Few mistakes in business are as costly, or long-lasting, as hiring the wrong people. In fact, research from the recruiting software firm TalentLyft found that a single bad hire costs a company $15,000 on average. And that doesn’t even count the cost of finding their replacement and rebuilding any lost trust on your team.
A bad hiring decision affects many areas of your business: morale, customer service, even brand reputation. Yet as a Forbes piece on smarter recruitment points out, it can be difficult to identify flawed candidates during the interview process. That may be why Northwestern University found nearly three-quarters of organizations admit to making hiring errors.
Of course, organizations cannot be afraid to hire, especially if they hope to scale. To hire with confidence, try these three recommendations to identify the best talent.
1. Develop a repeatable hiring system.
Many leaders make the mistake of thinking of hiring as an art, rather than a science. Experienced managers, or especially C-Suite executives, often have favorite questions to ask that have little to do with the job they are hiring for, such as what a person’s favorite animal is, or where they see themselves in five years.
This process doesn’t work in the long-run. Even if you find a star with an unsystematic process, you won’t be able to repeat it consistently, and you certainly can’t train your employees to do it. Instead, great hirers craft a hiring system that is repeatable for each position, and is based on measuring candidates against the job description they are required to fill.
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Take time to map out a structure that works not just for your business but for the role you are hiring. For instance, Daniel Borowski, CEO of the web development firm Coderbyte, follows a streamlined process when evaluating potential engineering applicants. Coderbyte’s recruiters challenge job hunters to complete objective coding assessments. Not only does this help pare down an application pool by up to 90%, but it leaves hiring managers with a pool of candidates that can actually do the work.
A hiring system that includes unbiased, automated testing and screening saves companies time and filters out subpar candidates. Then, you can focus all your attention on the best of the best. Plus, you can share this types of hiring system with all hiring managers, you’ll know that all team members are leveraging what works.
2. Consider turning the position remote.
Many workplaces are more open to remote work than they were before the 2020 pandemic. Although some roles cannot be done remotely, such as warehouse workers or emergency responders, many business roles can be done virtually.
With that in mind, it’s useful to consider whether a new position can be remote before you start hiring. Doing this allows you to expand your search beyond a single geographic area. By reaching beyond a single urban hub, you’re casting a much larger net—and have a better chance of finding the right person. You’ll also have a better chance at attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds and experiences, which will help your DE&I efforts and goals.
Of course, if you’re evaluating candidates for remote work, you may want to include different questions in your interviews. Are they self-motivated and accountable? Do they have a successful track record of working from home? Are they willing to trade the camaraderie of in-person work in exchange for more flexibility? These are essential things to clarify early to determine whether the candidate is better suited for your office, or for their home.
3. Ensure a culture fit.
Part of hiring is finding someone with the right credentials, experience, talent and skills. However, these competencies aren’t even the most important drivers of a new hire’s success. According to Chris Platts, CEO of the hiring software firm ThriveMap, it’s more important to identify whether the person is a proper fit for your culture. In fact, Platts and his team have found 89% of failed hires stem from a culture mismatch.
Poor workplace culture alignments are hard to fix after someone has joined the payroll. Therefore, it’s crucial to use the interview process to determine whether someone is aligned with your company’s specific culture.
In your job descriptions, be clear about your company’s mission, vision, and values. This helps solidify what you stand for as a corporation. Repeat these mantras during all your interactions with candidates and in paperwork. Finally, make sure that other team members interview possible applicants before they get the nod—it’s important to have the perspective of someone on another team, who doesn’t feel the urgent need to make a hire and may point out things others miss.
Once you have a hiring machine in place, don’t just set it and forget it. On an annual basis, check your recruiting and interviewing processes. Make tweaks as needed, and be sure everyone understands how to execute your strategy. This will ensure your hiring strategy is sustainable, repeatable and effective—and will help you avoid disastrous hiring mistakes.
Robert is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners. Join 200,000+ global leaders who follow his inspirational weekly newsletter Friday Forward or invite him to speak. Robert is also a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. His new book, How To Thrive In The Virtual Workplace, is now available.