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We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason

Sep 16, 2008

Top 5 Ways to Fail at Hiring

If you're in the majority of businesses out there, you handle most or all of your recruiting in-house- no recruiters or staffing agencies in your hip pocket... or wallet. That is, you write your own job postings or advertisements, you research and make your own media buys, and you handle the pre-screening and interview process. If your company attends career fairs, you and your team conceive the design for your displays and staff the booth in hopes of meeting your next great hire.

If you look around, you're likely to find numerous tips and suggestions to help you attract and hire the best talent available. In fact, you'll probably find volumes of ideas from various sources, organizations, and experts.

Often, I've heard it said, success can be achieved not by only doing the right things, but also by avoiding doing the wrong things. For example, you could write a tremendously powerful and engaging job posting, place your ad in the top media resources, and attract quality resumes, but if you make one of the following mistakes, you are sure to meet with failure in your hiring efforts.

Here are my Top 5 Ways to Fail at Hiring:

5. Treat every candidate equally. Okay, so as far as the protected statuses go, you do need to treat each application equally, but you can't afford to treat the best qualified applicants with the same attention and efforts as the marginal applicants. The very best candidates will likely have many opportunities to choose from, and everyone wants to feel wanted. Make sure you let the top candidates feel the love!

4. Accept more resumes than you can handle. Consider this: the most qualified candidates are likely already employed. While it's impossible to know what their motivation is, it's is reasonable to assume that their window of interest may be very small. Maybe last week was a bad week. Maybe your posting came when their horoscope advised to be open to new opportunities. Maybe another opportunity will come along next week that is closer to home. Maybe another employer will hire them next week. The point is simple: if you're serious about attracting the best candidates, be sure to limit your exposure and only accept as many resumes as you can handle in a speedy fashion. That may mean taking down your online posting for a few days while you catch up with your screening. DON'T EXPECT GREAT CANDIDATES TO STILL BE WAITING FOR YOUR CALL 3 WEEKS AFTER THEY SUBMIT A RESUME.

3. Use Salary Requirements to Screen Candidates. While this sounds like a reasonable idea, it's another sure way to overlook GREAT talent who may be undervaluing or overvaluing their skills. Remember, people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and psychological profiles. Some incredibly talented individuals may not fully understand their market value, and may post salary requirements below what you would think is appropriate for the right person. Conversely, and maybe more common, the right person for your company may identify inflated salary requirements in hopes of taking that next step in their earning potential. If you weed out applicants based on salary requirements, you're potentially ignoring great hidden gems while limiting your ability to "sell" the candidates on the other great perks and benefits that may offset higher salary desires.

2. Include Lots of People in the Hiring Process. There is a school of thought that when making a decision about new personnel, it's best to get multiple parties involved, so as to ensure you're bringing the right candidate on board. What ends up turning in to reality more often than not, is that ALL of the people you want involved can't be available to meet with ALL the top candidates. What ensues is a tug of war over candidates that have not had equal exposure to your staff, and may turn into a drawn out interview process that sees top candidates withdraw themselves from consideration. If you're truly looking for the best possible candidates, you have to understand that they may see this as a convoluted or disorganized procedure. Instead, meet with all interested parties prior to interviewing, and take the time to understand EXACTLY what traits are going to be accepted, valued, and appreciated by your current personnel.

1. Place More Emphasis on Hard Skills than Soft. Okay, so most of you will begin writing you job ad by thinking about what hard skills your candidate must have. If you think of it, and have enough space, some of you will even include some of those soft skill terms like: teamwork, communication, detail-oriented, self-motivated, etc. The hard truth of our human experience is that soft skills are much more difficult to learn than hard skills. If you look into your crystal ball, and see the next 10 years of your company's future, what hiring decisions today will help you be more successful in the next decade? If we just look at the extremes, for an illustration, here's the point: If you hire people who are a 10 (in a scale of 1-10, 10 being best) in their hard skills and a 1 in their soft skills, you'll have disgruntled employees who lack engagement, resulting in higher turnover (and don't forget a rule of thumb that the cost of turnover is generally 200% of the annual salary). You can invest a great deal of money in training and development and appreciation, but if they don't want to be engaged or involved, this money will be wasted. If you hire people who are a 10 in the soft skills, and a 1 in the hard skills, you'll have happy employees who can't do the job. HOWEVER, if this were the case, you can train these types of employees, those who are eager, motivated, engaged, enthusiastic, driven, etc, to provide them with hard skills. YES, you're right. You cannot possible ignore the necessary hard skills that the job requires, but just remember, it's much cheaper and easier to train up the marginal hard skills for people who want to grow with your company, than it is to change the personalities of people who have the best hard skills.

So that's my top 5 Ways to Fail at Hiring. This blog is intended to be shared and generate dialogue and thoughtful consideration. Please feel free to email this post to a friend, or, if you're a blogger, please include links to this blog in your posts. Good Luck and Happy Hiring!

Jason Blais on FoxNews

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