Are You Hiring the Wrong Fit?

September 10, 2017 | Tiffany C. Campbell, M.S.

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As unemployment continues to dip throughout the country, organizations are making difficult choices to fill job openings. No matter what the employment climate is like, it can be very tempting to just hire the best candidate that is in front of you. Rushing into making a bad hiring decision, however, can cost an organization in a number of ways. First, there is the financial cost of hiring the wrong fit, which can run into the thousands or even millions of dollars. Second, is the potential negative impact to the organization’s morale and productivity. Trying to correct the mistake of hiring the wrong person can lead the rest of the team to become dissatisfied or disengaged. Any organization can fall victim to selection and interviewing mistakes. Read on to find out some of our proven tricks to circumvent these common blunders:

  1. Unclear or Inaccurate Position Profiles

The entire recruiting and selection process begins by creating clear and concise position profiles. A good position profile clearly specifies the competencies required of the position. It needs to be descriptive enough to attract the right candidates. Remember that a position profile is part of your marketing strategy to get the best talent available. Thus, you should make sure that you are meeting the needs of your job candidates. This means that you need to give them enough information to understand what is expected for the job, but at the same time not overwhelming them with irrelevant details.

  1. Poor Questioning Techniques

It is easy to ask leading questions that suggest the right answer. Instead, one needs to use behavioral based interviewing questions and ask probing questions. Behavioral based questions focus on real, past experiences (e.g. “Tell me about a time when you had to delegate an important task to an employee.”). The rationale for this type of interviewing is that past performance is the best predictor of future performance, i.e., success on the job. It has been shown to be more valid than traditional interviewing. To accurately predict a person’s success, be sure to ask questions that are focused on specific, job-related competencies, that is the key knowledge, skills, abilities, and aptitudes (KSAAs) required for the position. Behavioral based interviews allow for all candidates to be treated the same because they are asked the same types of questions in regards to job-specific competencies. The goal of the interview is to obtain as much information as you can about the candidate’s most significant accomplishments. However, be aware that the best candidates are not naturally going to provide this information without prompting; remember to ask probing questions in order to clarify the candidate’s contribution to the situation, such as

  • “Tell me more about that.”
  • “What happened next?”
  • “How did you know there was a problem?”
  • Explain your thinking – why did you use that approach?
  • What was your intent?
  • How did you go about achieving it?
  • How did you deal with it?

  1. Disorganized Interview Process

Streamline your interviewing process! Clarify ahead of time which questions will be asked by which interviewer, and make sure when splitting up the questions that all of the job-related competencies are covered. You don’t want the prospective candidate to have to answer the same question over and over again. For one, it prevents the maximum amount of impactful information to be collected. Secondly, superfluous questions can create an unpleasant experience for the candidate. Remember, the candidate is also determining if your organization is where he/she wants to work. If the interviewing process seems disorganized or redundant, this could impact how the candidate views the organization as a whole. This leads us to the final common mistake: forgetting about the candidate experience.

  1. Forgetting About the Candidate Experience

Start by putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes. You want to attract top talent, so if you build a positive candidate experience, talent will come to you. Your employees are the brand and voice of the organization, and candidates make decisions based on what they see during the interview process. At the very least, you should make sure that the candidate is never left alone, offered bathroom breaks, given water, and greeted with a friendly “Hello.” Candidates tend to compare organizations with competitors, and you want to make sure that the candidate feels that he/she made the right choice in applying to your organization. The positive candidate experience should continue even after the candidate has been selected; onboarding is still part of the candidate experience. New employees decide whether they feel at home or not in the first three weeks – and 22% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment (The Wynhurst Group). Even if he/she ends up not being a good candidate for that specific role, he/she may be a good candidate for a different role, or a potential customer, so you want to make sure they leave the experience singing the praises of the organization.

Final Thoughts

This article is a part of our series on Competency Modeling. To read our first article in this series, Why Competency Models Fail, click here. Even though Competency Modeling can be an excruciating process, its benefits can be incredibly powerful. Therefore, we have decided to create a series of articles outlining some of the tips and tricks we have learned along the way on how to get the most out of the Competency Modeling process. In each of the upcoming articles, we will discuss how you can apply Competency Modeling throughout every aspect of the employee life cycle (see below for our Competency Model process).

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Tags Leadership Development, Lessons Learned, competency modeling


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