According to Gallup, employers hire the wrong people for management positions 82 percent of the time – and that's just managers. Imagine how often they hire the wrong people for every other role, too.
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And there's no guarantee that these bad hires are leaving any time soon. From leadership roles to entry-level positions, there are plenty of bad hires who are still employed. What's more is that their bad attitudes can be contagious, causing disconnect in teams and scaring away potential new employees.
Learning and development opportunities might help turn these bad apples into great employees, but the absolute best way to safeguard your company against bad hires is to not make them in the first place. To do that, you'll need successful sourcing strategies that go beyond simple personality assessments and background checks.
Here are five smart ways to avoid bad hires:
1. Peruse Their Social Media Accounts
This tactic works with potential candidates and current employees alike and is used by more than 90 percent of recruiters today, according to Jobvite's 2015 Recruiter Nation survey. Smart candidates will keep their social media accounts clean, but bad hires might not be so careful. Look for profanity, spelling errors, drug use, and other red flags that will help you separate the bad hires from the good ones.
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The best part: This method is basically free!
2. Have Candidates Complete a Pre-Hire Project
Pre-hire projects are a direct way to assess a candidate's skills. According to Aberdeen Group, 55 percent of companies already link pre-hire assessments to employee performance. This is a successful sourcing strategy that many of today's biggest companies, like Target and HP, use in their recruitment practices.
For example, a candidate interviewing for a Web developer position might be asked to complete a coding project, or an applicant for a writing position might be asked to complete a writing assignment according to the company's guidelines.
It's important to give the candidate clear and detailed instructions to follow. A botched pre-hire assessment due to bad instruction is a recipe for poor Glassdoor reviews – not to mention a way to miss out on potentially great candidates.
3. Probe Those Resume Gaps
When a candidate's history includes one or more extended periods of unemployment, recruiters should get down to the bottom of those gaps long before the person is brought in to interview.
Joe Flanagan of Velvet Jobs suggests asking these questions about any employment gap:
- Did the candidate learn any new skills during their time of unemployment?
- Before the career gap, why did they leave their job?
- What are their career goals for the future?
The idea is to learn as much as possible about why a gap occurred. If the candidate's responses are too vague, negative toward previous employers, or just plain evasive, it might be time to move on. On the other hand, if their responses are positive and detailed, consider giving them a shot at an interview.
4. Ask Revealing Interview Questions
There is no one right type of question to ask interviewees, but pedaling the same tired, generic questions they've been answering at every interview isn't going to get you any real insights. Instead, explore questions that bring candidates out of their comfort zones, like these:
- What is one thing about this job you don't feel comfortable about? The point here isn't to find out whether or not the candidate can do the job, but to feel out how honest they can be with you. They may not even be concerned about the job itself, but maybe they are worried about the size of the company or a lack of upward mobility. This question will get a good conversation flowing and reveal areas in which the candidate might need some extra training or development.
- What is one complaint your previous supervisor might have about you? This question invites candidates to reveal some of their flaws (if they're being honest) and hopefully discuss how they learned from their mistakes.
- Tell me about a situation in your previous role that was uncomfortable or challenging. Here is another question hiring managers can use to listen for areas in which the candidate may be lacking. It might be conflict resolution, working under pressure, or not getting along with coworkers.
These questions aren't designed to confuse candidates, but rather to provide hiring managers with some insights into where the candidate needs development. From there, hiring managers can decide whether or not the candidate is worth the development effort.
It should be mentioned that the 2015 Recruiter Nation survey found that 56 percent of recruiters are having a hard time finding skilled candidates, so employers may want to be less picky and more open to developing candidates.
There are bad hires lurking in the halls of every office, and as the competition for new talent grows fiercer, recruiters will have to get creative with their sourcing strategies. Though this list doesn't include every successful tactic available, these are a few to get you started.
Christine Marino is the chief revenue officer at Click Boarding.