Just as with any investment, a bad hire means you lose money and time.
After a tough experience with an employee, it’s easy to feel worried about hiring the wrong job candidate.
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By planning ahead and taking the hiring process one step at a time, you can minimize the likelihood that you choose the wrong person for the job.
These six practices bring a depth to each hiring activity, setting a positive foundation for building a strong, capable team that supports your business:
Identify Your Priorities
It’s easy to start the hiring process as soon as you realize you need help. But if you rush, skipping over important steps, it’s easy to hire the wrong employee. Before you start posting job descriptions, identify your priorities as an employer.
Think about your current and former team members. Have you ever had an ideal employee?
List the characteristics that made them such an asset to your business. The process of writing down this rough sketch of characteristics and skills clarifies who you’re looking for. That way, as you read CVs, interview candidates, and consider the final decision, you can match the attributes of individuals to you ideal employee.
Ask for Referrals
When you ask people in your network — employees, colleagues, business partners — to refer candidates to interview for a position, you’re a lot less likely to hire the wrong employee. Rather than interviewing candidates you don’t know, you are also relying on the judgment of the people you trust.
In short, referrals create accountability. They require that someone else vouches for the character and skills of the candidate. Plus, the personal connection ensures that the new employee is on his or her best behavior at all times.
Adding this extra step not only increases the likelihood of a successful match, it can also speed up the hiring process too!
Conduct Telephone Interviews
Business owners benefit from setting up an extra step in the interview process by planning screening calls, or telephone interviews first. This approach ensures that you have the opportunity to assess the candidate in a different context.
A five-to-ten minute phone conversation can clarify whether a candidate could be a good fit. As you conduct the interview, make note of these factors:
- Did the job candidate call at the right time?
- Was he or she friendly and clearly listening to your questions?
- Did the candidate summarize his or her interest in the position as prior experience?
Particularly if you have a large pool of applications, a telephone interview can help identify the people who are serious about the role and qualified for the job. Next, plan an onsite interview with deeper questions that delve into the experience and characteristics of the candidate.
Involve Employees in the Hiring Process
To hire the right person, you need to involve managers and other employees in the decision-making process. Without their input, it’s impossible to discern who is the best fit of the team as a whole.
Although business owners often like to lead interviews, the manager overseeing the new employee should be involved. It gives the candidates transparency about whom they will be reporting to every day. It also creates a solid foundation for a positive manager-employee relationship.
Ask the manager to interview the job candidate with you or one-on-one. Also introduce the potential employee to other staff members and take their input into account. By making a team decision, you optimize the likelihood of finding a good long-term fit.
Do Your Due Diligence
A lot of business owners get excited about a candidate and hire them on the spot. As great as it is to feel enthusiastic toward a potential employee, it puts you in danger of recruiting the wrong person.
Instead, make sure to ask for three references. Have thorough conversations with each reference, asking thoughtful questions and inquiring into how they know the candidate.
When you feel confident about the references, call the employee and make an offer. Doing your due diligence means that when you do commit to a hire, you feel more confident that you’re not going to be duped.
Trust Your Instincts
At the end of the day, once you have gone through each stage of the process and incorporated feedback from your team, you need to be comfortable with the decision. With many qualified candidates looking for jobs, there’s no reason to hire someone that doesn’t feel like they’re worth betting on.
During every stage of the process, business owners benefit from trusting their own instincts. If you have a sense that someone doesn’t care about the job, listen to that gut feeling. You can always follow up with candidates to ask more questions that help you make a discerning choice.
The Right Employee for Your Business
Over time, business owners realize what works and what doesn’t. The longer you run your business, the more effective you will be at hiring employees. By starting with these steps, you make sure you’re moving in a positive direction from the get-go.