The 7 Deadly Sins of Hiring

The World Wide Web is filled of articles and materials outlining the dos and don’ts for job seekers. But seldom do we ever read about the follies that many organizations make in their own attempts to acquire talent. For leaders and managers, hiring is one of the most important decisions to make. Company success and productivity are a direct result of employing top performing talent. If the hiring process fails, the consequences have a domino effect.

From lack of communication to over-confidence, there are many tragic and “unlawful” acts that can take place during the hiring process. Let’s review the 7 Deadly Sins of Hiring that are often committed by countless organizations every day.

1) Need

All hiring decisions stem from a need within the organization. The ‘sin’ in this instance is the replication of the need without first taking the time to examine if the same need (skills, etc…) is really what the organization requires right now. Factors to consider include (but are not limited to):

  • The actual skills required for the role going forward in comparison to what those skills were in the previous incumbent;
  • Any recent changes to the business that might require a different set of skills;
  • A thorough review of current business processes to identify any changes that would impact the actual skills needed in the new hire.

One practice that many savvy organizations are adopting is to not immediately fill the role with a full time headcount but to try an interim temporary/contract solution. This allows them to essentially ‘benchmark’ the role further and better assess the critical skills needed to ensure a successful hire. This benchmarking activity is much more commonly used in Europe and other parts of the world with effective results.

2) Cost

Nothing in life is free (well, maybe smiles and hugs). But investing some time and money into a strong hiring process is an investment that will always pay off. Whether it’s investing in advertising costs, a recruitment software, hiring a talent acquisition specialist, or even partnering with a third party recruitment firm, the short term pain of cost in most cases will ensure the right fit is made for the long term. It can at times seem expensive to make the right hire but the costs associated with making a bad hire are far greater.

3) Ignorance

It is surprisingly shocking to see how ignorant some organizations can be with respect to the hiring environment in their respective marketplace. In this Internet Age, it is easy to gather information on realistic compensation trends, what skills are highly sought after, etc. When in doubt, it never hurts to reach out to a qualified Recruitment Professional to get this information. Oftentimes if a hire is made without taking these factors into consideration first, it is just a matter of time before the incumbent leaves for another opportunity that is more aligned to market trends.

4) Planning

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Usually the culprits are poor planning and poor internal communication. Typically these two factors will cause the process to drag on which in turn causes:

  • The prospective candidate(s) to lose interest in the job;
  • In some cases this can develop a poor external impression of the organization.

To prevent this from happening, it is critical to start the recruitment process with buy-in from all stakeholders and prepare to commit time and resources needed to execute the plan. Keeping the interview sequence as short and succinct as possible is crucial in order to identify and acquire top talent. Without this layer of discipline and commitment, the risk of losing great candidates increases exponentially.

5) Hubris

Hubris is an ancient Greek term which describes a personality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous over-confidence. Here are some examples of hubris perspectives as it relates to hiring:

  • “The candidate should want to work here because we are a great organization.”
  • “If the person really wants to work here they will understand we are busy and they need to accommodate our schedule.”
  • “They should not be concerned with pay but more the opportunity to work for an organization like ours.”

Any of these sound familiar? The problem with this level of thinking is that certain jobs skills are so high in demand that candidates will easily walk away at the first sight of ‘corporate arrogance’. Also, as the workplace demographics continue to shift so do attitudes towards things like work-life balance and workplace culture and this shift means that offering a job with great pay may not mean as much as other factors like  having a great environment, etc. Showcasing a high level of hubris during the interview process will leave candidates feeling disrespected.

6) Onboarding

So the heavy lifting is complete, you have gone through 5 rounds of interviews plus psychometric evaluations and blood work combined with drug and DNA testing. You have hired the perfect candidate, and they show up ready to embrace new challenges and contribute to the organization. Problem is:

  • Their work station is not yet ready;
  • The computer is now ready but they can’t log into the system;
  • The person that was supposed to train them is now busy on a special project so the candidate is spending their time reading through basic benefits material and literature on the dental plan.

Seem far-fetched? Not so. Landing the perfect candidate needs to be proceeded with a strong onboarding process. The ‘first working impression’ of the organization really happens within the first week and a disorganized or disjointed onboarding process will certainly lead to a less than favorable impression of the company or worse, a new hire exit.

7) Communication

How candidates are treated during and after the interview process can cast an immediate shadow or a halo on an organization. Many companies excel with communicating to candidates who are moving forward in the process or have landed the job.The reality is that most companies actually do a poor job of communicating to the candidates that did not get the job. As disappointed as an applicant will be to know they did not the job, it shows good corporate manners to communicate to the candidate that they did not get the opportunity by means of:

  • Telephone call;
  • Written personalized letter;
  • Personalized email. 

In order to keep candidates interested and engaged, you need to extend some common courtesy. Always take the time to communicate the good and the bad. Perhaps the person who came in second place for a particular role would be perfect for another role in a different department.

So there you have it, the 7 Deadly Sins of Hiring. Some of these (if not all) may seem all too familiar. It may seem like committing some of these sins are unavoidable, but the key is to start recognizing issues and addressing them as they happen with the hope is that your hiring practices become not only more effective but ultimately sin free.