by Stephen Bruce
The most basic failure in hiring hasn’t changed for decades: Looking before you know what you are looking for.
You have to know what you are looking for.
Hiring managers are always in a hurry to hire, hire, hire, but when you rush, you make mistakes that lead to bad hires.
Slow down and make sure that the hiring manager (and you in HR) knows what he or she is looking for. Typical problems:
- Focusing on incumbent. Don’t be swayed by the last person in the job. “Get me someone just like Terry.” That’s not going to happen. Say what you want. Think through what the job requires, not what any particular person brought to it.
- Failing to realize that the job has changed. Don’t just drag out an old job description or an old ad and push it out again. Has the job changed? Many jobs have, especially as technology takes over in many areas. For example, maybe there’s a loan officer who used to have a very important and critical job—analyzing clients creditworthiness. But today, the computer does the analysis. That’s a new job, no matter what the title.
- Failing to look into the future. What’s in store for the department where the new person will work? New technologies coming in? New responsibilities as a result of a merger? Factor likely future changes into your requirements list.
You have to develop a way of describing the job that will attract candidates.
For example, if you just say, “looking for an accountant,” that’s not too attractive. You might do better starting, “Join a team of highly qualified accountants working on defining new approaches to financial analysis.”
At the same time, in this world of thousands of resumes, you have to let interested jobseekers self-select out of the running.