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Hiring the Lazy & MisinformedA recent survey conducted by Robert Half reported that 36 percent of the 1,400 executives surveyed felt the top factor leading to a failed hire is a poor skills match. The second most common reason (30 percent) could be attributed to unclear performance objectives.

“Companies can’t afford hiring mistakes, which are costly and can erode staff morale,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of the “Human Resources Kit For Dummies”. “Finding the right match requires time and attention, and it’s something even busy managers need to make time for.”

Ron McGowan is the principal of How to Find Work, an international career consulting company, and author of the international bestselling book, “How to Find WORK – In the 21st Century.” Before this, he was a small business owner and recruiter. He wrote and placed help wanted ads, read hundreds of resumes and cover letters, and interviewed and hired for numerous positions.

Here, McGowan offers some tips on how to learn from those bad hire mistakes. First, document what went wrong and then make sure that the hiring process in the future includes reviewing these points:

  • Be clear about your company’s values and culture. It’s hard to evaluate a prospect if you’re not clear about what makes your company tick, makes it successful, and the type of people who thrive there.
  • For technical positions, get your experts involved in the hiring process and ask specific, technical questions to determine their level of expertise.
  • Ask the applicant what they know about your company and why they want to work there. Listen carefully to what they say.
  • How diligent were you in checking out their references? Did you do any reference checking beyond the references they gave you?

“It’s critical that defining the company’s values and culture is a company-wide exercise; with input and buy-in from all parties, otherwise, it is meaningless,” says McGowan. “A lot of this is just plain, common sense but sometimes that gets lost in the hiring process, especially in today’s fast-paced workplace.”

So, what’s the greatest mistake? Relying on the same tried-and-true methods that you’ve been using for years. Why? Because a lot more is at stake today than in the past. The pace and pressure in today’s workplace are just too great. Everybody has to contribute, which means more than simply doing one’s own job.

For example, Robert Half reports that the qualifications for jobs that were once considered routine are escalating. With fewer layers of management present in most small businesses, today’s employees must do their jobs with less supervision than in the past, and not every employee can flourish in this kind of environment.

What’s your bad hire takeaway? Any lessons learned?
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