How often do you recruit a candidate only to find out that he/she is failing terribly in performing his/her new role? When there is a complete failure in meeting the requirements you know you’ve recruited a bad hire. The obvious results are additional costs and reduced performance. If this happens quite frequently, you should try analyzing the reasons behind its occurrence. Is it that your judgment fails when you make hiring decisions? Or, do you tend to be biased even when you truly understand the consequences of a bad hire? What’s the answer? Read more to find out. Avoid making bad hires with Recruiteze. Recruiteze is the number one free recruiting management system on the market. Click here for a free trial.
1. Cognitive Biases
One of the major reasons that we often fail in perceiving the candidates correctly and end up recruiting the wrong people is what is known as ‘cognitive biases’.
Due to implicit associations that get created in our brain, we tend to form quick opinions about the candidates during the recruitment process. Very often, we fall into the trap of our unconscious minds and start assigning our own meanings to different things and situations that we encounter while screening the candidates. Even more, we are unable to explain the processes that were used by us to form our opinions or decisions. The fact is that our brain develops shortcuts known as cognitive biases to deal with vast information on daily basis. Unfortunately, these shortcuts don’t really help us but lead us to a path where we end up making gross mistakes and, as a result, we end up recruiting the wrong people.
Even more strange is the fact that even those who are aware of cognitive bias fall into its trap believing that they are not affected by the phenomenon. The following section highlights a list of biases that affect our recruitment decisions in a big way. They must be avoided during the whole recruitment process as they prevent us from being rational.
a. Self-Proclaimed Expertise
It is pivotal to understand the limits of our knowledge and competency. We must refrain from underestimating or overestimating the capacities of candidates that we are considering for recruitment. Also, our analysis should be based on well-defined processes. It is these processes that should form the basis of our decisions indeed and not our self-proclaimed expertise.
b. By Focusing on Specific Qualities
When we see something positive in a candidate, we tend to assume that he possesses several more qualities that can prove to be an asset for our organization. The same thing happens when we first encounter a negative trait in an individual. By emphasizing our focus on a particular trait, we tend to lose our focus on candidates’ other strengths and weaknesses. And by doing that, we make ourselves vulnerable.
To model, a candidate possessing a high IQ won’t necessarily be hard-working. If the nature of the job at our workplace is such that it demands more hard work than intelligence, the productivity of our business will drastically suffer.
c. By Refusing to Explore Other Available Options
How often do you tend to avoid options for which there is missing information? We refuse to do a bit of extra work to gather the missing information. Rather, we prefer recruiting the candidate who demonstrates a few positive qualities with complete information. We seem to be alright with picking a candidate whose competency levels are just average as long as they are known to us. Have you ever considered that if there are chances for the missing information to be negative, there are equal chances for it to be positive? Why not take the time to gather the missing chunks of information so as not to leave any stone unturned? One option you shouldn’t avoid is using our free recruiting management system. Recruiteze makes tracking talent and hiring easy.
d. By Associating Our Own Meanings to Known Names
While browsing resumes, do you start attributing lots of positivity to the individual the moment you come across the name of a reputed university or institution on his/her resume?
It’s a common thing to stop on familiar names and associate them with positive/negative qualities based on our experience. What about the names we don’t recognize? They could hold the same potential as well. Rather, the resumes with familiar names might just weigh us down when we start analyzing other resumes or even the negative attributes of candidates having familiar names on their resumes. Would you really want to miss the chance to recruit a candidate that holds better potential and suits your organization better?
e. By Relying on Pre-selected Information
Because we are fond of relying on certain pieces of information, we base our entire evaluation criteria on only those details and completely ignore other steps/details of the evaluation process that might just be equally significant. Our likeliness often results in unfavorable decisions. There is a complete failure in making decisions that are based on pre-selected chunks of data rather than the ones made by collating huge chunks of data.
f. By Attributing Success to Perceived Qualities
What happens is that when we interview candidates or assess their profile, we tend to associate their achievements to perceived qualities. We become oblivious to all other factors that might greatly affect their efficiency and productivity in a different environment. We tend to ignore the fact that the individuals tend to perform differently when the environment changes. And that new environment could well be your workplace. It is, therefore, important to count all possible factors while assessing a candidate and not just those we want to see and believe.
g. By Creating Homogeneous Teams
What happens is that after successfully recruiting one talented candidate, we tend to stick to profiles similar to that candidate’s profile so as to minimize risks associated with a bad hire. In the entire process of minimizing risks, we end up picking all the candidates with similar profiles. As a result, there is no recruitment of versatile individuals. With a biased mind, we end up creating a team of employees who think and work in a like manner. When there is no diversity in the workforce, the team members fail miserably in confronting unusual situations that are likely to arise in every business. This can result in a catastrophic failure of a business. It is, therefore, vital that we don’t give any extra credit to a candidate or his qualities just because he or she reminds of other employees.
h. By Seeking Confirmation to Our Preconceived Ideas
With time and experience, we tend to formulate our own ideas and opinions about almost everything. The same thing happens when we are faced with the task of recruiting high performing candidates. We start looking for signs that confirm our preconceived notions and in the process we go completely wrong in interpreting things. We should, rather, look for information or signs that go against our beliefs and assumptions. By extracting detailed information, we are in a better position to see the true picture. Even more, we stop the process of reinforcing our convictions.
2. By Following Transactional Hiring Process
We often resort ourselves to a box-checking exercise in which all the vacant positions are filled with candidates who are most skilled rather than the ones who have the most potential. By following this practice, we tend to miss out on discussions that lead to a better understanding of the candidate’s skills, potential and interests. Even more, we miss understanding each other’s short and long term goals. It’s quite a challenge to align these goals but that can happen only by putting forth our ideas and viewpoints.
3. By Treating Strangers Differently Than Acquaintances
When a candidate is known to us in some way, he/she gets evaluated in a manner that is completely different than a stranger. While the unknown candidates are assumed to be incompetent to start with, the acquaintances and referrals on the other side are believed to be competent and qualified from the very start. For unknown candidates, our judgments are primarily based on their skills, experience, profile and personality. The candidates who are known in some way are assessed loosely based on their past performance record and ability to learn new things. Because we have a tendency of not treating all the candidates equally, it leads to the terrible prediction of talent and performance.
We fail miserably in hiring a lot of talented candidates just because they don’t fit our biased notions and stereotype of success. Even though we are aware that our wacky thinking can lead to the recruitment of bad hires, we fall for our conventional thinking and end up recruiting highly incompetent candidates. The solution probably lies in reminding ourselves continually of the flawed approaches our mind tends to follow due to a combination of factors. This will warn us against overvaluing first impressions, different behaviors, communication or presentation skills and even pre-selected information. As a result, we will start valuing their ability to work instead. Thus, we might garner success in hiring candidates who are the best individuals for given job roles and refrain ourselves from recruiting the wrong people.
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