Four Hiring Mistakes That May Hinder Hiring Long-Time Employees

It’s a brave new (hiring) world. If you’re looking to hire long-term employees—and save yourself valuable recruiting time—these four hiring mistakes may be hindering your efforts

By Heidi Parsont

Hiring isn’t what it used to be.

Some blame the residual effects of the economic downturn. Others point to Millennials—a wild card in the workforce with a new set of values and wants. Regardless of the reason, there’s no denying we’ve entered a brave new world of hiring. What we’ve relied on in the past now has to be realigned for hiring in the future.

In a poll of 20,000 workers by Leadership IQ, 46% of new hires were let go from their jobs within 18 months of being hired, only 11% of these for lack of skill. To avoid this costly outcome, be aware of these four mistakes that may be setting you up for hiring failure:

  1. You are too willing settle.
    Journalist Maureen Dowd wrote, “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” She was talking about relationships, but her words ring true for today’s hiring managers, too.

In fairness, internal HR departments have never been stretched so thin. Not only are they responsible for hiring, but their time and attention are diverted to an ongoing litany of new rules and regulations.

So it’s no surprise that today’s hiring managers evaluate candidates based on skills and experience and take no time to consider another very powerful indicator of success: cultural fit. In a 2013 Gallup poll of more than 150,000 U.S. workers, 70% of respondents unhappy in their jobs cited poor cultural fit among the top reasons.

How can you ensure you’re finding the right candidates for your company’s unique culture?

  • Understand—and fully articulate—your company culture to job candidates. Often, this discussion is an afterthought, but it should be among the first topics covered. Be upfront about your company’s culture. Is it fast-paced? Bureaucratic? Are teams valued or do employees work independently?
  • Use a behavioral assessment as part of your screening process. Assessment tools, such as PI Worldwide’s Predictive Index® Suite, are designed to uncover the behavioral traits that help employers understand more about candidates beyond skills and experience.
  1. You aren’t conducting reference checks.
    Increasingly, employers no longer check references before extending a job offer. The reasons are twofold: First, many companies are bound by internal legal policies that prevent them from offering specific feedback about former employees, turning references into mere confirmations of past dates of employment. Second, to save time, many HR teams are taking shortcuts wherever they can. However, by not researching a candidate’s background, you could be setting yourself up to make a costly hiring mistake. Some tips: 
  • Always do your due diligence. Make every attempt to check references. A 2012 CareerBuilder survey of internal hiring managers found that 30% of employers caught fake references on a job application. And, a staggering 69% of employers say they’ve changed their minds about a candidate after speaking with a reference.
  • Use digital tools to research a candidate’s connections and profile. LinkedIn is a fast way to find shared contacts who can provide more detailed feedback than you can obtain from formal references. And giving a candidate’s online presence a once over can tell you a lot—and help spot potential red flags. 
  1. You’re setting the salary too low.
    When the economy declined in the mid-2000s, employers held the upper hand. With many professionals vying for limited positions, employers capitalized on a flooded candidate pool. Many companies believed they could lowball an offer because the candidate should be glad to have a job when many did not.

Today, the economy is improving and candidates, once again, have choices. Unfortunately, many employers still hope to hire top talent for less than market rate. This leads to stellar candidates dropping out of the hiring process to pursue competitive opportunities or, worse yet, hiring the wrong candidates.

To overcome this problem:

  • Benchmark salaries against peer companies in your region to see how you compare. Integrate them into your annual plan and not just when making an offer. If you’re strapped for time, seek out the local chapter of a professional association that conducts its own salary studies.
  • Consider other perks you can offer. If your company simply cannot budge on salary, add other benefits to sweeten the deal. More than anything, today’s professionals want flexibility. You can offer innovative work-from-home or flexible schedule options to make your offer more attractive, which especially resonates with Millennials who crave flexibility in when, where and how they work.
  1. You’re unwilling—or unable—to think outside the box.
    Some roles require very specific credentials, but most professions don’t require an ironclad list of skills and experiences that are absolutely necessary for success. In fact, being bound to “must haves” before considering a candidate may mean missing out on an incredible professional who can lead your company to success.

To start thinking outside the box:

  • Determine your “must have” versus “nice-to-have” qualifications. Perhaps you can budge on the “must have” skills and move some to the “nice-to-have” category.
  • Challenge yourself to interview at least one candidate outside your “ideal” profile. You may be surprised how much you can gain from hiring someone who you might otherwise have missed, including outside perspectives, contacts and new strategies to take your program to a new level.
  • Consider candidates who may have dabbled in the skills you’re looking for but aren’t “the” expert. A candidate with a baseline of skills and the desire to continually learn and grow can be one of your best hires.

By taking these hiring mistakes into consideration—and addressing them head on—you’ll position your team for faster, smarter hiring; attract stellar employees for the long term; and save your team time and effort in the process. You’ll take today’s brave new hiring into bold new hiring in no time!

Heidi Parsont, President TorchLight Hire, LLC

Heidi Parsont, President
TorchLight Hire, LLC