5 common mistakes people make when selecting the right people

As the disruptions of COVID -19, digital transformation, changing consumer behaviour, and the great resignation intensify the battle for the best talent, employee recruitment and selection have never been more critical to business success. Finding the right people for the job is more challenging than ever, but recruiters can make it easier.

Inaccurate, generic or exclusionary job descriptions

It’s the first and most basic step of the employee recruitment and selection process, but one that will make the rest of the process go so much more smoothly if you get it right. A job description should be more than just a list of the required skills and competencies; it should sketch out your ideal candidate and how you think they’d fit in with your company’s working environment and values.

Use positive language in a job description, but be honest and don’t overstate the promotion prospects or possible benefits. Overly flowery, vague perks can give the impression that you’ve no real benefits to offer your employees, and recruits will feel cheated if it turns out not to match what prompted them to apply in the first place.

Striving for greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace also makes it necessary to be mindful of the language used. Be careful not to use gender-specific words or phrases traditionally associated with men or women. Be aware that some terms may be ageist or make people from certain cultures uncomfortable. It may seem like a lot to think about, but it’s one step toward a more representative workforce.

Only looking at outside talent

When looking to fill a position, it’s tempting to assume that if the right candidate is already working at the company, it would have been obvious they were ready for a promotion. This isn’t the case. Internal hires take less time, cost less money, give you a better picture of the candidate’s skills and past work performance, and allow for faster onboarding. You might find a candidate who knows your company values and practices, if not the specifics of the job on offer itself.

There’s another big bonus: employee retention. A Gartner study  found that employee turnover caused by a lack of internal mobility options costs an average-sized company $49 million annually. On the other hand, LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 report found that employees stay 41% longer at companies that regularly hire from within.

Implementing an effective internal mobility programme requires more than simply posting job ads on the company’s intranet; it often requires a fundamental culture change. The LinkedIn report found that the biggest obstacle is that managers do not want to lose team members. Support from the boardroom can help change attitudes toward talent to encourage internal mobility and reap the rewards.

Unstructured or overly predictable interviews

While some recruiters prefer the organic, conversational approach to interviewing, structured and standardised interviews are increasingly seen as a better hiring strategy. Asking all interviewees the same questions provides a more objective benchmark for evaluating their responses and reduces the risk that unconscious biases will influence the hiring process.

Just because you ask applicants the same questions doesn’t mean you can’t make them interesting. Interviewees are familiar with the interview classics and will likely prepare canned answers. Think of questions that you don’t necessarily know the answer to, that require some improvised thinking, and that will reveal something about the candidate.

Focusing too much on culture fit

This may seem somewhat counter-intuitive. Some talk about an applicant’s fit with your work culture being as important as their skills. However, cultural fit too often boils down to preference for applicants with similar socioeconomic, educational, religious, or ethnic backgrounds. This is sometimes referred to as the “beer test” – the thinking being that if you assume your team would be happy to sit down for a beer with this applicant, then they’re a good fit for the job. This is clearly a somewhat outdated way of thinking.

A more progressive way to think about hiring is “culture add”. This means hiring someone who aligns with your company’s values and ethics and brings other experiences, perspectives and skills that will enrich your culture and help it grow. This helps reduce homogeneity and groupthink and appeals to a broader range of customers. It also has a snowball effect: a survey by Glassdoor  found that 76% of job seekers cited a diverse workforce as the most important criterion when evaluating potential job openings.

Not considering overqualified candidates

There are many reasons why hiring managers may reject an applicant they believe is overqualified for the position in question. Some managers are reluctant to hire someone who is better qualified than they are because they see that person as a threat to their position or authority. Therefore, they hire people who make them look good. Another reason is the fear that an overqualified person will get bored, lose interest or motivation, and leave the job too quickly. Or it is simply assumed that they’ll ask for too much money.

Whatever the reason, the simple truth is that highly skilled people are a boon to any organisation. They bring a wealth of skills and experience, can mentor less experienced colleagues, are quicker to learn the ropes, and generally require less supervision than less experienced employees.

If you’re wondering why such a candidate might be interested in the job, consider that career paths aren’t as linear as once thought. Some seek a better work-life balance or want to limit their level of professional responsibility for family or other personal reasons. And in the wake of the COVID -19 downsizing, there are likely to be many highly skilled people seeking employment.

Consider expert help

Avoiding these pitfalls in selecting suitable candidates for a job will make your hiring process immensely easier, but you will also benefit from professional support in your talent search. ETC Consult  uses a range of psychometric assessments to identify the personality and aptitude traits you are looking for and find the most suitable candidate for the job. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.