Deciding to recruit a new employee is rarely a spur of the moment decision. After all, simple mistakes in the recruitment process can result in hiring the wrong person, and when they end up leaving, it means starting all over again from scratch. With IT professionals having such specialised skillsets, this loss of time and resources can be particularly damaging. However, it is completely avoidable. Drawing on our experience in the IT recruitment industry, we’ve put together some steps to help you dodge the most common hiring mistakes we see employers make.
One of the most vital aspects of avoiding hiring mistakes is to be clear on the business’ needs right from the beginning. Before even looking at any CVs, the hiring process needs to be mapped out with key stakeholders familiar with the process and relevant goals. Employers need to have a solid understanding of the role and the skills it requires, as well as what the job description should look like. This will enable you to provide applicants with the information they need and ensure the pool of candidates is more in line with what you’re looking for.
It’s good practice to piece together a persona of your ideal candidate. What values will they add to your company culture? What are the qualities that will enable them to succeed in the role? Having an idea of this provides a benchmark against which to compare applicants. However, keep in mind that, as we’ll discuss later, coming across the perfect candidate is rare, so be prepared to deviate from the ideal persona.
Undertaking Due Diligence
Properly screening candidates is crucial when it comes to bringing the right people in. A quick phone interview prior to the face-to-face interview stage will enable employers to gather initial information and decide on who to progress. For example, if there are hesitations about someone’s salary, where they live, or culture fit, this can be discussed easily over the phone.
Whilst phone interviews won’t take the place of a face-to-face meeting, they do provide a more convenient and cost-effective way to weed out poor choices. They’ll also save hours of the organisation’s time, making it possible to sort through a lot of people within a short period.
The Face-to-Face Interview
Although CVs and phone interviews may provide some guidance and potentially narrow down the candidate pool, making the final decision would be hard without seeing applicants in person. One of our best interview tips for employers is to remember that the face-to-face interview is not just about determining a candidate’s ability, it’s also a great chance to get to know them and understand their motivations. Are they genuinely excited about the opportunity? Do they enjoy what they do? All this information will help inform your opinion of them and gauge whether their characteristics align with those of the organisation.
At the same time, employers should avoid forcing candidates to jump through hoops with labour-intensive work samples or rigorous testing during the recruitment process unless it’s truly necessary. Often, these kinds of requirements are a deterrent to candidates and can suggest a lack of respect for their time. If you’re stuck, take a look at our interview tips for employers, here.
Consider Culture Fit
Company culture is a topic that has been discussed extensively, but there is no doubt of its importance when it comes to hiring. A lack of consideration for company culture can have a hugely negative impact on the team, as a culture clash can lead to disengagement and underperformance.
It’s important to think carefully about your culture and how it aligns with your preferred candidates. That doesn’t mean that employers should only hire candidates who fit the existing culture perfectly, as this could create an unintentional bias that leads to stagnation. The best approach is to look at the gaps in your team and identify what a candidate might add to this.
Hiring for Potential
As we mentioned earlier, finding the ‘perfect’ candidate is a rarity. More often than not, employers must compromise. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing – hiring for potential is a powerful way to ensure the business has the talent it needs in the long term.
The secret to finding someone with potential is by focussing on key competencies, or rather, the skills behind the skills. Look beyond obvious or traditional choices and recognise candidates who don’t just meet the requirements of the current role but will continue to develop their skills and contribute to the business in the future.
When companies find someone motivated, who has potential and whose values align with the company culture, the benefits can vastly outweigh simply matching skills to bullet points. Not to mention that hiring for potential can expand your talent pool, reduce salary costs and grow your pipeline of future leaders.
Hiring a new employee is an important decision and a bad hire can be detrimental in the long-term, especially in an industry where candidates have such specialised skill sets. By taking care to avoid these common hiring mistakes, you can help ensure you find the right IT professionals for your business.
For more recruitment advice and hiring tips, get in touch with the specialist team at RWA today.