Finding the best talent for your organization – whether it’s a high-growth start-up, or established industry leader – can be a daunting venture, even under the most optimal conditions. While there are a number of ways for hiring managers to unintentionally throw a monkey wrench into the search process, here are five of the most common mistakes hiring managers should avoid:
1. Going Along to Get Along
Trying to achieve absolute, universal consensus can be counterproductive and disastrous – resulting in stellar candidates needlessly overlooked and opportunity wasted. Especially in geographically dispersed leadership environments, or corporations that have highly differentiated business units, it is nearly impossible to develop 100 percent complete consensus on a successful candidate. Eliminating a candidate because only 8 out of 10 hiring managers agree he or she would be an A+ contributor is a poor move.
2. One Size Fits All
Also known as “Past Performance Does Not Guarantee Future Results.” Just because an executive looks great on paper, has been successful in the exact markets you are looking to enter, or has led through the same growth trajectory you are looking to achieve, if he or she is not a fit culturally and does not have chemistry with the rest of the team, the individual will not be tenable over the long term – and can seriously derail a successful organization.
3. Dragging Your Feet
Every search encounters unforeseen impediments that stretch schedules and extend timeframes and all hiring managers constantly manage competing priorities. However, in virtually every search process, time – and specifically, lost time – works against you. To allow unnecessary delays to occur is to commit a totally unforced error. Beyond the risk of losing a top-tier potential employee due to perceived lack of interest or enthusiasm (or disruption of the natural rhythm of the search ), if you believe Candidate X is a superstar, then more than likely so does another company – one that may snatch them up by moving faster.
4. “I’ll Know It When I See It”
As the hiring manager, if you aren’t able to clearly articulate the ideal attributes, success factors and profile for the superstar executive you are searching for, how will your team know what to focus on in assessment and during the exploratory process? Or how can your vision be successfully communicated to potential candidates? It is always worth investing the time up front to develop a clear understanding, in as much detail as possible, of the personal characteristics, experience, abilities and organizational value-add the ideal candidate will embody – rather than the scattershot approach of “seeing what sticks.”
5. My Way or the Highway
Some hiring managers we know have an unbreakable rule that if a candidate is even one minute late to an interview, they are immediately disqualified. Their view is that if the candidate values the job, they will ensure that they arrive with plenty of time to account for any delays. As senior members at their respective organizations, however, executives occasionally have last minute conflicts that they can’t neglect. If a CFO is delayed by 10 minutes because the CEO called a last minute meeting, it is incredibly shortsighted to disqualify them based on an intractable rule. The business world is too fast-moving and unpredictable to deal in universal absolutes, exclusively.
Bringing on-board top-tier talent to an organization is difficult enough for the best hiring managers. By eliminating needless obstacles and self-inflicted injuries, you can ensure the process is as efficient and successful as possible.