Six Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

Create a blueprint for interviews

Are you hiring someone to join your business team? A successful new hire is one who meets the necessary requirements, fits in well with other team members and brings value to the business. When interviewing candidates, avoid six common mistakes that often plague business managers.

1. Establish your objectives. How can you find the right person for the job if you do not know what you are looking for? From the outset, it is important to identify the qualifications, skills and experience needed for the position. Set in writing the specific job requirements and characteristics you desire (e.g., a salesperson may have to be outgoing).

2. Don’t automatically hire friends or family. When you begin the search, a friend or family member may immediately pop into your mind. But you should not jump at the opportunity just because it is convenient or fulfills a perceived obligation. If things do not work out, it could cause a serious rift in a friendship or within the family. This is not to say hiring friends or family is strictly prohibited, but proceed with caution.

3. Ask the right questions; avoid the wrong ones. The interviewing process is also fraught with legal perils. Asking questions about a person’s age, racial or ethnic background, religion, political affiliation and other personal matters can make your firm vulnerable to a discrimination lawsuit. Focus on questions directly related to the job at hand. If you are unsure about raising an issue, simply don’t do it.

4. Don’t make snap judgments. If you hit it off immediately with a prospective job candidate, or the person looks perfect “on paper,” you may be inclined to trust your first impression. But there is more to the hiring process than the initial interaction. Go through the paces to ensure that the person truly measures up to your requirements. Consider why this person might not be the best person for the job despite first appearances.

5. Do background checks. Even after you have made your choice, the process is far from over. Conduct a background check on the candidate without crossing legal boundaries. Also, contact the references provided by the prospective hire. If he or she furnishes a contact for a disgruntled ex-supervisor, it should raise suspicions.

6. Define company policy. Create a definitive hiring policy and explain the rules in your company manual. Not only does this provide a blueprint to follow, it can offer some protection against legal challenges, especially if the interviewers stick to the script. The policy should reflect the principles outlined above. Conversely, if policies are vague, open-ended or nonexistent, it could lead to trouble.

A thriving business needs to add new hires to continue its growth. Take the time to choose wisely.

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