This is a guest post by Alanna Levenson. Alanna is a business coach who has helped many entrepreneurs via one-on-one coaching, seminars, and her highly popular Think Tank Mastermind GroupTM. We're happy to gain her insights, so we're excited about sharing them with you.
As a career coach and business coach I’m often engaged in conversations about hiring, firing, onboarding, and training. What surprises me is how often I see managers approaching the interviewing process of new hires in a “loosey goosey” way.
As a manager, if you don’t have a structured interview process, you risk making a bad hire. This shouldn’t always be blamed on the candidate. Yes, it’s true that sometimes candidates embellish on their resume, or give the “right” answers to interview questions. But if they don’t work out as the promised employee, you should take a look at the process or journey you take a candidate on from start to finish.
When I say start to finish, I don’t mean from the beginning of the interview to the end. I’m talking about the course from the moment you contact your new hire with interest, to their first three months of employment.
The Hiring Mistakes
Here are the most significant mistakes hiring managers make and the challenges that result when there is no set course:
#1 Lack of preparation of questions
Make sure you ask all the necessary questions to find that out as much as you can. As a guide, you may ask yourself:
- How are you going to properly evaluate them?
- How will you know they have the right experience and skills while making sure they are a good culture fit?
- Are you asking all the candidates the same questions to efficiently evaluate all of your candidates?
- Do your interview questions affirm they really do know how to use that software program?
- Do your questions tell you how they come up with solutions when problems arise?
#2 Lack of time given to the interview conversation
Take your time to get to know your candidates in those first two conversations. If you don’t, you’ll end up repeating yourself in the training process more than you care to. You might even go back to the drawing board interviewing new candidates because you rushed to hire the one you now want to release to the unemployment pool.
#3 Lack of thorough examination from multiple interviewers
To save time, often only one hiring manager conducts interviews, and it’s usually the manager who will be overseeing the training and performance of that new person. But what if that new person is managing a team or department?
Depending on the level of open role, you can let this candidate interview with some existing employees. This would ensure the candidate is asked relevant questions from more than one perspective. If the open position is the manager of a department, this will also give the candidate a better sense of what they’ll be walking into if they do get hired.
#4 Hiring strongly based on “likeability.”
Now imagine, you’re the hiring manager and while talking to this highly qualified candidate, you notice that you haven’t established a strong rapport with them in the first 10-20 minutes. You probably don’t realize it, but you’ve already decided they aren’t the right candidate, and you’ll start to rationalize why you don’t like them.
You have to strongly consider competency, accomplishments, ability, and potential. 80% or more of the hiring decision from interviews is based on rapport and likeability. Based on what I mentioned earlier in #1, if you don’t have a structured list of questions outlined prior to interviewing your first candidate, you most likely won’t give this person a fair chance.
#5 Hiring before the company is ready
Don’t hire until you’re ready. When I say you aren’t ready, it could include any of the following:
- You don’t know exactly who your new hire is reporting to
- You don’t have their first week, 2 weeks or first month planned out for them to onboard them, train them or support them in acclimating to their new job
- They don’t have their computer login, HR paperwork to sign, or a desk ready
- They aren’t introduced to their fellow coworkers
- You don’t have a clear job description that has the title, job summary, working environment, work activities, performance expectations, compensation, and job competencies
I had a client who consistently made this mistake for years and wondered why they had a 38% turnover rate.
#6 No process for employees’ self-evaluation
When a new employee isn’t sure they are doing a good job, it’s usually due to a few of the hiring mistakes already mentioned. They could also be unsure of how well they are doing because they may have misunderstood the job they were being hired for.
Another possibility is that they quickly become unhappy with their new position because you don’t have a check in process to see how they’re doing or if they need anything to support their success at this stage.
#7 Negatively evaluating too early
On average, it can take 3-6 months for a new employee to ramp up in their new position before they start to fully get what they’re doing. This can depend on the position, but allowing time for a new person to acclimate gives them the space to get used to their new environment in every way.
Unfortunately, new employees aren’t usually given enough time before they are negatively judged as the wrong person for the job. I often hear unrealistic expectations from employers about how long they think a new employee should be up and running.
I recently met a Senior Manager at Amazon who started his position a month ago. His direct supervisor told him that he’s expected to be up and running within the first month. At first he felt overwhelmed, but he was able to take a deep breath after talking to a few of his colleagues who told him that adapting will realistically take him about a year.
#8 No official onboard process
When you combine everything I’ve mentioned above, these are either all contributors or symptoms of not having an official onboarding process.
At this stage, having an onboarding process for your new employees is vital since it will affect their job performance, level of satisfaction, organizational commitment and retention rate. The negative impact of not having an effective onboarding process is early burn out.
Your candidate could easily interpret your lack of onboarding process as a message that you’re not that excited to have them there. They’ll feel like they’re just another employee number that will get lost in the HR system. They may also see it as a sign that your company is disorganized and doesn’t have the proper processes in place to run a well-oiled machine or a long-term successful business.
Why not have a structure to your entire interviewing AND hiring process?
When you take the time to outline your hiring procedures, it leaves ample time for shared evaluation, and breathing room for excitement and a little bit of fun.
If I was being hired for a new position today, and I experienced that type of energy from my interviewers and the company I was given an offer from, I’d be excited to start on my first day. Just as excited as I was growing up when I started my first day of school.
Since 2005, Alanna Levenson has been transforming professionals’ lives and careers. She is a master at helping people learn how to get to the root of any challenge and find their natural rhythm for success. She partners with clients in a personal discovery process where limiting beliefs, negative emotions, and old unwanted habits are set free. She is well known for being an innately intelligent guide for everyone from sales staff and managers to business owners and CEOs from a broad range of companies. Check out I Love My Life! Coaching for more info and updates.
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