Mistakes can prove costly for any company, and especially for any company’s HR department. Not only can a bad hire damage your reputation, but your business will end up taking a serious financial hit, too.
Sometimes a candidate can seem perfect for a position during their interview, but they don’t quite live up to the hype once they start. Maybe it becomes apparent that they have a poor work ethic, an ill-fitting personality, or a lack of the technical knowledge they claimed to possess – whatever the reason, you still have to replace them, and that’s a big problem.
According to a survey from Career Builder, 27% of UK companies reported that bad hires cost them more than £50,000 last year. Similarly, research from Robert Half uncovered that 70% of hiring managers have recruited someone who didn’t meet their expectations. All this indicates that the ability to gauge a candidate’s real potential is more important than ever, so here are five key practices to help you do just that:
1. Video Interviews
Video interviews are quickly overtaking phone screenings as the new normal. It’s more difficult to lie or embellish the facts when the person on the other end of the line can actually see you. Video also dramatically increases the amount of available information that the interviewer can directly assess. Body language, expression, and physical impulses are qualities that can reveal a fair amount about a person, all of which phone screening fails to capture.
Video interviews can also be easily saved for later review and shared with others involved in the hiring process.
2. Team Interviews
It’s surprising just how often people neglect to seek out second, third, or even fourth opinions once they commit to a gut feeling. By checking in with others and sharing your thoughts, it’s far less likely that a character flaw that you might have missed goes unnoticed throughout the entire hiring process. This isn’t to say that gut feelings should be dismissed, only that recruiters should acknowledge their own blind spots and make use of the safety nets at their disposal.
3. Check Online
If available, use social media to screen candidates and develop a more nuanced picture of their character. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that while up to 92% of companies who do use social media screenings check the LinkedIn page of potential hires, only 58% check Facebook and 31% check Twitter. By vetting them across multiple platforms, you can ensure that seemingly pleasant candidates aren’t badmouthing former employers or falsifying their qualifications.
Social media profiles also provide valuable insight into personality traits that a candidate may be unable to show during an interview. Used in conjunction with other techniques, they offer an effective means to gaining a fuller picture of a prospective candidate.
4. Candidate Assessments
In 2014, the Aberdeen Group released a report on the impact of pre-hire assessments, which found that 55% of companies who used pre-employment tests went on to link candidate performance levels to these test results. These can range from skills tests, which are a great way to check a candidate’s general aptitude, to personality tests, or even evaluations specific to the job role. Regardless of their specific focus, these add a further layer of review to filter out unsuitable candidates.
Pre-hire assessments can throw a scare into recruiters, who may worry that an intensive screening process will turn off candidates early on in the process. Just remember that all candidates take great measures to present themselves as positively as possible, so employing measurable assessments is a highly effective way to determine how much of that image is just smoke and mirrors.
Finally – and this is an easy one – make sure you check all available references. Ensure that candidate-provided references are from former employers, and then take the time to personally reach out to them and ask the right questions. Having spent a significant amount of time with the candidate, references can throw up any red flags before it's too late.
By using these techniques, and collecting as much information about your candidates as possible, you can avoid bad hires and ensure you’re hiring applicants that are fully equipped to excel at your company. Co-workers and executives alike will thank you.
(Main image credit: Joe The Goat Farmer/flickr)