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Top five hiring mistakes

And how to fix them


There are few things worse than observing the lackluster job performance of a bad hire, especially if you’re the one who did the hiring. Factor in all the variables involved, and you could spend 150 percent of the employee’s annual salary to correct the mistake of hiring them in the first place—and that’s just for a middle-level employee. Replace a pivotal employee like a manager or salesperson, and those figures can skyrocket to 200 percent or more.

While we all know it’s vital to hire the best person the first time around, more often than not the people charged with hiring aren’t trained in interviewing techniques and employee selection. Here’s one expert’s fix: Charlie Wonderlic, president and CEO of Wonderlic Inc., a Chicago-based provider of recruitment, selection, development and retention solutions, outlines the most common hiring mistakes and techniques to correct them.

Wendy Webb writes on human resources and training issues for the franchise industry.

Wendy can be reached at wkwebb@charter.net

Mistake: Hiring on the basis of gut instinct.

Many interviewers hire an applicant with whom they “click,” even though his or her resumé, experience and references should raise some questions, says Wonderlic.

Fix: Define your ideal candidate before you start interviewing.

Decide on the necessary job skills and educational level, and what traits would enhance performance in this position. Once you know what you want, implement pre-employment tests.

Mistake: Trusting the resume.

If you’re inundated with candidates for a job, it’s easy to trust what they’ve put on paper and not dig deeper, especially if they interview well.

Fix: Dot every “i” and cross every “t.”

Put the effort in before you hire. Check references. Test applicants for things like intelligence, personality traits and dependability. And run a quick background check for good measure.

Mistake: Not being prepared for the interview.

A job candidate isn’t the only one who needs to be prepared. Too often, managers use the same old set of questions they always use, or worse, with nothing prepared at all.

Fix: Create a structured interview for each position.

Don’t “wing it.” Think hard about what qualities, experience and attitude you’d like to see in an ideal candidate, and craft questions that elicit responses regarding past behavior on the job.

Mistake: Not being honest about the job.

Recruiters and interviewers tend to make the job sound fantastic, especially if they’re faced with an excellent candidate they don’t want to lose.

Fix: Fess up and let candidates know exactly what they’ll encounter on the job.

Otherwise, you may end up with a disillusioned and disappointed new hire three months down the road.

Mistake: Ignoring the “fit-in” factor.

Job skills, education and other requirements aren’t the only necessities for successful employment. It is equally critical that you find someone who fits into your corporate culture as well.

Fix: Talk about corporate culture in the interview

Let job seekers know what it’s like to work in your company, not simply what their responsibilities will be.

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