The old adage “time is money” might be a little overused, but in business it still rings true, especially when you're talking about adding new staff to your company.
New employees are a major time (and money) investment. Recruitment, resume review, and interview process alone can take several days—time that could be better spent on other work to help drive revenue. Add in the hours spent on new hire paperwork and weeks of training... You see where we’re going.
As a hiring manager or creative director, what can you do to avoid some of these costs? You can't just stop hiring people, a growing business requires employees. You don't want to cut time out of the interview or training process. That leads to hasty decisions and shoddy work, both of which will cost you even more in the long run.
Save yourself valuable time and money by checking out our list of the top five mistakes employers make when hiring, so you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Going in Blind
It's never a good idea to begin your search with vague criteria. Many employers make this mistake, thinking that if they're too specific about what they're looking for, they might scare people off or miss out on the right person. Others seem to think that by keeping an open mind, fate will bring the candidate they didn't know they needed.
Unfortunately, that's not the way it works. You have to know what you're looking for in order to find it. Be as specific as possible in your job posting about the credentials, skills, and experience that will best prepare a candidate for success in your position.
Prepare your interview questions well in advance. This will ensure you have time to consider what you need to know about the candidate in order to make the perfect match. Playing it by ear may result in missing important questions and wasting time gathering irrelevant data.
Mistake #2: Forgetting about the Long Term
When you're not seeing the perfect candidate appear, it can be tempting to hire someone who is “good enough for now”. However, filling a role for the short-term isn't a good strategy because if your business thrives (and you hope it will) you’ll need someone for the long-term. Otherwise you'll have to go through the entire recruiting, hiring and training process all over again.
Take a little extra time to find someone who fits into your long-term goals. Don't be afraid to ask where they see themselves in the next one, five, or even ten years. This may sound cliché, but if you don’t ask, you may hire someone whose long-term goals don’t match yours. Are they looking for advancement opportunities? A lighter workload? More challenging work? When you ask these kinds of questions, you’ll be able to find someone who fits in with your business strategy.
Mistake #3: Falling for First Impressions
A firm handshake. Eloquent answers. Not a hair out of place. Some candidates really know how to make a great first impression. This can be a great quality—they clearly understand that presenting yourself well reflects positively on the company. However, the first impression isn't the whole story. Dig deep—look past the surface to find out what the candidate is really about. What is their history and experience? How do they fit into your company's future? Can they demonstrate an ability to handle difficult situations? These things matter far more than polish and poise.
When you really “like” a candidate, challenge yourself to make sure you ask even more questions than you might of a candidate who raises a few red flags. Most hiring managers are diligent about digging deep when something seems amiss but put on blinders for the candidate who “really seems to fit”, which can cause them to miss out on key skills and experience they really need to have.
Mistake #4: Looking in the Wrong Places
Sometimes an employer goes into an employee search with preconceived ideas about where the perfect candidate will come from. Often hiring managers are convinced that the best candidate will be internal, as they already know the company's operations and culture. In other situations, they believe that a truly qualified candidate could only come from the outside, given the skills needed for the role.
Deciding in advance if you want to hire internally or externally is problematic, because it instantly cuts the talent pool. It's not wise to promote an internal candidate who isn't prepared for the job, unless you have a flawless training program and built-in extra time for them to learn. Don’t try to force an employee to fit into a new position just because they've been good in their previous position and you want to reward their longevity. If the new role is not a fit, you run the risk of setting your top performer up for failure and perhaps even losing them!
It's also risky to assume that none of your current employees are qualified for the job. Maybe they don't have all of the credentials or external experience you originally believed you needed, but their knowledge of your company might be the advantage you need. And again, you may have solid training and time to learn in place to set them up for success. Just make sure you know the answer up front.
When all is said and done, it doesn't matter where you find your perfect hire. You should carefully consider anyone who can prove they have the skills, experience or ability to learn what’s needed quickly to achieve your business objectives.
Mistake #5: Ignoring Personality and Workplace Culture
Of course, you want to hire someone with the right experience, skills, and qualifications, but never ignore a good personality fit. Every workplace has its own culture, its own tone, and its own unique rhythm. A candidate can have all of the qualifications, but if they aren't a good fit for the environment, not only might they not last long in the role, but they could actually cause turnover in your current team - or even cost you a client!
Make sure you strike the appropriate balance between “has the right skills” and “fits in well” with the environment and the rest of the team. A simple pros-cons list could help you look forward to the possible impact and outcome of hiring candidates. What do they add to your team and business? What could possibly go wrong?
No matter what you decide, remember: a candidate with a good cultural fit is more likely to stay for the long term, reinforce company values and contribute to a positive environment. A bad match for your culture could sink your business and disrupt your team.
If you’re looking for help filling your creative talent needs, fill out our Request Talent form and we’ll get in touch ASAP!