Managers often think that verifying credentials, checking references, and asking all the right questions in an interview is a sure fire way to guarantee your next hire is perfect! BUT…it doesn’t always work out that way, often resulting in discontent from long standing staff members. What happened? As a hiring manager, what mistakes did you make and how can you avoid them?
Mistake #1 – Overlooking the fact that specific jobs call for specific innate traits, and those that might be highly desirable in one scenario may be far less so in another.
Hiring that confident, apparently very creative engineer might have seemed like a good idea at the time. What you probably didn’t realize, though, is that this very free-spirited, ingenious individual would also prove to be quite self-directing – to the point where he insists on doing things his way and skirting around some commonly adhered to company policies.
Most technical jobs need to be filled by people who are detail oriented and focused. These are usually the ones who stick to protocol and follow subscribed methods, as they tend to be perfectionists and want to avoid making any mistakes. When hiring IT personnel, engineers, controllers or administrative aids, look for people who demonstrate the ability to spot inaccuracies or omissions.
Mistake #2 – Too much focus on credentials, references and the interview itself, not realizing that someone who looks perfect for the job may have a personality that clashes with the existing team.
The impressive sounding salesman might come with stellar recommendations and seem like a great guy to know. He may tell you all about his sales successes and seem lively and interesting, but beware! There are plenty of fake sales personalities who are really more networkers than closers. They like meeting and impressing others and can talk endlessly about their goals, plans, and intentions — and then do nothing. Networkers tend to hop from job to job and cite a wide range of reasons for their supposed “bad luck.”
These individuals can also over-talk, under-listen and become a boisterous distraction to your job-focused staff members. They often work well in promotional roles, public relations or hospitality, but monitor their sales aptitude closely and, whatever you do, keep them away from your workers who need peace and quiet to be productive.
Mistake #3 – Managers make hiring decisions without knowing how a person is apt to respond in stressful situations. When a crisis occurs, a whole new side of someone you think you know can emerge.
A sales assistant applicant may respond well to your open-ended interview questions, and she might seem superior to other candidates in every way. If her qualifications are sound, her references stellar and your instincts tell you to hire her, you should, right? WRONG!
Dig deeper! Find out how this person might respond if rushed, required to fill-in for someone else, or forced to attend to several problems simultaneously. Any of these situations can trigger stress in workers, and responses to stress vary greatly from person to person. You might be exasperated to find, for example, that your newly hired sales assistant slows down when under pressure and needs constant support and reassurance.
Being able to read and anticipate the reactions of your workers is critical. Keep in mind that many behavioral traits and actions are extremely difficult to detect unless a thorough analysis of an applicant’s personality is undertaken, usually with a behavioral assessment such as the Omnia Profile.
Mistake #4 – Managers provide candidates with vague job and culture descriptions.
The more information an applicant has about you, your management strategies, the job and the work environment, the better it will be for everyone at your company. One of the greatest challenges facing employers today is employee retention. While the lure of bigger salaries or greater responsibilities can be the reason some workers leave, it’s often something far less obvious that is the driving force: unwelcome surprises about the existing company, its managers or the job itself.
During the interview process managers can ask questions, delve into backgrounds, speak to references and trust their instincts. The problem is there are probably still “little things” left unsaid, facts would-be workers don’t know about their new employees or that their new employees don’t know about them. And too often it’s the “little things” that cause the most pain.
Provide your candidates with written, clear, explicit job descriptions. Let them get a feel for what it would be like to work at your company. Show them where they’d be working, if possible, and point out all the aspects of the job – both good and bad. Be honest. Encourage them to ask any question, as often it’s something seemingly incidental – like having to complete daily activity sheets or fill-in for the receptionist – that can drive an employee away.
As a decision-maker you have the power to enhance productivity and boost morale by making a conscious effort not to just detect personality traits but also to anticipate how those traits might affect a worker’s performance. It’s up to you to make the effort to understand the different needs of different workers. By doing so you’ll not only free yourself and gain extra time in your work day, but also make your company one that employees want to work in – not leave!