The following is part 4 in our continuing series highlighting the most common mistakes that employers and their hiring managers often make and recommendations on what to do differently in order to avoid them. View the previous articles here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3
Hiring Mistake – The Process of Elimination Approach
Once companies begin searching for their next key hire, their focus often starts off on the wrong foot by relying upon a process that begins by eliminating those who don’t fit their idea of their model hire. What they should be doing instead is seeking out those with the greatest potential. It’s more common than you might think and is most often characterized by doing one or more of the following:
- Setting Unreasonably High or Rigid Prerequisites: Raising the bar is one thing, but raise it too high and you’ll only end up with someone who’s already doing exactly the job that is being considered. The problem here is the best candidates will often avoid such positions because they offer so little potential growth and advancement.
- (My Personal Pet Peeve) Keyword Vetting: This is just lazy reliance on technology and a poor attempt to conquer the workload; virtually guaranteeing you’ll end up with the candidates who have become experts at crafting their resume to accommodate for this approach.
- Focusing on the First Resumes That Come In: New jobs create an immediate rush followed by slowdown in volume. Being in a hurry to fill the role doesn’t ensure the best candidate will become aware of your position immediately. This approach guarantees you’ll miss talented, passive job searchers (those already with a job) as well as talented, more active, candidates who are likely out networking rather than the job boards.
What to do instead?
Start by defining a period of time that you’ll accept candidates from all sources and stick to it. This will help to overcome the desire to dive into the initial batch of resumes that come through the door and shortlisting based on criteria that may not accurate reflect the cross section of applicants you’ll have at the end of the solicitation period.
Next, require a little extra effort from candidates. This might include a cover letter with specific requirements related to length or content, such as 100 words or less. This ensures that you won’t spend valuable time reading voluminous cover letters, but rather an ideal 7 – 10 seconds that’s usually just enough to catch your attention. You can also require the resume to be limited to one page. This can be particularly challenging for some who rely on their ability to be overly verbose.
Again, this keeps the screening and review time for each candidate to a minimum. More importantly, it filters out many of the less qualified applicants and “window shoppers” who generally won’t take the time to comply with your requests. The important thing is not to create hurdles for the sake of hurdles. If the role requires brevity and the ability to keep things simple, it’s a good way to gauge their ability to do so.
Finally, don’t narrow down your list of candidates too quickly. In fact, select more candidates for a secondary screening stage than you might normally and add a step that provides good perspective on the candidate. One way to do this is to schedule a 10 minute interview via Skype or similar tool so that you can personally interact with and see potential candidates. A 10 minute face-to-face interview gives more information about the candidate than would an hour long phone screening. Go with your gut and use this opportunity to support or defend your gut feeling and have confidence that you gave the candidate the benefit of the doubt before making the decision to move forward.
Seem like a lot of work? It is, trust me. But when done correctly, the difference is like night and day. Of course not every company is equipped to take this kind of approach, which is why many companies have recognized the importance that having a trusted external recruiting partner to assist them.
If you would like more information about the value the Ztek can provide to your organization, contact us today and we’ll share with you why we are among the fastest growing recruiting and staffing companies today.