A successful hiring process is an art, and one that too many companies neglect to fully develop before diving into the world of applications and interviews. If the process is too sluggish, you might lose a great candidate. If the process is too rushed, you might end up making a mistake of epic proportions.
But how do you know if you’re using bad hiring practices?
It’s not always obvious, so don’t get down on yourself. Look for these signs that something might be wrong. Identify what you see around your hiring process.
1. You or Other Interviewers Blank on the Candidate’s Name
Look: you’re preparing to talk to someone who might be entrusted with part of the day-to-day operations of your company – take a few minutes to commit his or her name to memory. Don’t forget that your interview with the candidate is also his or her interview with you.
You’re not going to make a positive impression if you haven’t bothered to learn her name.
2. You or Other Interviewers Blank on the Interview Itself
It’s sad but true: spending 20 minutes talking to a candidate tends to fall pretty low on a busy employee’s priority list…and might fall off the list altogether.
In order to keep interviews firmly on everyone’s radar screen (and avoid bad hiring practices), you’ve got to reframe their importance in everyone’s mind. It’s only logical that choosing new members for your company’s team is a decision that has lasting (and sometimes unfortunate) consequences, but the interviews themselves tend to be seen as dismissible.
Remind your colleagues (and yourself) that there should be no higher priority than thoroughly interviewing a person with whom you might be sharing an office, microwave, and bathroom for 40 hours per week.
3. You’re Dreading the Interview
You remembered the interview! Score! But now you’re praying for a fire drill or a natural disaster so you don’t have to suffer through it.
Lucky for you, the problem here is pretty easy to diagnose: if you’re bringing in candidates you’re not excited to interview, then you’ve got a flawed screening process. No need to shove a ballpoint pen through your forearm to avoid a boring interview! Don’t be afraid to be selective during the resumé-reading and phone-screening stages, and you won’t be begging for the sweet release of a Papermate.
4. You’re Asking Questions that Should’ve Been Covered During the Phone Screen
Never underestimate the significance of the almighty phone screen. The initial phone conversation with a candidate is the ideal time to get all the basics out of the way, leaving the in-person interview free for more in-depth conversation. Also, it’s a great opportunity to get a feel for the candidate’s personality
5. You’re Using the Resumé as a Crutch
Resumés are great for facts about your candidate, but resist the urge to use it as a script. If you’re glancing down at the resumé for inspiration for every question (“Tell me a little bit about your time as editor of The Precious Moments Newsletter…”), you’re wasting everyone’s time.
When it comes down to it, you should be less interested in what they’ve done in the past and more interested in what they’ll do for you in the future. History-exclusive interview questions are pretty common examples of bad hiring practices. Try to mix your questions up, so you get a balanced picture.
6. You Feel Neutral About Whether to Hire the Candidate.
Not that the phone screen should leave you rending your garments in despair or collapsed into tears of joy, but there should at least be a few well-formed opinions present when you walk into the interview.
Remember that keeping an open mind is not the same thing as feeling neutral – a candidate may give you a reason to replace your first impressions over the course of an interview, but not really caring one way or another can lead to hiring the wrong person…or letting the right one get away.
7. You’re Unclear About the Post-Interview Process.
Having an established hiring process means knowing what the next steps are. It’s frustrating for a candidate to hear something vague like, “We’ll be in touch” at the end of an interview instead of hearing a clear-cut plan for moving forward, even if that candidate will not make it past the first interview. If you don’t have a process in place, then how do you know when you’re done recruiting? You don’t want to over-hire simply because you didn’t take the time to map out the steps of your hiring process.
So, now you tell us: What do you classify as some bad hiring practices?