Fix Your Hiring Mistakes By Getting Back to the BASICS!

Fix Your Hiring Mistakes By Getting Back to the BASICS!

by Sara Bennett | December 2, 2020

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Northwest recruiter fixing hiring mistakesRecruiters Have a Big Impact on Northwest Employer’s Business Performance!

Particularly for small to medium sized Northwest employers its a really big deal to find the right talent, at the right time, and put them to work in the right way.   The stakes are particularly high in smaller environments where every employee has to make a difference.  No one gets lost in any ones shuffle.  For recruiters, having the time to get back to hiring basics is what reduces hiring mistakes!

Unfortunately, small to medium sized companies often lack the recruiting resources (time, expertise, etc.) they need to deliver “top of the game” results.  Mastering the right hiring process is not a one and done deal.  And when someone assigned the recruiting role is asked to sandwich their recruiting responsibilities in between other HR duties, its often the recruiting basics that takes the back seat. Hiring managers, anxious to hire, often come to see recruiters as obstacles rather than as value added.

We know that drill.  85% of our clients are small to medium sized Northwest businesses who know the importance of hiring right, but either lack or have lost confidence in the internal resources needed to carry out that mission. They turn to us either to augment their own resources with targeted recruiting and candidate vetting services, or ask us to fully manage their recruiting process, recognizing the value of being able to stay focused on their own core work.

Hiring mistakes don’t just happen.  Getting BACK TO BASICS – a tried and true method of hiring right – can make a BIG difference.

While we can’t guarantee that all new hires will turn out as planned (the human part of human resources) we know we can improve overall hiring outcomes by giving focused attention to what we call the hiring basics.   Whether a company decides to work with us or continue to make things work on their own, if they just fix a few high impact items in their basic recruiting/hiring process, their hiring outcomes can be dramatically improved.

Here’s our list of  hiring basics and “must do hiring fixes” – presented in order of what we think is their impact on hiring results.

If you’re a recruiter servicing the needs of internal hiring managers, these are things that you must do well in order to make a difference.


#1 GO DEEP into  your Preferred Candidate PROFILE!

So many recruiting issues are created either by a recruiter not profiling at all (just using a worn out job description as their info source) or not digging deeply enough into the profiling process to pin point the type of candidate that needs to be hired.

For us this is the big kahuna of recruiting short falls. A recruiter can’t facilitate the right hire if they don’t know what qualities that “right person” has to have in order to be a great hire. A recruiter who short cuts the profiling process will not only waste valuable time in their recruit, but will increase the chances that their hiring manager will make a hiring mistake.

Here’s what recruiters need to know BEFORE they start their recruit…..

  • The “Real” Work Content – what we call the “day in the life” or what the employee will actually be doing on a day to day basis.  Recruiters can’t  count on a job description to describe work content accurately.  In a fast moving work, most job descriptions are at best “approximations” of what the work is all about.
  • How “Success” is Defined.  What are the company’s standards for performance? How will “success” be measured? For higher level jobs what must the newly hired candidate need to have accomplished in 3, 6, 12 month time frames. For lower level jobs, what is most important about how the key results are achieved.
  • Skill and Knowledge Must Haves – what skills and knowledge must they bring to the table? What skills and knowledge will they learn on the job? How will they learn them?
  • Cultural Norms – what is it going to take for an employee to fit into “how the company or their particular work team” works together. What is the preferred work style?

Have you ever hired a super talented employee who couldn’t fit into a team who was big on collaboration and didn’t really grove on individual performance? If yes, you know what I mean.

  • The Preferred Candidate’s Motivational Profile – what personal motivators are most aligned with what this job and company have to offer. If an employee has thrived in environments where high levels of performance are recognized with both praise and money, and you put them in an environment where raises are uncommon and personal recognition non existent, expect an early term turnover.

#2 Develop a Uniform Recruiting, Candidate Vetting and Hiring Process.  

If you re invent the wheel each time you hire in terms of how candidates are screened, evaluated and hiring decisions made, you eliminate your ability to compare and contrast a wide range of candidate behaviors so as to select candidates who best fits your preferred candidate profile.

The consistency of your hiring process will help you uncover real differences in a candidate’s behavior. If every candidate is treated differently, even given different interview questions, you won’t be able to compare one candidate to another, and you’ll end up guessing which candidate would be the right fit.


#3 Make Sure You Trust AND Verify 

If your current process has too much trust and not enough verify, a good recruiter can become value added just by making sure that the right amount of attention is given to the verify phase of the hiring process.

We’ve all been there – fallen in “like” with a candidate who had all the trappings of a “fit” to the point where we don’t take the important next step and verify that who we are talking to in the interview process, or who is described on a resume, is the same person who shows up for work 2-3 months down the road.

Those of us who’ve been around recruiting for a while know that just because a candidate “seems right” doesn’t mean they are right and a commitment to trust but verify is the only way to manage those gut level reactions that all too often can result in hiring errors.

To add value, the verification step of your recruiting process needs to include.

  • Candid conversations with former employers – did what a candidate  tell us during their interview match up with what a former employer describes as true.  People will always put their best foot forward during the hiring process but what you need to know is how they actually have behaved on the job. And red flags need to be raised if a candidate doesn’t provide you with the names of people who actually supervised their work. Friends and co workers really don’t know much about how an employee performed relative to management’s expectations or even the circumstances of their employment ending, and it’s the managers assessment that is more likely to predict behavior in the future.
  • Independent and Professional crafted assessments of a candidate’s skill levels – particularly important in jobs where a high level of knowledge and skills is critical to successful performance.
  • Contacts to schools and colleges – to verify that the candidate earned the degrees and certifications they claim. Verifications of a candidate’s educational background are increasing in popularity as the tendency for candidates to “exaggerate” in this area has increased.
  • Multiple interviewers – who can compare notes on what the candidate told them about what.  Recruiters and hiring managers should be comparing notes at every step in the selection process as its those inconsistencies in a candidate’s responses that are important red flags.


#4 Find the right cadence.  Take the time you need to thoroughly vet your candidate….but move quickly. 

Creating a hiring process that moves to fast, and you run the risk of settling for the first candidate who may be “just okay”. Use a process that moves to too slowly, and run the risk of encouraging the wrong hiring decisions just to be done with the process. Recruiters who move too slowly or don’t do a thorough job of pre screening candidates (or resumes) before they go to a hiring manager are not adding value and will soon be looked at as an obstacle not a solution.

One of the great things about being a recruiter is that there are always ways to improve your tool kit, to add value to the hiring process.

We’ve offered just 4 areas where we have seen companies get away from their hiring basics, and get off track in their hiring results. Recruiters who can find solutions to these high impact recruiting issues will be well on their way to not only improving their hiring results, but building a successful recruiter/hiring manager relationship.


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years.

A 4-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us or visit our website.

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