This is the first in a series of posts about the most common hiring mistakes we commonly see (and a few of which we ourselves have been guilty). We’re also going to offer some advice to those that who want to avoid these common mistakes.
How mistakes are made
The employee that just ended their employment with you was a key employee. Their role is critical to your success, and there isn’t anyone in their department that can step up and take the open position.
You have no pipeline of qualified candidates. Now you are desperate.
When you are desperate to hire, it’s easy to make mistakes. Your need to fill the position starts to outweigh the time you have to recruit, screen, and identify qualified candidates. The pressure to fill the position can mean that you overlook some areas that a potential candidate isn’t strong enough. You overlook a sketchy answer to a gap in the candidate’s employment. Instead of screening out, you start to screen candidates in—you have to fill the position now.
How not to hire out of desperation
To avoid hiring out of desperation, you have to have qualified candidates for your key roles, the positions that you cannot afford to leave unfilled. We call these the “core positions,” because these positions make up the core functions of your business. (To learn more, request our White Paper on using a Flexible Staffing Model).
You start by ensuring that you have a list of internal candidates that can fill a core position should it become available. That means making sure that those candidates are being trained, taught, developed and coached to be able to take the position in the future. This isn’t always possible, and you don’t always have strong enough candidates. Sometimes, you have to take other measures.
It’s difficult to recruit for positions that aren’t open. The candidates aren’t interested in getting in line for a position that isn’t open—they want to work. But you do have to continually network and make connections with possible candidates, should the position become available. Using tools like LinkedIn can help.
It’s also a good practice to use databases like CareerBuilder to identify active and passive candidates before you have a need. Making a master list of potential candidates with the right background and the right experience—and keeping that list updated—can knock a lot of time off your search.
If you need more time to conduct a search, hire a temporary or contract employee to fill the position while you conduct the search. And make sure you pay enough to get an employee with the skills that you need, so you have the time to hire well.
Hiring well is never easy. Hiring out of desperation can make it even more difficult. It’s better to be prepared for the loss of a core employee than it is to be forced to hire out of desperation. Make the time to prepare now and prevent hiring out of desperation later.