Tips for Employers

Hiring The Wrong Person

Recruiting and hiring good employees is arguably the most critical aspect of running a business. After all, if you’re not hiring the right people to begin with, your ability to succeed in nearly everything else you do in your staffing practices will be greatly compromised. That’s why it is important to consider the costs of a bad hire.

Your company loses more than time, money and effort by recruiting, hiring and training people who perhaps shouldn’t have been brought on in the first place. You must also deal with the havoc that the “wrong” employee can create: the business you may lose when that individual interacts with customers, the costs you incur when you have to repeat procedures that were handled ineptly and the pressures on other employees who must pick up the slack. But the costs of a bad hire doesn’t end there.

Consider the expense and hassle that arises when you have to cut your losses and dismiss this “wrong” hire. In the long run, it’s more difficult for the manager and team to accommodate a poor performer than it is to invest in recruiting quality candidates.

Common Interview Mistakes

1. Not devoting enough time to interviewing. Failing to give the interviewing process the time and effort it deserves is, by far, the main reason interviews fail to reveal useful information about a person. You can probably understand why managers frequently neglect to take the necessary steps to prepare for interviews, conduct them diligently, and evaluate the results in a thoughtful manner: They’re busy. Everybody’s busy. Time is at a premium. But your job is to make every interview you conduct count. Encourage line managers who make their own hiring decisions to do the same.

2. Not being consistent from one interview to the next. One major difference between interviewers who have a knack for picking winners and those who don’t is nothing more complicated than simple discipline. Skillful interviewers think through the process and tend to follow the same method every time – albeit with variations that they tailor to individual situations. Unsuccessful interviewers tend to wing it, creating a different routine for each interview and entering unprepared. The hidden danger of a lack of planning: You deprive yourself of the one thing you need the most as you’re comparing candidates: an objective standard on which to base your conclusions.

3. Talking too much. If you’re talking more than 20 percent of the time during a job interview, you’re talking too much. Probing through active listening (for example, letting the candidate’s comments spark related questions) is a critical interviewing skill because it allows you to gain valuable information you’d miss if you did most of the talking. You can – and should – react, comment on, and build on the answers that candidates give in job interviews. Just bear in mind: The only thing you discover about a candidate during any session where you’re doing most of the talking is that the candidate knows how to listen.

4. Focusing on one positive attribute of a candidate and ignoring everything else. This situation describes the halo effect, a term managers often use to describe a situation in which the interviewer becomes so enraptured by one particular aspect of the candidate – appearance, credentials, interests – that it colors all his other judgments. Then again, interviewers are only human, and so are you. You can’t always help yourself from placing too much significance on one part of the candidate’s overall presentation. At the very least, however, be aware of your halo-effect tendencies and do your best to keep them in check.

Negotiating Salaries

If the candidate keeps pushing, whether you want to exceed the established range generally depends on two factors: how badly you want the individual and the policies and precedents in your company. When considering how to negotiate a salary offer for a particular candidate, some questions small businesses should consider include:

1. Are other, equally qualified candidates available if the applicant says no? If the answer is yes, the leverage to make accommodations rests with the company.

2. Has the job been particularly hard to fill, or are market conditions making finding and recruiting suitable candidates difficult? If the answer is yes, the leverage rests with the candidate.

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