Anyone who’s ever had to hire a new employee knows that it can be a pretty complicated task. From the moment you post a job listing, there are plethora of obstacles that can crop up before you find the perfect candidate. There are the piles of CVs, the interview no-shows and time-wasters, and perhaps most frustrating of all – the rejected offers.
But even if everything goes right and your chosen candidate accepts your offer, things can still go wrong once they’ve come onboard.
Some people, no matter how good their CV, and no matter how well they come across in their interview, just don’t fit in well with the company.
In the best case scenario, they leave before they can do any real damage. But if things go really wrong, they can cause major disruptions and contribute to a toxic atmosphere pervading throughout the office.
Bad hires can also affect your bottom line. A 2015 study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that one bad hire can cost the company up to five times that person’s annual salary.
There are however a few things you can do to help avoid such a scenario, most of which involve a slight switch in the way you think about the hiring process.
Use your networks
If you’ve made it far enough to be making hires, you’ll know that networks are important to business. So why not use those networks to your advantage?
Reach out to people you trust in your business and professional networks and ask them to give you recommendations for people who can take up the position you’re trying to fill.
Because they’re in your network, they’re far more likely to know what kind of person you’re after and what kind of skills you need than a recruiter who’s never met you.
And because the people referred you know the people in your network, they’re also much more likely to get an honest understanding of your company.
One of the oldest sayings in business is “hire slow, fire fast”. While it has its detractors, there’s still plenty of merit to it. Now the labour laws in some countries might mean that you can’t fire fast, but that’s even more reason to hire slow.
Even if you’re a fast-growing startup with a desperate need for bodies, it still makes sense to hire slow. After all, your earliest hires are the ones who’ll have the biggest impact on the company.
Taking time over a hire means you’re just that much less likely to regret it later on.
Hire for culture
Of course, taking time over a hire doesn’t really count for much if you don’t use it properly. One of the best ways to use that time is to make sure a prospective employee fits in with the culture of your company.
There are a couple of different strategies companies use in this regard. Airbnb, for instance, holds multiple interviews with prospective hires. Some of these are the usual skill and role-based ones, but once those have been cleared, the candidate goes through another set of interviews centred on company culture.
According to CultureAmp, “these interviews are conducted by people selected by the founders, who are outside of the function for which they are interviewing, and talk with the candidates about their experience, understanding and mindset related to Airbnb”.
Vitsoe, the worldwide licensee of Dieter Ram’s furniture collection, takes things a step further. Alongside multiple interviews, the company allows prospective employees to come in and work alongside its teams for a day to see how they fit.
Without anyone having to make a serious commitment, it allows both the company and the potential hire to make a more informed decision.
Get your own branding right
It’s tempting to view hiring as a one-way street that requires job applicants to present the best versions of themselves to you. But if you want to make great hires, you have to attract the right kind of people.
That in turn starts with solidifying your own company culture and putting a firm internal brand in place.
From there, word will get out that you’re a good place to work, making it that much easier to find the kind of candidates you want.
It’s important to note that branding doesn’t mean plastering your website and social presences with pictures of your cafeteria and your “quirky” office decorations. It’s about identifying your “why”, that singular thing that everyone who works at your company should be passionate about.
Airbnb is, again, an example of a company which does this very well. It’s mission, to facilitate a world where anyone can belong anywhere, extends through to its hiring practices.
As the company’s head of Global Head of Employee Experience, Mark Levy told Culture Amp in an interview earlier this year:
“The minute people start talking about job titles or are more interested in the equity over changing the world through connecting people via local and authentic travel experiences, we know that they are probably barking up the wrong tree.
We’re very true to our core values in the hiring process.”
Get your onboarding processes sorted
Another thing Airbnb does very well is onboard new employees. Each new employee goes through a week-long “check-in” which involves taking them through “Airbnb values, business strategies, an introduction to each function, and ways of working”.
That kind of onboarding is an important, but often overlooked, part of the hiring process.
While the tips we’ve provided here are by no means a guarantee that every hire you make from here on out will be great. They could, however, make it more likely you’ll find those candidates. And that definitely won’t hurt your business.