed to complete. The company lost out because she was a good employee when I worked with her. While a personality profile can be a good tool to help make a hiring decision, it is a lot to ask a candidate to put that much time into such a task before even getting a job offer from you. Explore less time consuming options to get the information you need.

Making a Bad Impression

I once worked for an HR Director who would storm out of her office when she was a bad mood and snap at whoever was nearby. On one particular day, our HR Assistant was her target, and she snapped at him for something minor while candidates sat in the waiting area by his desk. I stepped out of my office as this happened and saw the looks of shock on the candidates’ faces. It did not reflect well on us as a company when the first thing they saw was an employee getting yelled at.

Be aware of what your office looks like to a candidate. You want to show them that your company is a good place to work. If they see yelling and unhappy people, they are likely to go elsewhere.

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