Five Tips for Avoiding Bad Hires in 2019

A new year is almost upon us, and it will be full of new challenges and achievements. As the year ends, some market indexes have fallen into a bear market while others threaten to follow. Political gridlock in Washington has resulted in a partial government shutdown, and international trade tensions continue to run high. Yet despite all this, there are still many indicators pointing to a fundamentally strong economy here in the United States.

Business owners can experience success in the current climate, but they can't afford too many big mistakes. One of the most costly errors a company can make is hiring the wrong employee. A bad hire can affect your bottom line by diminishing your organization's productivity, harming its reputation, and disrupting the workplace environment. The time and money lost from just one poor hiring decision (discussed in more detail in our previous article "Hiring the Right People: Benefits of Pre-Employment Screening") can ultimately threaten your enterprise's success. Therefore, keep the following tips in mind to avoid the costly and common mistake of bringing the wrong person aboard.

Tip #1: Write a detailed job description. 

This is something you may want to consider doing before even posting your opening. It is extremely valuable for you and your potential employees. As the employer, the process of writing the job description will clarify what your needs and expectations are, which will make it easier for you to figure out exactly what you are looking for in those you interview. Potential employees will appreciate knowing in advance what will be expected of them and will be better equipped to assess whether their own strengths and weaknesses will portend future success in your organization. Taking the extra time to do this early in the hiring process will likely save you more time and hassles down the road.

Tip #2: Take time to get to know the candidates. 

This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but all too often people are in a hurry to fill a vacancy and hire someone quickly without taking an adequate amount of time to really get to know the person being hired. Slow the process down to increase the likelihood of making a wise decision. Structure multiple interviews, interview many candidates, contact references, etc. During interviews, make sure that you are not doing all the talking and give interviewees ample time to speak freely. In fact, you may want to begin the process with a less structured meet-and-greet in which the candidate can tell you more about themselves without being peppered with tough questions by you or other interviewers. This type of meeting may put the candidate more at ease and give you a better sense of the type of person he or she actually is, which in turn will help you determine the potential hire's compatibility with your company's culture and whether or not the candidate should be invited back for a formal interview.

Tip #3: Hire team players. 

Remember that when you hire a new employee, you are inviting that person onto a team and welcoming that person into your organization's culture. It is important that the new hire has the skills to successfully do the job, of course, especially in a highly technical or specialized field, so don't hesitate to ascertain that the candidate has the requisite abilities during the interview process. However, don't forget that your business also depends on a cohesive team of associates working towards the same goals, so be sure to hire someone who is eager to enthusiastically contribute to your team's success. In fact, this is often more important than hiring highly qualified candidates because disinterested or selfish workers who are more interested in their own agendas will diminish your company's long-term prospects for success, whereas enthusiastic and willing employees can usually be molded and taught the necessary skills. Attitudes and personalities are usually tougher to change and address.

Tip #4: Do a thorough, comprehensive background check before making the hire. 

Some people simply are not who they seem to be. While it is impossible to foresee with complete certitude who may or may not create problems for you and your business down the road, it is possible to use one's past as a predictor of future behavior. Some industries and fields already require thorough background checks, but if yours does not, you should consider requiring one as a condition of employment. The last thing any business owner wants to do is put customers or the company at risk because of an unscrupulous employee, so don't be afraid to take preventative steps through mandatory background checks (including more accurate biometric checks) and drug testing.

Tip #5: Leverage Pre-Employment Screenings

Pre-employment assessments (or screenings) can take a good deal of guesswork out of finding and retaining great employees—saving you thousands of dollars and helping your business reach its maximum potential. Why? The simple fact is that some people interview well, and may even look good on paper, but may not have the personality or aptitude for the position. The reverse can also be true—some interviewees don’t interview well at all but can be gems within your organization! But not all pre-employment assessments are created equal. Do your research or enlist the help of a top Cleveland business consultant to find the most reputable and appropriate tests for your employees

While implementing these suggestions will require more time and effort on your part, they will make your hiring process more productive and fruitful. You will attain higher quality talent that will help you achieve higher end results. Prepare to meet the challenges of the upcoming year and many years to come by improving your hiring practices and surrounding yourself with people who will help you succeed.  

Do you need help with your hiring process? Leadership Excellence has been assisting Medina and Cleveland businesses in recruiting and screening the best talent since 2009. Contact us today or schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Greg Thomas to learn how he can help you succeed.