Choosing the right people to bring on board is one of the most important decisions you have to make. Yet, way too many employers still trip up on the same typical things when searching for that one and only. We recently read a great article on Forbes about the top five hiring mistakes every startup makes - and loved it - so we decided to add our own five to the list.
1. Forgetting that you're being evaluated as well
Unless the person you're interviewing has been unemployed for so long they're literally desperate and weak from eating ramen and sending around their CV for months on end without results, they will care about what kind of impression they get from their potential future boss. Remember, a job interview is a two way street – you're trying to figure out whether this person is good for your company while they're trying to figure out whether they want to work for you or not – and both sides are equally important.
So, be smart with the impression you make as well as keeping an eye on theirs – how you make them feel on the first meeting might determine whether they accept the job or not, should you offer it to them.
2. Hiring the best person... on paper
Andrew has three PhD's and has held loads of leading positions in super big and important companies. His CV is so beautiful you're not sure whether you should read it or take it out on a date. And then you've got Jack, who's not quite as experienced, but has a sparkle in his eyes (not like a crazy person sparkle, but the eager kind). Have a look at the CV's and then put them away. Remember – you can teach most skills, but it's virtually impossible to teach passion, willingless to learn new things and a good attitude towards work and coworkers.
We're not saying you should ditch Andrew right away here, but what you should do is talk to all of your candidates – ask them about their previous experience – how they handled difficult situations, how they helped accomplish something, what they're most proud of etc – this will show their true attitude and personality better than a piece of paper.
3. Hiring people just because you like them
It's a scientifically proven fact that we like people who are compatible with our own interests, beliefs and habits and that's all good – it makes perfect sense. But you can't let this affect your hiring decision - you're bringing this person in to create additional value for your company, not to have them as your personal office hang-out buddy. The fact their knock-knock joke during the interview made you laugh and you found out they share your undying passion for disc golf doesn't mean they're the best pick for that accountant position you're trying to fill.
A good idea is to involve other managers or key employees in the interviewing process to make sure the candidate works well with more people than just yourself – this will also give you a second/third/fourth opinion, which is super important when it comes to making a reasonable decision.
4. Being afraid to mess up
Listen, finding a new employee isn't supposed to be easy. It's kind of like starting dating again after breaking up with your significant other – in the beginning you have to meet a bunch of random people, it's going to be at least a little bit awkward and even after you think you've got a good idea of what they're like, it might still not work out for you or them. Don't be afraid and whatever you do, don't wait forever and beyond for that “perfect” candidate to come around – because that might never happen.
We're not saying you should hire the first person you see, but if you get a hold of someone you think might be a good match and who you have a good feeling about – give them a chance at least. If it ends up being a bad decision – at least you've learned a lesson.
5. Being unclear about the job
Nobody likes to be kept in the dark – if someone is faced with the decision of whether or not they're going to take the job you're offering them, they want to be clear about what they're agreeing to. If you're in any way vague about the job assignments, conditions, payroll issues, coworkers, vacations etc, it creates uncertainty that you don't want regardless of whether you'll actually end up hiring them or not.
Create trust – be open and transparent about everything concerning the employee and their potential position in the company, make sure you're on the same page with everything and encourage them to ask questions – they might have some that you wouldn't even think of.
We'd love to hear your opinion as well!
We think hiring good employees is a science and there's clearly a lot more to remember when faced with that task, but this is what our own experience has taught us. However, we'd like to take it back to you - what are your views on the topic?
Comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to have a chat!