It’s hard, if not impossible, to make the hiring process a science. While establishing a systematic approach to hiring can and will improve the outcomes, there is still an art to choosing your next new hire. Every artist has theories about why one hiring selection goes smoothly and another one does not, but as any good manager can tell you, it is all about timing.
Like all theories, they get debated and passed around. Over time, they can become codified and cast in cement, when actually they should be cast out the window.
Here is a look at three common misconceptions about hiring that you might not realize are making the job selection process harder, not easier.
I Will Find the Perfect Candidate
Like a good manager or recruiter, you have put together a full list of criteria and a comprehensive job description. Do you see it as your job to make sure that the candidate you choose meets every single one of them?
You will be looking for a very long time. The perfect candidate seldom exists. If you do find one who looks like a flawless fit, he, or she, will often turn out to be not as ideal as presented once on the job.
Oftentimes, managers measure a prospect against their most effective, successful employees, using a practice called bench marking. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as it is used as a flexible tool, not a rigid requirement.
You need to be realistic. Leaving a job unfilled because Ms. Perfect has not presented herself can be detrimental to workflow and morale. Hiring almost always requires a certain amount of juggling with quality, cost and time. Each hire requires some level of risk based on what requirements are not met. Good manager know that past experience and success are generally the best predictor of future outcomes.
Figure out the level of risk you can take with a new candidate. What are the absolute musts when it comes to education and training, and the intangibles like attitude. Then work out how much the unfilled job is costing your company.
How long is it reasonable to wait, as you look for the best prospect? According to the Harvard Business Review, you need to calculate the time the recruiter spends and the time of those covering the tasks of the job that stays empty. This is costing the company money.
When you use best practices for candidate selection, and learning to spot a good, if not perfect, fit, you don’t waste time, and money. By giving up “perfect,” you allow yourself to choose talented people that can grow with the company.
Job History Indicates Company Loyalty
It hasn’t been true for at least a decade, probably more like two decades, but the idea lingers that people who move around every two, three or four years are not good hires.
If you see multiple jobs on a resume in a fairly short period of time, it no longer needs to mean flaky. It’s just as likely the candidate is ambitious and trying to advance his career.
According to a study by Spherion, a staffing company, less than 10% of companies now consider a candidate’s employment status more important than his potential performance and his ability to fit into the company’s culture. Business News Daily says the “right kind of job hopper” can make a very effective contribution.
While moving jobs every year is not typically a good sign, listen to the reasons before jumping to conclusions.
Candidates Must Have Relevant Work Experience
On the surface, it makes a lot of sense to look for a candidate with practical, relevant experience with the specific job you are filling. Whether it is from an internships or an actual job, it means the person understands the basics of the job and has some context for it.
But according to the CEO of GradStaff, Robert LaBombard, the goal of a good hiring manager is to attract lots of candidates who have a real interest in the company, without worrying too much about their major in college or their specific work experience.
He suggests focusing on transferable skills like the ability to think critically, manage time and communicate well. And be open to a variety of experience. Check to see if candidates are involved in student government, some type of nonprofessional service and retail experience.
The more open you are in the hiring process, the more likely you are to find good employees who can develop with your company, expanding into their roles. Focus on individuals instead of inflexible rules. Those are what become the misconceptions that interfere with a smooth hiring process.