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If you’re in the talent acquisition space, you probably hear weekly that the recruitment process is broken.  And if you’re not you’ve probably got your own complaints about your recruitment and hiring process.  Everyone’s made bad hires, and even some of the experts out there only claim to make a good hire about two-thirds of the time.

So how do you know if your hiring process is broken and what do you do to fix it?  We’ve compiled some of the most common problems in the recruiting, interviewing, and on-boarding practices, that tend to cause break downs in the process, along with some pointers to get you back on the right track to making better hiring decisions.

1.  You Haven’t Properly Defined the Job

Not taking the time to properly define the job description can cause a myriad of problems in the hiring process.  For starters, it can cause unnecessary hiring for your organization because you might be hiring based on a particular position rather than skill sets needed or for the demand and growth of your organization.

When interviewers are also disagreeing on which candidate to hire, this is, in many cases, due to a poorly defined job description causing each interviewer to look for different qualities in a candidate.

This predicament can also cause confusion for an applicant both at the application stage and in the interview.  When a job description is poorly defined they may be applying when over or under qualified for the position and not realize it.

During the interview, because your organization has not clearly defined the role, they may be put in a position answering pointless questions or ones they don’t think pertain to the role they thought they applied for.

Take the time up front in the process to clearly define the position and what is required and make sure everyone involved in the interview process is on the same page with the goals of not only the hire, but of what the hire means to the growth and challenges of the organization.  Remember to not only base the need for the position on the here and now, but your future needs as well.

2.  Poor Job Ads & Posting Methods

There’s nothing worse than a poor job ad or posting strategy to bring in too many or too few qualified applicants.

Be sure you have a job posting that clearly outlines the position, provides information on your company, and is compelling to a job seeker.

Also, make sure you understand where candidate pools for the particular job are found and are posting accordingly.  It might be fine to post for entry level positions on traditional job boards, but if you’re hiring for specific technical skills or specialties, you may need to target niche job boards, social networks, or even focus on grass roots networking events to pull in your target candidates.

3.  No Pre-Screening

Not pre-screening candidates is often one of the biggest mistakes and time sinks in the recruitment process.

There are several methods of prescreening in which to save you (the job applicants) time, money, and headaches.  The first is to layout the minimum requirements for the role and remove any candidates from the running who do not meet these requirements.

This can mean looking for these items on a resume or cover letter, or providing a tool such as a pre-screening survey or using software or vendor services to send pre-screening questions to applicants (or provide them at the time of application) that requires them to select if they meet the basic requirements you have laid out of the role.

Also, if you are not conducting initial phone screens prior to inviting candidates in to the face to face interview, you could be wasting hours, if not days, of your time meeting with unqualified candidates.

Take the time to utilize methods to narrow your applicant pool on the front end so you can spend less time interviewing more qualified candidates during the face to face interview process.

4.  Inexperienced or Unprepared Interviewers

If you or your team has no experience with interviewing, your first step is to involve someone in the process who can provide pointers, coaching, or resources to make sure you aren’t wasting your time or making mistakes that can hurt the integrity of your organization.

Also, being unprepared for the interview can make your team appear unprofessional and does not put you in the best frame of mind to make a sound hiring decision–one of the most crucial decisions for a company.

Take time to familiarize yourself with a job seeker’s resume prior to meeting with them so you know what areas to probe into regarding their background and experience.  Know what steps of your hiring process they’ve already been through and who they have interacted with.

If multiple people are involved in the interview, take time to meet with your team to strategize and layout each person’s responsibilities, review the job description, and redefine your goals for the hire.

If you are asking someone on your team who has no experience interviewing into the process, make sure to give them coaching and, if possible, provide opportunities for them to observe others in an interview setting so they have clear expectations around their responsibilities and know what is required to be an asset and not a distraction to the process.

5.  Not Getting Another Opinion

For smaller companies, sometimes interviewing is a one man operation, and you can’t get around it.  But, no matter the size of a company,  it can be especially helpful to get a second opinion of someone trustworthy and knowledgeable as it pertains to the role you are hiring for.

While we often are inclined to make decisions based on our gut instincts, a second set of eyes and ears can help us spot potential red flags or reaffirm our evaluation of an applicant’s skill sets and fit.

But just as not getting another opinion can be detrimental, so too, can too many opinions be.  ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth,’ as the saying goes.  Be selective in who you involve in the hiring decision and make sure they are on board with what you are looking for and the needs you are trying to address with the hire.

6.  No Interview Standards

Every company should have standards around their interview process.  Not only can this help to protect an organization should discrimination charges be filed, but it can also save time and energy when comparing candidates for a position.

At minimum your standards should included a defined set of questions that each applicant is asked and a standard method for scoring each candidate which aids in measuring their qualifications and fit against other applicants.

You can assist this process by including standardized assessments, outlines for all of your interviewers of your standard procedures, as well as utilizing software services or vendors to help augment your recruiting cycle.

Having a standard method of conducting interviews can also support your team in gaining comfort with the process, a better understanding of expectations over time, as well as insights into how the process can be improved.

In Part 2 of this article, we will cover six more areas that can cause the interview and hiring process to fail and how you can address them.

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