Four tips for avoiding a ‘bad hire’

Four tips for avoiding a ‘bad hire’

If you’ve ever worked alongside a colleague who could be considered a ‘bad hire’ you will know first-hand the detrimental effect it can have on your business. According to the Harvard Business Review, 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions and 45% of bad hires are attributed to poor screening processes.

With so much discussion around a skills shortage in Australia, it’s no wonder the pressure on start-ups and small businesses to get recruitment right is very real. For fast-growing businesses, it’s tempting to get someone in quickly but not taking the time to assess whether they’re the right person for the job or your business could be disastrous. Keep these four tips in mind when hiring for your next role:

Find partners you can trust

One of the biggest challenges start-ups face is how to secure the people you need to grow, when no-one even knows you exist. We all know that the first hires can make or break your success, but in the war for talent, how can you really compete? If you can’t compete on salary, if you can’t leverage brand or product awareness, if you don’t even have much investment yet, there is still one powerful factor you can leverage and that’s your ability to tell a compelling story and sell a vision.

In the same way you’d market your company to potential investors, you can attract the right people. It might be time to reconsider your recruitment partners – the biggest recruitment agencies may not be your most agile asset. As the market constricts to find the right people, it’s the niche boutique partners that specialise in exactly the type of roles you need to fill that might be a better fit.

Use AI to inform hiring decisions

Anyone who has applied for a job in the past decade has most likely taken part in some form of behavioural or skills assessment – personality testing, numerical reasoning, aptitude, technical or cognitive skills assessments.

Technology companies are estimated to spend $14 billion globally on the screening and shortlisting stage of hiring. However, potential often outweighs experience. Technology can help you identify candidates that have a related skill (or skills) and the potential to learn new ones, which ensures you’re not missing out on top talent who may have otherwise been excluded through a pure skills-matching approach.

Focus not on whether a candidate just has the required skills, but whether they have the capability to learn new ones. Tools like Mindspace from Australian start-up Gooroo can help you assesses an individual’s ‘mindset’ and evaluate if a potential candidate would be a good fit for your team.

Pay attention to your interview techniques

Scrutinise the role and performance of ‘interviewers’ and the way they represent your start-up to potential candidates. In this highly competitive market, if the interview isn’t conducted right and your company values are not presented well then it can be very damaging. Gone are the days when the candidate had to work hard to win the job, these days companies must work just as hard to attract the right staff. Remember the interview is not just the candidate’s opportunity to sell themselves, it’s also your chance to pitch the opportunity and your company to them.

Make sure hiring managers heading into an interview are prepared, have read the candidates CVs, checked their social profiles and done their homework. In the interview, be the facilitator, not the talker. You won’t glean any insights if you’re doing all the talking. Make sure the candidate sticks to your agenda but give them enough rope to tell their version of the story.  And don’t forget to give the candidate a chance to ask you questions and be prepared to provide clear answers about the role and company – this is your chance to make sure the job is a fit for everyone.

Always check references – do your due diligence

The case of a former manager at South Australia’s Department of Premier and Cabinet who faced court recently over allegations she secured a $245,000 salaried positionwith a CV that fraudulently claimed she had worked with top technology companies, highlights why it’s crucial to check candidate references at the start, not the end of the process.

Conducting reference checks before you shortlist removes any risk of emotional bias. Too many businesses fall into the trap of going through the shortlist and interview process and then treat the reference check like a compliance exercise.

With businesses across multiple sectors all vying for top talent, isn’t it time you changed your hiring processes and avoided the costly setbacks of a bad hire?

Smart Company Article