No HR professional or company executive wants to hire the wrong person yet every company has done exactly that at one point or another. And if your company is a very successful one do you have time to use the proper metrics to help you avoid the costly mistake of a bad hire?
In her article 3 Common Hiring Mistakes New Managers Should Avoid for the Harvard Business Review Whitney Johnson offers some solid tips on how companies can avoid bad hires. They include:
“If only I could clone myself.” Lauren Rivera, a researcher from Northwestern, told me via email, “what most people are looking for is ‘me.’” Her studies concluded that “interviewers who lacked systematic measures of what their company was looking for tended to fall back on themselves and defining merit in “their own image,” meaning that the most qualified interviewees were those who best resembled their interviewers.” It’s easy to want to make this kind of hire — a carbon copy of yourself. But they will be bored and frustrated quickly because there’s no headroom for them to grow and advance. You already have you and don’t need another you.
“If only I could find someone to do all the annoying stuff that I don’t want to do.” This impulse, while understandable, is an even more dangerous one. Sure, it is tempting to avoid the responsibilities you find tedious or challenging. But you’ll have trouble attracting talented people to a job that’s mostly boring work. If you want to off-load everything that you detest doing, mostly junk work, it’s likely you’ll disrespect the person you’ve hired to be your dumping ground (a sentiment they will be inclined to return).
“If only I knew how to do that.” There may be tasks that demand attention but you don’t personally have the expertise to complete them. You value this skill in other people, and it’s what you’re looking for in a new hire. But there can be a couple of pitfalls with thinking this way. Sometimes, there’s an undercurrent of envy — you may feel threatened because they have talents you lack. Or you may put them on a pedestal — we do this all the time when we say we want to hire a “unicorn” or a “ninja.” Either way, you risk overpaying financially — and emotionally. Not only that, if you don’t understand the work they are doing, you may not have a clear sense of what path this person needs to be on to maximize their talent and overall productivity.
Bottom-line-every company will or have had an occasional bad hire or two, the trick is to make sure it’s not a consistent pattern.
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