HR Management & Compliance

Quick Hiring Decisions Can Backfire

Are you a buyer rather than a shopper? You may fit this mold if you know precisely what you want, go directly to it on the store shelves, grab it, and head immediately for the cash register. While this strategy may make for efficient purchasing, it can also make for disastrous hiring.

No one wants to spend any more time than necessary recruiting, interviewing and selecting new employees. You want to get your new employee in the door and on the job.

But cost of a bad hiring decision is far worse than some of the fashion disasters that have resulted from the impatient shopping technique.

Sure, careful hiring can take time away from your many other responsibilities, but putting just any warm body in a vacant position may cause you a lot more work down the road. Take a little extra time to pick the right (and avoid the wrong) person for the job.

Conduct Critical Interviews

Too often, precious interview time is wasted with stock questions for which the candidate has prepared stock answers: “It’s been my goal since childhood to be a human cannonball.”

We see a lot of creative questions out there that don’t permit fluff answers and make candidates think on their feet. There’s nothing wrong with making them a little uncomfortable — you’ll get a much better picture of how they’ll perform under the stress of the job. You can even ask a question for which there is no answer to see if they’ll admit when they’re stumped.

Ask where they want to be in five years. If they’re interviewing for a dead-end job and want to be CEO, it’s a bad fit from the start. If they express contentment with where they are in their careers, they shouldn’t be hired for fast-track management positions.

Give them difficult scenarios from the job and ask how they would react. For many jobs, you’re not as interested in the answer as you are in how they approach the question. For others, you may want to gauge their composure under pressure.


Interviewing, Hiring, and Onboarding: Best Practices for Landing Cream-of-the-Crop Employees (and Weeding Out the Duds)— webinar Friday!


If the job demands relationship skills (such as in sales), don’t evaluate candidates based on the usually friendly interview exchange. See how they handle you when you’re difficult and uncooperative. Whatever the job, figure out what’s important and use the interview to test (not ask) whether the employee has the right stuff.

Don’t Be Too Easy

There’s a temptation to declare victory when the first passable candidate clears the interview process. Unless it’s time-sensitive, or a fungible job, be patient and see who else may be interested.

You may find a better candidate, or you may confirm that you’ve already found the best available. Either way, you develop a sense of what’s out there — which in turn gives you a better sense of how much you can and should demand from the person you hire.

If the pickings are slim, you may need to work harder to develop a new hire whose warts appear after he starts the job. If the market is good, you don’t have to tolerate as much disappointment.

Explain Your Expectations

Once you hire a new employee, make sure that the person clearly understands what you expect. Many job expectations aren’t as obvious to a new employee as they seem to those who have worked at an organization for years.

Companies in the same industry order their priorities differently — efficiency, quality, customer service — and therefore expect their employees to organize their work accordingly.

Let new hires know what matters to your organization; don’t assume they already know. To help with this, pair them with your best veteran employee so they see how you like it done.

Tomorrow, we’ll explain why the introductory period is so valuable for employers — and why too few actually take advantage of it. We’ll also tell you about a webinar later this week on hiring, specifically for California employers, that you won’t want to miss.

Download your free copy of Questions To Ask In An Interview: Interview Questions for Employers today!