People are the most important resource for any business. Hiring the right employees and avoiding common mistakes companies make during the recruitment process is essential to staffing your organization for growth and success.
Hiring the right employees for your company and its culture is crucial no matter what your business specializes in. No business can function well without investing time in identifying, hiring, and retaining talented people. However, many companies make quick or unfocused hiring decisions, which may only benefit the organization in the short term, or may actually hurt the company’s performance. Any company can make these hiring mistakes, whether you’re part of a startup hiring your first employees, or you’re part of a larger company looking to expand your team. Here are a few major pitfalls companies face during the hiring process as well as strategies for avoiding them.
1. Failing to Post Jobs on External Platforms
Offering promotions and new positions to internal candidates encourages loyalty and job satisfaction within employees. It’s important that employees see growth potential within a company. Hiring internally can also ensure that the person chosen for the job is familiar with the inner workings of your organization, often creating a smoother transition and lowering training costs. However, companies who are seeking to expand their business or take their efforts in a new direction should also consider external applicants.
One major reason you might choose to hire outside of your company is to bring in a seasoned expert who can provide the company with new ideas, specialized skills, or industry experience your organization may be missing. By aligning your corporate strategy with your talent search, consider whether you are lacking strong leadership in a particular department and focus on hiring externally to fill this experience gap. Be sure not to neglect the ways an external hire and their role within the company will affect the culture of your organization. Even if an individual has the skills you're looking for, if they disrupt your company culture, you may see a decrease in productivity rather than the improvements you’d hoped for.
Online job boards such as Indeed, Careerbuilder, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Monster allow companies to reach a large audience of potential candidates. Of course, this is only a sampling of the platforms available online, and you don’t need to post your opening on every job site. Instead, you should research where other employers within your industry post often in order to ensure you’re reaching a relevant audience. It’s also important to plan for the cost of these postings. Paying into a variety of sites will increase the visibility of your posting, but if you’re not targeting your efforts, you stand to burn through your budget and risk the chance you still won’t find the right candidate.
Encouraging employees to make referrals is one of the best ways to gain quality employees. While this isn’t the same as maintaining a job posting, your current employees can be a great resource for attracting new talent. There’s also a good chance that referral candidates will fit well with the company culture. The fact that a referral candidate comes with a trusted recommendation can also speed up the timeline for initial contact, phone screening, interviews, and hiring decisions, which also cuts down on recruitment costs.
Some companies choose to advertise new positions internally during the initial search. This can lower recruitment costs, and it’s entirely possible just the right candidate exists within your company. Later, you can expand your search to external platforms. However, your company should strive for a balance of internal and external hiring efforts to ensure that you’re examining all possible options when it comes to your most important resource, your employees.
2. Only Hiring Internally for Higher-Up Positions
When higher-up positions become available within a company, current employees may feel they’ve put in the time and effort with a company in order to advance. As a cost-saving strategy, internal hires may be willing to accept a pay raise that is less than you’d have to offer an outside candidate. However, again, this shouldn’t limit your options for finding and hiring the right individual for a position.
In some cases, promoting a talented employee to the wrong position can actually weaken your team. And while it may not be a good idea in the long term to restrict any single employees potential to a specific set of duties, it’s important to consider placing people in positions appropriate to their strengths and the overall needs of the company. Aside from the benefit of outside experience or skills currently missing from your organization, external hires for higher-up positions can also help to avoid jealousy and frustration between coworkers due to office politics.
3. Limiting Your Options to Locals
While it can be convenient for both the business and the prospective employee to hire locally, businesses that limit their pool of applicants solely to local hires will miss opportunities to recruit talented employees who may be willing to relocate. Especially with the widespread use of online job postings, it is possible to reach potential applicants from broader nearby regions, across the country, and around the world.
Non-local candidates present some obvious challenges, such as difficulty scheduling multiple interviews and the potential that they won’t fit in well with the local culture. However, if your business is based in an area with too much competition for talent, seeking non-local candidates may be a better alternative than hiring local employees who may not have the experience your company needs. In some cases, a candidate may already have plans to move to the area, but they need to line up a job opportunity before they can finalize their plans.
If possible, allocate part of your recruiting budget to cover travel costs for interviewing long-distance candidates. If this isn’t an option, interviews via phone and video chat are a viable alternative to in-person interviews, though these aren’t always as telling as face to face interactions. If you are ready to make a job offer to a non-local candidate, providing relocation incentives can help to ensure that your offer is accepted, and the gesture can inspire loyalty in the employee who will appreciate your assistance.
4. Not Clearly Defining the Position
Taking time to create a detailed job description is one of the most essential steps in the hiring process. A job description should include the primary duties of the job, the skills and qualifications required, the salary range, the hours and schedule, and any special demands of the job. This should also lay the foundation for the company’s vision as well as any interview questions.
Without an accurate job description, employees may feel frustrated either during the application process or as they begin performing the job. Although a candidate might be open to performing a variety of duties, without clear expectations going into the position, they might not know where to focus their efforts. This can create problems for the candidate as well as the company as a whole. In particular, clarifying the range of wages and salary available for the position as well as the hours and schedule expectations can even help your company to avoid lawsuits later on due to perceived wage or hour violations.
A proper job description isn’t just useful for the from the perspective of job candidates. Defining the position clearly can be a great way to ensure that the company’s most immediate needs and talent gaps will be covered by a new employee or an entirely new position. Recycled or vague job descriptions that may have aligned with other positions may not be sending a specific enough message to attract the candidates your company really needs.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to continue with bad hiring practices, especially when your company is going through a phase of rapid growth. It may seem like a good idea to bring on many new employees quickly, or to settle for a less experienced candidate in a higher-up position simply to fill the gap sooner. However, by taking the time to research the most appropriate internal and external platforms to display the job opening and tailoring the description to your company’s needs, you stand the best chance of making quality hires who will bring value to your company.