We continue this hiring problems series with a reminder: If you’ve made one of these blunders, you aren’t alone.
Sometimes a business owner gets it wrong, taking on a new staffer who for one reason or another just doesn’t fill the bill. It’s a costly mistake.
"A bad hire is hard on any organization but especially a smaller company," says Carl Taylor of search firm Carl J. Taylor & Co. in Dallas. Beyond the out-of-pocket costs, "the greater impact can be felt among employees, customers, vendors and the community in terms of opportunity costs, lost goodwill and damaged credibility or trust."
In case you missed it: Five MORE ways to avoid stumbling down that rabbit hole.
1. Hiring friends.
Simulating work situations
as part of the job interview
process can be a good indicator
of a potential hire’s capabilities.
“While recruiting and hiring friends seems like a nice thing to do, it may be a disservice to both the small business owner and the individual being hired. Employees have strengths and weaknesses; when individual skill sets do not align with the needs of a business, both the individual and the business suffer. Hiring a B-team simply because of a previous relationship is a recipe for disaster,” says Charley Polachi, co-founder and managing partner at Polachi Access Executive Search.
It hurts to bring the wrong person on board, but it can be equally painful to let the right one go. Sometimes that’s the price for dragging your heels. "We've lost a few great potential hires because we didn't pull the trigger quickly enough once we had found our ideal candidate. The good ones don’t interview for very long," says Casey Halloran, co-founder and chief marketing officer of vacationscostarica.com
3. Jamming in the interviews.
As CEO and founder of Tofutti Brands, David Mintz has built a small faux-dairy operation into a national powerhouse. Along the way he's learned to hire at a measured pace. One big mistake: "Bringing in too many applicants at once," he says. "You have to space out interviews; two or three people in one day is too much. You need to be fresh, not burnt out by the end of the day."
4. Failing to observe.
"This is a question I ask small business owners: Would you buy a new car without taking it for a test drive? So why hire a salesperson without seeing them sell?" points out Alistair McMahon of Simberry, a maker of software tools for hiring salespeople. He advises putting salespeople in real-life selling situations before you make an offer. "Small business owners should put their sales candidates in situations that are close to the on-job sales environment and observe them. Most people don’t do this and it’s a big mistake not to. Role plays and simulations are the most underutilized and foolproof ways to hire the right salespeople." This goes beyond sales: Simulating work situations as part of the job interview process can be a good indicator of a potential hire’s cap abilities.
5. Jumping the gun.
Too often, business owners fall into the trap of hiring the first person they meet. “Hiring is an exciting time for a company, but don’t let that excitement control your reason,” Polachi says. “While the first interview may make an individual seem like the best fit for your business, take time to reflect and meet other candidates. Best business practice is to hold multiple rounds of interviews. In the first round of interviews, the phone screen, use it as an opportunity to cut down the list of candidates, not to decide whether the individual will be joining your organization.”