Even the most experienced HR pro has fallen victim to the perfectly polished candidate. “Hiring blindness,” some people call it —when taken in by a great series of interviews with a candidate that has already passed the screening process. So, how can you keep from being fooled?
Why Didn’t I See That?
There are many reasons why you might overlook the best prospect and choose the absolute worst.
- Interview prowess
- Cultural Chameleon
- Hasty decision-making
In retrospect, many hiring managers realize that they just failed to recognize a flaw that was evident. When an interviewer misses a big red flag, it is usually because the candidate has stellar interviewing skills. The pitfall here is that skills of any kind can be learned. In fact, currently, Google returns over 24 million results around the keywords “how to ace an interview.” With a little research, prospects can uncover the most frequently asked interview questions for every position ever hired for. Reputable websites such as CNN and Forbes even give their readers an edge by listing the “perfect way to answer” standard interview questions. So, unless you are a human lie detector, you are positioned to be fooled.
Due Diligence is Important
So, it stands to reason that if candidates are so bold as to lie to your face, they may also lie on paper. But with some due diligence, you can verify references, job history, and education. As an executive search professional with more than a decade of experience, I can tell you that this is essential. According to Forbes, 40% of all managers fail in the first 18 months of their hire. Due diligence throughout the entire recruitment process is necessary to avoid making costly hiring decisions.
The Financial Cost of a Bad Hire
How much does making a bad hiring decision cost your organization? The Department of Labor estimates the amount to be roughly equal to 30 percent of that employee’s salary their first year. CareerBuilder data shows that 41 percent of the employers they surveyed said that each bad hire could cost as much as $25,000, while 25 percent said the costs were closer to $50,000 for each hire.
These figures don’t even take into account the non-monetary losses such as damaged reputation, declining morale, and overall loss of productivity. Research by GlassDoor indicates that a bad hire can negatively impact the company culture as well, causing widespread employee disengagement.
Executive Recruitment Tips
Hiring an experienced executive search professional is the most efficient way to ensure you are getting not only the best and brightest candidates but also the most qualified and well-vetted. Here are a few other tips to fortify your hiring process.
Tip #1 Create a documented process. Without an organized approach, candidates will slip through the cracks in your process. While some steps of the hiring process are more important than others, important and critical information can be uncovered at each phase.
Tip #2 Don’t take anything at face-value. Every detail has to be verified. Shortcuts in this area will only lead to disappointment. Follow up with all references. Make it a point to speak (voice to voice) with at least two individuals who had leadership positions over the candidate.
Tip #3 Start with credential checks. By checking credentials, including employment history and dates, before you bring a candidate in for an interview, you can establish a baseline of honesty and credibility. In some cases, it may be a good idea to check references before interviewing. If you have a large pool of seemingly qualified candidates, this may be the best way to determine eligibility.
Tip #4 Utilize behavioral interviewing techniques. As I mentioned, interview skills can be learned. Answers to theoretical questions can be rehearsed. Instead, have the candidate tell you about real-world scenarios they have encountered and discuss how they dealt with those situations.
Tip #5 Don’t be swayed by appearance and personality. An executive may see an impressive looking and dynamic candidate and forgive inconsistencies or fail to ask the appropriate follow-up questions.
When a Bad Interview isn’t The End
We are all human. We have all had bad days and bad interviews. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my years in this industry is this: a bad interview doesn’t mean anything. It’s not surprising that some job seekers, even executive candidates find interviews stressful and have difficulty relaxing. Many find it difficult to allow their real personality come through. They recognize that there’s a lot on the line during these brief meetings.
This is where your interview skills are put to the test! When I find myself in a bad interview, I make every effort to put the candidate at ease so that they may reveal what he or she would be like as an employee. Just as you wouldn’t want to hire someone on the basis of a single factor, you also don’t want to eliminate the person too hastily because of a less-than-ideal interview demeanor.
Our strategy focuses on enabling our clients to recruit the right people for the structure in which they will perform. Please contact us to learn more about our expertise in Executive Search for Commercial Leadership positions in Medical Device and Biotechnology; including Marketing, Strategy, Sales Leadership, Training, Development, etc. We look forward to the opportunity to help you consistently improve your performance and your business!
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