In today’s global world, it’s even more essential that organizations attract the right people at the right time and assign them the right match with their skills. Believe it or not, this is easier said than done. In fact, it’s well known that newly recruited senior managers often fail within the first 18 months. Why?
Frankly, in my view, one reason is that most owners, and organizational leaders for that matter, do not conduct formal recruitment processes frequently enough to develop strong skills in this area. Secondly, their recruitment process is often not only flawed but borders on bias and discrimination. So, it’s time that I share the top ten recruitment mistakes I’ve seen organizations make. If you see your process in this list, then it’s time to call an executive search professional for help.
1. Same old, same old – neglecting to update job descriptions and skill requirements prior to the recruitment of a new employee often leads to hiring the wrong person. The new employee may be overqualified and therefore not challenged enough by the job and/or may not have skills that are current enough to meet your future challenges.
2. Superhero or replica? – if a good employee has been with a company for a long time and is well respected, the organization often seeks out a “replica” which, in turn, only sets this person up for failure. On the other hand, organizations will look for a non-existent superhero and will be disappointed when they turn out to be simply human. Be sure you develop a realistic set of selection criteria.
3. Ignoring intra-cultural issues – while each organization has its own culture, so too does each department within an organization. Since each leader has their own unique style, these different nuances must be considered in the “matching” process. Failure to do so will only lead to clashes between work styles.
4. Single mindedness – many qualified candidates are simply not looking for a new job and have to be enticed to examine your opportunity. Therefore, focusing on your old “tried and true” single search strategy just won’t do. You need to develop a multiple focused strategy that allows you to broadcast to a wide audience.
5. Bargain dollar dreaming – you’d be surprised at how many organizations are not in tune with the salaries being paid in the marketplace. As a result, they engage in “pie in the sky” thinking as they strive to hire the highest level of skills and experience for entry level salaries. At the same time, many people try to “nickel and dime” the potential new employee as they negotiate the compensation package. No wonder positions remain unfilled for so long.
6. Organizational blindness – while loyalty and commitment is highly valued, many leaders only see the bright side and fail to be realistic about the strengths, challenges and opportunities their organization offers. As a result, they paint a rosy picture that only leads to candidate disappointment. What was promised doesn’t come about and/or didn’t exist in the first place.
7. Interview gaffes – candidate interviewing is serious business. The goal is to accurately gauge skills and compare/contrast these with your specific needs. Interview questions need to be linked to the job description and ask for examples of behavior. Applying questions that ask the candidate what animal, tree or fruit they represent is absolute nonsense and should be left for teambuilding time.
8. Snail’s pace process – a key mistake that organizations make is to drag out their recruitment process well into unrealistic timeframes. When people are looking for a job, they don’t want to wait for months for that to happen. It’s amazing how many really good candidates are lost to a snail’s pace process.
9. Poor reference checking – you’d be surprised at how many people do not check references but rather rely on a friend or personal referral. Reference checking needs to be done as thoroughly as the in-person candidate interview. Failure to neglect this step will only lead to candidate misfit and turnover.
10. Poor initiation – there is nothing worse than setting a start date and then having the new employee arrive with no one there to greet or support them. The new boss is away on holidays, no one knew the individual was even arriving and the workspace and new employee orientation materials aren’t ready. I recently was aware of a candidate that walked out of his new work after only one week. Be careful, it could happen to you!
Turnover rates of candidate hires will cost a company three to five times the salary of the departed individual. Corporations and not-for-profit organizations alike cannot afford this kind of financial waste and mismanagement. To rectify this problem, the first step is to revamp your recruitment strategies to ensure you can attract the right candidate, offer an efficient and effective process and make an accurate candidate assessment.
Paul Croteau, managing partner, is known as one of Manitoba’s leading executive search professionals. His more than 25 years of experience in the recruitment of senior management and executive leadership professionals are the foundation to his solid reputation for developing a deep understanding of his clients’ needs, enabling him to provide exceptional service and successfully meet the complex challenge of matching the right leader to his clients’ business needs.