You don’t have to be indecisive to have doubts about your hiring practices. Managers often have to balance short-term needs against long-term growth, so a position that might be essential to a company’s daily operations today may be obsolete in a few years. A prospective hire may also look great on paper, but then not live up to expectations once he or she actually gets the job. Either way, the wrong employee can cost your company valuable resources and make other workers less efficient.
So what can you do to ensure you recruit the best possible candidate? An ideal process requires diligent planning, but if you just want to make a few tweaks, follow these do’s and don’ts to give you the confidence you need to make the right hiring decision for your company.
DO: Be Personable
Candidates’ perception of an interviewer can play a major role in their behaviour during a meeting. If their potential boss seems cold or distant, they may feel uneasy, and this can affect their performance. While you don’t want to change yourself too drastically, and while candidates should be able to perform under pressure, there are things you can do to make your prospect feel calmer.
Interviewers commonly ask candidates to talk about themselves at the beginning of an appointment. This tactic may sound cliché, but it does give the applicant a chance to warm up and break out of their pre-rehearsed scripts. You should maintain open, friendly body language and ask follow-up questions throughout the interview.
While a candidate’s comfort is important, your needs should take priority. Don’t be afraid to push them for more information if they say something that is unclear or suspicious. An ideal interviewer makes a prospect feel welcome, but he or she still gets the necessary information to make an informed hiring decision.
DON’T: Ask Personal Questions
As the previous point shows, asking candidates to describe themselves or their personality isn’t totally off limits; however, you want to avoid probing too deeply with personal follow-up questions. Labour laws prohibit employers from discriminating against candidates based on their gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, and more. If you ask a prospect about these topics, you could face accusations of biased treatment. While these regulations vary depending on your jurisdiction, it’s better to just avoid these questions altogether when you make a hiring decision.
DO: Include a Task-Based Component in the Hiring Process
If you hire a candidate, he or she will have to complete tasks to your standard on a regular basis. You’ll need to train candidates before they can reach their full potential, but a duty-oriented assignment can help you determine whether they have the basic skillset necessary to function in the desired role. This may not work for every position, but you can get your prospects to complete the assignment on site after the interview or send them home with it.
Just make sure you establish a deadline and clear instructions before they get to work. If you’re worried about how they’ll integrate with your staff, you could even get them to help out with a task around the office to gauge their compatibility.
DON’T: Overemphasize Experience
Previous experience seems like it would be an indicator of success. After all, if a professional thrived in a similar job, why wouldn’t he or she be able to flourish again? Unfortunately, making a hiring decision is rarely as simple as comparing resumes. Context is key in these situations. An engineer may have been the all-star at their last company, but if the employee is a lone wolf and your job requires teamwork, his or her past experience won’t make a difference. Instead of pursuing a candidate who’s experienced in one area, look for an adaptable candidate who learns quickly, who can work independently and as part of a team,and who knows how to take instruction and constructive criticism.