Posted: 9:15 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013
By Lee Colan
To get the best people on your team, avoid these interview missteps.
As mentioned earlier this week in 5 Common Hiring Mistakes (and Their Solutions), selecting the right people is a critical leadership lever that drives growth, particularly as you are building your business.
Consider that the cost of turnover averages 40% of annual salary in hard costs only. Although there are many things managers can do to reduce turnover, making the right selection decision is where you get the most bang for your buck. You can do the math: reduce your turnover by two employees with a $40,000 average salary, and you drop $32,000 to your bottom line.
Here are 5 more employee selection mistakes... and solutions.
Mistake: You Give In to Pressure
The vast majority of managers hire too quickly and fire too slowly. In a tight labor market, it is not uncommon for a hiring manger to meet the candidate only once before making an offer. And when candidate supply is plentiful, managers tend to miss the opportunity to sift through lots of candidates to find the very best fit, blaming a "lack of time." Of course, these same managers later will have to find the time to deal with performance issues resulting from poor selection.
Solution: Use the 3x3x3 Rule, where three employees interview three candidates three different times. You may be thinking, "All that time for one hire?" I can guarantee you that you will spend much more time than that if you make the wrong hire.
Mistake: You Sell the Job
This is another mistake that can be exacerbated by a tight labor market. Managers are eager to sell the candidate on their company, because they know that the candidate likely has an offer on the table from a competitor. Instead of using the interview to better understand the candidate, the temptation is the turn the tables.
Solution: The effective, long-term objective is to look for a good "fit" for the job and the company, regardless of the labor market conditions. Southwest Airlines's approach is to "hire for attitude and train for skill." The financial and workforce records speak for themselves.
Mistake: You Ignore Legal Requirements
This mistake might or might not affect your selection decision, but it certainly will increase your company's liabilities. Whether you the interviewers is ignoring or ignorant of the law, the result can be the same. Asking inappropriate questions, in particular, puts you at risk.
Solution: Ignorance is no excuse. Know, train and enforce the law for everyone involved in your selection processes.
Mistake: You Neglect Preparation
If you haven't prepared enough, you may end up relying on those "favorite questions" and gut feel. Many interviewers do not take control of the interview and instead let the candidate set the process, timing, roles, pace and questioning.
Solution: Once you've identified and prioritized the desired success factors, prepare questions (and appropriate follow-up questions/probes) that will extract the necessary information. Remember, it is your interview and it requires thoughtful preparation.
Mistake: You Only Listen to the Words
More than ninety percent of all communication is nonverbal. Therefore, only tuning into the candidate's words gives you just a sliver of the data you need to make a good decision.
Solution: Look at cues like eye contact, posture, facial expressions and gestures. But also consider intonation, pacing of speech, energy level and self-confidence. How did you feel after the interview? Enthused, tired, impressed? It's likely that those who work with the candidate will feel the same way.
If you missed Tuesday's post, here's 5 Common Hiring Mistakes (and Their Solutions).