A poor hiring approach is costly, particularly in a tight labor market. Poor hiring techniques can creep into any stage of the hiring process: writing job descriptions, revising resumes, arranging and conducting interviews, providing interview feedback, running debrief meetings, and onboarding successful candidates. The more aspects of the hiring process are suboptimal, the greater the risk of hiring the wrong candidate — or failing to fill the role at all.
Wrong hires can undermine the standard and culture of the digital team, make detrimental decisions for your organization, or trigger additional workloads when colleagues need to correct mistakes. Eventually, you’ll have the additional cost of replacing them. And yet, despite these risks, many organizations have poorly defined hiring processes. The most common hiring mistakes include:
- Time-pressured hiring decisions. Yes, we are seeing hiring freezes and even some redundancies as the inflationary environment begins to bite. But for top digital talent, positions still need to be filled in a hurry. Filling staff gaps under time pressure, however, often results in shortcuts from the established hiring process. In turn, time-pressured hiring decisions often come at a cost of misaligned skills and experiences. An overemphasis on, for instance, academic grades or STEM subjects can limit your access to people who have different but equally valuable skills and talents for operating a digital organization.
- Overreliance on just a few trained and experienced hiring experts. An approach that relies solely on a few trained and experienced hiring experts doesn’t scale. The number of good interviewers inside your organization tends to be limited — plus, their time is constrained. But there are also issues with using a wide range of employees who are not trained in a well-defined hiring approach and may embrace different hiring styles. To bring consistency and scale, you need to train all interviewers and implement post-interview debriefings.
- Asking vague questions that don’t help evaluate a role-specific fit. Asking the candidate meandering or irrelevant questions will give them the impression that the role is ill defined and that the candidate is dealing with an unfocused organization. In turn, this undermines the employer’s brand. Worse, poor-quality questions from the interviewer don’t test the candidate’s fit for a specific position. Where organizations embrace open-ended questions — for instance, behavioral-based interviewing — these need to be clearly linked to the competencies required for the role.
- Overreliance on a candidate’s strong qualities and recommendations. Few people are outright rock stars. A comprehensive picture of a candidate’s character only emerges if interviewers test both strengths and weaknesses. An overemphasis on the candidate’s strengths is particularly risky when hiring senior managers because great past achievements are difficult to replicate in a new context. Moreover, senior managers often bring in people they know from previous roles — often not taking the new hires through the formal hiring process. In turn, the objective screening process suffers, and the quality of such new hires could decline.
- Bias and groupthink among the hiring interviewers. Unskilled interviewers focus on superficial attributes relating to the candidate, like places of education, interests in sport teams, or similar life experiences. All these superficial attributes can trigger a personal bias in the interviewer. They also say little about the quality of performance a candidate would demonstrate at work. Bias can then grow into confirmation bias and groupthink when superficial attributes are shared with a homogeneous group of other interviewers during the debrief. Innate bias is not easily identifiable from the inside of a hiring team, thus cementing a lack of diversity and creating echo chambers in the hiring team.
- Unfocused and verbal interviewer feedback. If feedback about interviews is shared in an unstructured and verbal manner, it is bound to be unclear. Verbal feedback is quickly forgotten, and important elements of the interview will go unnoticed between the interviewer team members. Moreover, if feedback from candidate interviews is shared between the interviewers in an unstructured and verbal manner, it can easily become less objective.
Learn From Amazon’s Recruitment Process
In a tight job market where organizations are fighting for the best talent, poor hiring techniques will detract best candidates from joining the hiring organization. Applicants with scarce and in-demand skills and talents can and will always select which organization they want to work for. Our report, Learn From Amazon’s Recruitment Process, will help you avoid poor hiring techniques using lessons from Amazon’s Bar Raiser approach.