How to Prevent Making Bad Hires

The thought of anyone making great hires 100% of the time is of course ridiculous. Though hiring managers all strive for identifying, interviewing and hiring the right people all of the time, it just isn’t possible to achieve that benchmark.

We have discussed how to find the perfect candidate in addition on how to keep them in previous columns. However, how do you ensure that other employer’s bad apples don’t end up in your bunch?

Here are a few simple ideas to reduce the possibility of a bad hire.

One that larger companies use but the smaller ones sometimes don’t is a formal and well-designed job application. There are many advantages starting with giving you a clear picture of the candidate’s history, skills and education along with any gaps. One can’t rely entirely on a résumé. The other distinct advantage is that this is the place to put in writing that supplying false information could lead to dismissal.

Do not ignore this one!

Once you have a complete application, take time to compare it to the résumé. Amazingly, you may find immediate discrepancies. This is the perfect time to highlight those inconsistencies. If you get to a formal interview with the candidate, ask them-don’t confront. It could be a simple matter of wrong dates or could be something more serious such as hiding an employer or falsifying dates.

Gaps in employment have always been the biggest red flag on a résumé or application. There’s a reason and you need to find out what it is. A few weeks are no problem. But a few months need explaining. Longer than that? It could be as simple as someone starting a family, a lengthy medical issue or it could be as concerning as a legal issue.

Next are checking references and calling former employers. Checking references no longer has the effect as in the past. The reason being is that a candidate is only going to list people who will provide stellar testimonials. Right? However, let the buyer beware for hiring managers who won’t take the time to hear from employers for whom your potential new hire has already worked. You may not find out specifics about your applicant but you might find out enough to allow you to make an intelligent hiring decision.

This leads into an area where few dare to venture-a thorough background check. Depending upon the thoroughness that you pay for, this can provide information from confirmation of identity (identity theft being a growing problem), to civil and criminal information, credit information, education confirmation, DMV, plus more. A recent online search provided prices from $15.00 to over $300.00 for the most detailed reports. Most companies will have a few options from which to choose and you can add or delete items as you wish. Most reports are provided within one to three business days.

Desperate hires. You may be so consumed in trying to find a warm body that you do not allow yourself to conduct a proper interview or check into a person’s past. This not only is foolish, but a hasty, poor hire will haunt you even after they’re gone. Every good salesperson has heard of the ABC’s of selling: Always Be Closing. I like to take it another step: ABI-Always Be Interviewing. You need to be ready when, not if, your people leave. We are seeing tenures of 3-5 years that are now the norm in employee retention. Anything beyond that is a bonus. The days of 40 years and the gold watch were for our grandparents and those days are long gone.

Some ‘outrageous’ ideas for you to consider are 1) using assessments, which, when using the right test for the right position, can be invaluable. 2) How about a trial run for your new hire? With unemployment the way it is now, nearly 12% in California, I believe that a paid one week invitation can provide a keen insight to one’s character, can provide potential personality conflicts and basically tell whether someone can do the job for which they are hired, simple. This one won’t always work but consider it as an option. 3) Another novel idea, which will be discussed in further detail in the next column, is the growing number of 1099/contract employees.

The above sounds like a lot of work and it is. But it is a lot easier to hire someone than to fire someone. Wouldn’t you rather spend a little more time, money and effort to allow you to make the best possible decision? Experienced niche staffing professionals know what to look for in candidates in their respective industries. Some recruiting firms are now offering incentives for new searches-perhaps it is time to inquire to see if utilizing a search firm is right for you and your company.

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