Steps You Must Take If You Want to Stop Making Bad Hiring Decisions

When a hiring manager reviews a list of job applicants, they hope to see resumes from highly qualified individuals.

But what happens when many applicants don't even the minimum job requirements? Or worse, when the majority of the candidates are totally and completely unqualified?

Should HR settle for the best of the worst, or start the recruiting process all over again?

Bad hires and unqualified job applicants cost businesses time and money, especially when the least qualified job seekers are the only ones applying.

While a thorough background screening will help weed out potential bad hires, employers still need to find ways to discourage unqualified candidates from applying to job openings in the first place.

Finding the best candidate to fill a particular position starts well before the interview and background check process. Recruiting managers can improve their odds of attracting the right people by taking a few steps before posting a job opening:

1. Assess Your Ideal Candidate

What qualifications, skills, or industry experience does your ideal candidate have? This includes tenure in the industry and educational credentials, if applicable.

Be detailed when outlining your ideal candidate. Knowing the specific skills a person needs will help you stay focused during your search. From there, a unique job description can be formed.

2. Study Your Competitors

Your company is not the only one in the market looking to fill skilled positions. Find out what your competitors are looking for in their candidates and take note of the media they use to search for new hires.

Can you offer comparable or better pay and benefits packages? Try making your job description stand out from the competition. You might not be able to offer something like Google's famous 20 percent time, but allowing employees some freedom when it comes to personal time is always a good idea.

Research how many job openings there are for a position like yours. There may be a shortage of employment opportunities or a wealth of qualified candidates ready to apply.

This knowledge will help you keep your company's recruiting practices competitive.

3. Create a Detailed Job Description

Attract the most qualified applicants with unique, detailed job descriptions. Generic job descriptions will only attract weak, unqualified candidates.

Use information you gathered from your ideal candidate profile and competitor research to create a job description that clearly mentions the specific skills, education, and experience required. Be sure to note which skills and qualifications are absolutely mandatory and which ones are optional – but don't be overly restrictive and inadvertently limit the talent pool.

You want to hit a happy medium to attract the best candidates. A generic job description will attract unqualified job applicants, while a highly complex one will only apply to a small group of people – who may not even exist!

4. Look for Candidates in the Right Spots

A well-crafted job description will still attract unqualified applicants if displayed on the wrong job site. However, its always better to use the right job site, isn't it?

Social media platforms are good places to find interns and entry-level candidates, but platforms like Monster, Indeed, and LinkedIn have industry-targeted job seekers with specific backgrounds and skills. Depending on your industry, you want to use a platform that makes it easy to filter results according to job-specific keywords.

Job fairs are another place to find good candidates because applicants can be screened on the spot, face to face.

A third way to find highly skilled candidates is by tapping into the networks of people who are familiar with your business. You have a higher chance of finding suitable candidates through current employees, vendors, or clients because they are likely to have connections with well-qualified individuals.

5. Keep a Database of Best Practices

When surveyed, 38 percent of companies said they have ended up hiring a bad employee because the hiring process was rushed.

Avoid hasty recruiting processes by keeping a database of unique job qualifications and the best hiring media for all company positions. That way, your hiring process can move quickly with well-qualified applicants.

Ultimately, you can avoid attracting unqualified job applicants by making a few changes to your hiring process. Consider tailoring the job description to your ideal employee and use job-seeking media that fit your industry.

Patrick Barnett is a Licensed Investigator (CA Bureau of Security) with more than 12 years of investigative experience. He is senior investigative manager with Advanced Research Systems.