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5 Ways to Prevent Hiring Catastrophes

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

Everyone knows that hiring is the pits. It can be extremely disheartening to sift through stacks of applications with nary a qualified candidate among them. And even if you do find someone who looks great on paper, you may find yourself contending with all kinds of problems. Perhaps they'll show up for the interview looking like they rolled out of bed, or come with tattoos, piercings, and candy-colored hair that is totally inappropriate to the office setting. Maybe they'll be socially inept, unable to shake your hand, look you in the eye, or deliver a straight answer. And in some cases you'll discover that they've lied on their résumé in order to get a foot in the door (this one is more common than you might imagine). In some cases, you will get tricked into hiring someone who is totally wrong for your company. But there are ways to weed out the weirdos and prevent these hiring catastrophes. Here are a few tips to set you straight.

  1. Avoid public ads. If you're stuck in an old-school mindset you might think that classifieds are the easiest way to find prospective employees. But this attitude will probably yield a lot of unqualified candidates. These days there are more sophisticated ways of hiring. First, you can peruse job sites in order to seek out potential workers by their profiles and approach them about applying. But you might save yourself some time by posting ads on paid industry job sites, as well. Job seekers that will pay to apply for premium listings are bound to be both serious and qualified.

  2. Set strict requirements. If you need someone with a certain level of education, skills, and experience, don't be afraid to ask. There are almost certainly people out there that fit the bill and you don't want to sell your company short just so you can broaden your search.

  3. Check references (and social media). The number one catastrophic blunder that companies can make when hiring is failing to check references. Just look at Yahoo; when it came to light that CEO Scott Thompson actually held no computing degree, as his résumé and public profile stated, the company had to get rid of him to appease shareholders (despite the fact that they were counting on him to continue the successful run he started at PayPal). And while you're calling colleges and job references, don't forget to check out websites and blogs attributed to candidates, as well as profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and so on. These venues can provide a lot of information about the person you're hiring.

  4. Perform multiple interviews. Having a process that includes fail-safes is a good way to ensure that you don't end up with a hire that leaves everyone scratching their heads. So narrow the field during the first interview and then bring in some of the people that will actually be working with this new hire so they can join in the decision-making process.

  5. Utilize testing. You can hire a company like Yellow Cat Media recruitment agency, opt for head hunters, or even contract with temp agencies to fill positions. But all they really do is post listings, test for skillsets, and do all of the things you could be doing on your own (oh, and they take a hefty cut of the salary you're offering). By adding testing to your own interview process you should be able to get the same results without paying more. So think about using skill tests (typing, for example), running drug tests, and even performing personality or psychological tests so that you make sure anyone you hire is the best possible fit for your company.

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