We are all prone to judging someone before we get to know who they are. Almost all of us know someone that surprised us by being completely different (in a great way) than what we initially pegged them to be. Keep reading to learn how allowing biases to have a role in hiring decisions can prove to be a huge mistake.
Bias Can Lead to Hiring Mistakes
Bias can happen in every aspect of your personal and professional life, even in the hiring process. Many biases begin when reviewing resumes. People can begin to make assumptions about another person simply based upon their name. While an organization cannot legally deny a highly qualified candidate an open position based upon age, gender, sexuality, or marital status, it does occur.
There are other biases such as poor credit, unemployment status, appearance, and weight that can be gray areas depending on the position. In fact, overweight or obese candidates are more likely to face discrimination and be paid 1-6% less than equally qualified average weight people. This is more prevalent in women than men. The higher a person’s body mass index (BMI), the less hirable they are.
Emotional bias is one that is hardest to pinpoint and control. Many times a hiring manager will have an emotional connection or gut feeling about a candidate. The candidate could share many traits of that manager’s best friend or even themselves. This type of emotional bias could result in a mis-hire.
Another large group of top talent that is often overlooked are those without perfect credentials or are job jumpers. These can, in fact, be some of the best hires for many reasons. In regards to those without perfect credentials, it is important to hire for attitude and train for skill. In reality, every new hire will have some learning curve. Hiring someone with fewer credentials or experience means you are hiring someone with fewer bad habits.
Not convinced? Look at the qualification requirements for open positions at your organization. Even look at the qualifications required for your position. Do you currently or did you possess the requirements necessary for the position when you were hired? Most requirements (short of those in highly technical or medical fields) in job postings do not predict success. Truly, a proven track record is more impressive than direct experience. Those with weaker credentials tend to stay longer and are cheaper to hire. They can also be game changers by bringing in new ideas and a fresh perspective to the organization.
Even though the concept of long-term tenures is antiquated, 43% of employers will not consider job jumpers, but this could be a very shortsighted way of thinking. Not only are most skills transferable, job jumpers tend to be super talented professionals. This is why they tend to be recruited. They are adaptable and easy to attract and procure. Best of all, they are innovative and bring ideas and skills from the competition.
Do not get trapped in bias, whether it is physical, emotional, or based upon a candidate’s experience or tenure at previous companies. These biases will risk your organization’s ability to hire some of the best talent that is available.
Do not make the mistake of hiring someone without first checking their references. In order to get a solid overall picture of who it is that you are hiring, it is important to include references in developing that picture. Keep reading to learn why reference checks are imperative to the hiring process.
Reference Checks Done Right
Reference checks are an important way to reduce the risk of making a bad hire. In fact, it is the number one way to avoid a mis-hire. It seems that many organizations have stopped performing this vital step in the hiring process. Whether it is because there is too much reliance upon assessments and checking up on candidates through their social media accounts, not performing a thorough reference check is a huge mistake.
Part of a successful hiring process consists of a process for reference checks. This process can include looking at a candidate’s social media and LinkedIn accounts. However, doing so can create bias, so it is best that the final decision-maker not perform this task.
When checking references, the goal is to understand the type of relationship the candidate had with former colleagues and managers. These relationships are very important. The relationships with their colleagues show how they work in a team environment. The relationships they had with former managers are very telling of their work ethic. The length of these relationships are also important and will give you a better idea of the candidate as a person.
A reference check can be thought of as another way of assessing the candidate’s fit for the position. It is a way to determine how the candidate will succeed in the organization’s culture.
Some great questions to ask include:
• How does the candidate relate to others, especially in stressful situations?
• What are the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses?
• What is the best way to manage the candidate?
• Would you rehire them?
Asking great questions that will help uncover even more insight on the candidate will allow you to determine if they are the best person for the position. It can also be the most important determining factor if two or more candidates are frontrunners for the position. How people talk about a person when they are not present is usually the most honest information one can obtain.
Every hiring manager wants to know that the candidates they hire work out well in their various positions. It is always a possibility that a hiring manager will bring on a bad hire. However, it is also important to know what constitutes an actual bad hire. Keep reading to learn why bad hires occur and how to differentiate between a bad hire and one who simply works differently than you.
Identifying the Source of Bad Hires
After all the work of interviewing and on-boarding, it is disappointing when faced with a bad hire. Sometimes bad hires are not easy to identify until months into their tenure. Many times the bad hire is a result of the hiring manager, not the team member.
When faced with a new hire that has been properly on-boarded and trained in your organization’s processes and procedures, but is not living up to their potential as identified in the hiring process, it can be hard to decide whether or not they are a good fit. There are three main identifiers to help you determine if this person is the right fit for the role and organization as a whole. It is important to analyze these identifiers early. That way, if the person is not a great fit, you can restart the hiring process quickly.
The three main identifiers are:
Hiring managers can be a main contributor to making bad hires. The biggest mistake hiring managers can make is hiring someone like themselves. It is important to be able to get along with your colleagues, but you do not need to be their best friend.
Other times bad hires occur before the hiring process begins. When organizations are not looking at the entire corporate life cycle, it can be difficult to determine what problem the new hire is to solve. It is nearly impossible to hire the right person for the role if the purpose of the role is unknown.
Hiring someone who is not able to grow with the company or hiring too many thinkers, instead of producers, is a recipe for hiring disaster. Every organization needs a balance of these two types of individuals, regardless of the industry.
In many industries and roles, hiring someone with 70% of the technical skills and background and then training for the remaining 30% works well. However, some roles require 90 to 100% of the skills. If an organization does not properly identify those highly specialized roles, hiring managers can fall into the trap of thinking that they can train for the deficit.
Finally, as technology changes the way we work, some hiring managers may feel that they have made a bad hire if the new team member is not working as hard or as many hours as their colleagues. Everyone works at different paces and it is important to understand that hours worked does not equate effort. Instead of looking at how long someone is toiling at their desk, look for productivity and innovation.
Bad hires are frustrating for both the hiring manager and the new hire. Identifying where you went astray can help in future hiring efforts.
Lance LeFort is sought out by leaders in Animation, VFX, Video Games, and Digital Entertainment who recognize the need to attract the industry’s best talent. Through LeFort Talent Group’s extensive network of relationships and their “deep dive” qualification process, they are able to identify and secure individuals who represent the top tier of professionals.