Are you making the right hiring decision? The UK jobs market is highly volatile and uncertain. While vacancies in the week ending 11 October are up 39% from a low point in September, they are down 6% against the same period last year. That means thousands more people are looking for a new job and employers working harder to find the best applicant. 

Selecting the right candidates for an interview can be challenging at the best of times. But a number of mistakes we see employers make time and time again mean they might miss out on the top talent even when it’s in front of you!

We wanted to share the five most common ways to mess up your hiring process. And the right way to go about things so you meet your business goals and keep your colleagues happy. 

Creating a vague job description

Don’t think it through and make sure the job description lacks a comprehensive list of skills and task experience that applicants should have. 

Amazingly, lots of employers do. But we are sure you are clear on your business goals whether they include growing your company, developing a product or increasing efficiencies. If you are, you then need to deeply consider the problem(s) hiring a new person – or people – is meant to solve. 

Following that, audit your team’s current skills and identify what’s missing. Maybe you need implementers, idea-generators, cost-cutters or people with a certain experience in a specific industry. 

There’s also making sure the person is a good fit: what’s the personality of the group? You want to make sure your team grows so they can learn and develop from each other. Thinking strategically will do wonders for your business development in the medium term. 

Having a preconceived idea of what the candidate should look like

If you don’t want to hire for diversity, conjure up a clear picture of the ideal employee then hire him.

Mistake! If you only interview the people you are expecting, you are also likely to put limits on the potential pool and miss good candidates.

An employer we worked with backed this up. If they had known the candidate’s profile, they probably wouldn’t have hired her, they told us.

Blind screening, however, where you don’t know a potential candidate’s name, age, experience, gender or race, helps you fill the role based on what matters most: the candidates skills and expertise and fit in the team and culture.

“[You’re] not limited by the image of an ideal candidate, which you had before,”  says Dina over at Diversity Q. “Removing subjectivity from a pre-screening process is very important to land into the further selection process, to find candidates who wouldn’t be qualified otherwise.”

Going for the candidate you ‘like’ most

It’s a popularity contest!

No, really it’s not. And hiring someone you get on with is an unconscious bias: you subconsciously look for points of similarity in everyone you meet because similarities make you feel safer.

You can end up focusing on those aspects and remain blind to the more important questions such as, “will they get on well with the rest of the team?” and “are they suitable for the problem I need solving?

Hire to ‘fit in’ 

Surely, your new hire needs to be similar to the other members of your team? 

The problem is, if you just copy-paste, you will create a less diverse group with similar ideas and skills. 

Instead, it’s the diverse workforce filled with people from different backgrounds, experiences and cultures provides benefits across-the-board, increasing revenue, innovation, employee engagement, customer loyalty and market opportunities.

There are two chief areas where you might want to find overlooked gems who will strengthen your team. Firstly, actively go looking for people from different backgrounds. Secondly, check out career-shifters: if people don’t have direct, relevant experience to the role advertised, they might have indirect experience that could bring a fresh perspective for the problem. 

Maybe the problem your business needs addressing can be solved in a different way. That’s the beauty of hiring people from less obvious backgrounds

Wing the interview

Be incurious about your candidate, ask them boring questions. You know, the ones they have prepared for. 

Instead, in the same way that candidates are checking out your company, vision, mission and website, you should be doing the same. 

Firstly, mark up their CV with questions. Ask them. It helps to be a bit suspicious. If something doesn’t make sense, do some digging. Check out Google and LinkedIn. What projects have they posted online you can ask about? What about industry news covering their particular team or colleagues? Are there struggles or wins?

If you can ask things the candidate is less prepared for, you can see another side of them, such as how they cope when under pressure. They will also feel valued and give more to the process. 

Conclusion

Refuse to make these common mistakes in your hiring decision so you can make sure the new hire is aligned with the company goals and culture!

You will develop a more strategic approach to business development and filling roles, you will get to know your team better. And you’ll discover talent others overlook and increase diversity, while also increasing the pool from which you choose from. Your business will be that little bit different. In a good way.

You can hire based on the skills you need without any recruitment bias by using PitchMe. Follow the journeys of many other growing companies and try the platform out now.

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