7 Costly Hiring Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make

19 November 2014

This guest piece was submitted by our partners, Angel Human Resources. If you’re a manager or SME owner you probably often cover areas you’re less than experienced in. Take hiring, for example, successful business growth heavily relies on employing the right people. But what if you’re not recruitment-savvy or know little about the ins and outs of a given role? Here we share 7 common recruitment mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Vague or Inaccurate Job Specifications Problem:

Recruiting with a vague job specification in the belief you’ll be getting your money’s worth by employing someone with a little bit of experience in everything.

Reality:  Your job specification is vital to effective recruitment and selection, allowing you to: define the kind of person you want and write an accurate job advert; assess and compare candidates fairly; and make evidence-based selections.

Solution: Clarity is key.Start by listing weak spots in your business – this will give you an idea of the gaps that need filling. Then list the daily duties and the required skills and experience for each role you’ve identified. Last but not least, consider what you offer candidates in return.

Mistake 2: Off Target Marketing Problem:

Keen to attract the best mix of candidates, you advertise your vacancy everywhere.

Reality: Quantity doesn’t mean quality. Advertising without direction, on familiar jobs boards and newspaper columns, encourages passive jobseekers to apply on a whim; making more work and less chance of finding your ideal candidate. And remember, recruitment is a two way street. Your marketing (inc. job description)needs to convince quality candidates they should want to work for you.

Solution:  Advertise where your target talent will be. In her book, Turn Your Passion To Profit, consultant Corrina Gordon Barnes advises on creating a ‘missing person profile’.Complete the details; before developing with visuals and must-haves; then, tailor your message specifically to that person; reaching out whether they’re on Social Media, Industry forums and Job Boards or Local Events.

Mistake 3: Omitting Background Checks Problem:

Your candidate ticks all your person specification boxes. They’ve shown their expertise at interview. So, why verify their qualifications and eligibility?

Reality: Statistics show that up to 1 in 3 adults lie on their CV. They might sound like an excel pro on paper and even in interview, but if you just take their word for it you might be in for a time-consuming and expensive shock. Equally, safety, disclosure and barring checks (formerly CRB), and references can be concealing need-to-know information. Think you can spot a fake? Don’t risk it.

Solution: Verify candidate competencies within the interview process (ideally a combination of psychometrical, numeric and technical hands-on exercises), this is both an unbiased way to compare candidates and a decision-making aid, reducing the risk of relying on a CV and interview alone.  Run background and safety checks as well as references early – not as an afterthought.

Mistake 4: Looking for the Perfect Candidate Rather than the Perfect “Fit” Problem:

You’re so wrapped up in your job specification you forget to factor in personality or vice versa.

Reality: Your company culture and brand values should influence your hiring decisions.According to Great Place to Work 1 in 5 staff disengaged, but if they were fully engaged, productivity could double. By choosing a new employee who’s truly interested in and passionate about your company’s goals and services, you’ll be hiring your company’s next best advocate.Sometimes that might mean hiring someone who has less experience, but more energy.

Solution: Hire for skill and culture by employing candidates that match the basic qualifications remembering to screen for a cultural fit.

Mistake 5: Rushing the Hiring Process Problem:

You’re expanding and you need a post filled, yesterday! So you aim to hire as fast as possible, holding just one round of interviews.

Reality: Picking the best candidate from a bad bunch might seem like your only option if you’re keen to fill a post, but really it shouldn’t ever be an option. An effective interview process gives you and the candidate ample opportunity to assess each other, don’t skimp on it – you should have at least 3 stages of interviews: Group, Task / Assessment Based and final – one on one interview.

Solution: If your recruitment campaign has proved fruitless don’t panic.Dedicate an hour a week on regular group interviews and keep going until you find that right fit.  

Mistake 6: No On-Boarding Strategy Problem:

You’ve got your ideal candidate, they’ve started, so you reckon the recruitment process is over.

Reality: Apparently 80% of company leaders offer a sub-standard induction, leading to 1 in 5 new employees leaving a business within first 6 months.And with the average cost for new member replacement reaching £30,611 this is an expense you can’t afford. Recruiting doesn’t end with the offer being made and accepted, it’s vital to plan your new starter’s initial journey.

Solution: Develop a detailed on-boarding and induction strategy. Plan a comprehensive induction programme and consider what kit – including technology and company information – your new team member will need. You might even want to consider providing a mentor. Also define your employee’s KPIs from the outset giving them a sense of direction and purpose from the get go.

Mistake 7: Delaying Your Recruitment Plans Problem:

You’ve put off your recruitment plans while you juggle the various roles you really need to fill – and time’s really flown!

Reality: People commonly delay implementing their recruitment plans to up to 2 years. You might have muddled by, but if you consider the amount of time and money you’ve spent managing tasks you’re not accomplished in at the detriment of your real role, has it been worth it?

Solution: Sometimes it’d be more advantageous to employ a temp to oversee those administrative duties. Extra staff doesn’t always equal extra cost in the long run.Equally more business means more staff is not always the right move either. Think smart. Take a look at your operating budget. Consider other cost implications like payroll tax. Then estimate how much income they’d generate over the first year. Remember your ROI might not be apparent financially for a period. It might be that your hire could provide you with more time to expand your business, serve more clients, or provide a better quality of service.Many businesses realise too late that a well-planned workforce can actually increase their profitability and growth potential.

Conclusion: Avoid these costly mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to recruiting your ideal team in an effective and efficient way. Or if you’ve decided it’s time to delegate these vital task to the experts, then call Angel on 020 7407 2986 – we’re here to support your business.

Alternatively email us Enquiries@angelhr.org  or visit www.angelhr.org/client .

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