Every company makes hiring mistakes. A candidate looks great on paper, aces the interviews, nails every reference and background check – then fails to meet expectations in some fundamental way, leading to a disruptive and costly termination.
Lots of hiring errors can be avoided just by clearing away some of the most stubborn myths that cling to the hiring process like cobwebs, suggests a new book, 100,000 Successful Hires.
Since hiring great people is much harder than it seems, “businesses can save considerable time, expense and risk if they improve their hiring skills,” said Tony Beshara, president of Babich & Associates, a longtime placement and recruiting firm in Dallas, Texas, in an interview. Are any of the following myths still part of your company’s hiring practice? If so, it’s time to rethink them:
MYTH #1: We need young people because they’re highly energetic.
REALITY: People who have energy have energy regardless of age, says Beshara. Those with the most experience may bring the most energy because they’re highly motivated to succeed. Why narrow your pool of people prematurely?
MYTH #2: The candidate has held too many jobs in recent years.
REALITY: Companies come and go, expand and contract, more than ever today. In 1973 the average age of a business in the U.S. was about 60 years old. In 2009, it was 15 years. A much better question to ask (and answer) is, “Why did the candidate leave the job(s)? What were the circumstances?”
MYTH #3: The candidate is working as a consultant – so he or she must’ve been downsized and isn’t as good as someone working full time.
REALITY: Maybe the person has been doing highly regarded consulting work for top firms in your field – and has valuable data, insights and contacts that could benefit you. Dig into the consulting work and the relationships that exist there to see how the person’s experience might help your firm.
MYTH #4: We only hire people we know or those referred to us by somebody we know.
REALITY: The best people come from a thorough search. Hiring managers know they may need to interview more than a handful to fully appreciate the available pool of candidates. Personal recommendations count for a lot but not for everything.
MYTH #5: People with the highest GPAs make the best hires.
REALITY: Not always. Top grades are no guarantee of common sense, diligence, work ethic and all-around good character, as many experienced hiring managers will admit. Don’t disqualify a strong candidate simply because you don’t see a 4.0 on his CV.
MYTH #6: We won’t consider candidates with online degrees.
REALITY: Most major universities are developing their online offerings and within 10 years an online degree will be the norm, says Beshara. The real question should be: “What did you learn and how can you use that to help us succeed?”
MYTH #7: We’re really good at hiring.
REALITY: Numerous studies show that the typical interviewing process is only 57 percent effective at predicting future employee success. That’s just seven percent better than flipping a coin, says Beshara. Too many companies “believe their own press clippings” rather than examine how they might improve their processes.
MYTH #8: MBAs are better.
REALITY: Not always. “We sell the idea in America that you’re smarter if you have more education. But just because one candidate has an MBA or some other advanced degree, that doesn’t make him or her better than the others.” The person may have had more time, money, or interest in education than another candidate.
MYTH #9: The more we pay, the better employee we’ll get.
REALITY: Again, not always. It takes more than money to find the best candidate for the job.
MYTH #10: We have a multi-layered system for hiring to make sure we get it right.
REALITY: “If companies had just three people do the interviewing – the three most impacted by the person who will do the job – they’d have better luck than if they spread the risk around,” says Beshara. Too often the system becomes more of a popularity contest than hiring the best person for the job.
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