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The Hiring Game - Guidelines For Employers

August 7, 2009

Primarily, let’s put this in common sense. As humans, employers tend to get somewhat anxious and excited about hiring a new player to their team. It is a bit like looking for a partner: you first see the outer package, then you get to know some of the inner package, but you are still unsure about how that will interact when the actual relationship takes place. The process is common – what if I take a further step and it does not work out? Then it would have been a waste of time, opportunity, emotional and physical energy. For this reason, most people tend to refine their search and look for little commonalities that feel familiar.

In the job market, however, there are further problems. Unlike relationships, hiring has specific and timely-based needs which have to be fulfilled. There are tasks to be completed, and the business depends on that to function in an effective and efficient manner. For that reason, the pressure to find an ideal candidate is increased, and timing becomes a critical aspect of the hiring process. Does that sound frightening? Well, it can be if the employer is not prepared to undertake the journey. However, in order to facilitate the process, we’ve decided to identify the major problems that are involved in hiring people, and provide effective solutions for each of them. Just like in love or cards, the hiring game has one basic requirement: you’ll have to do your homework.

Problem 1: Job description

Many employers face problems when screening candidates for a position simply because the candidates are not suitable for that job. But why not? Did dozens of candidates apply for the job because they cannot read well? Most likely not. Failure to identify company’s needs, job tasks, and required skills and experience is a basic problem in advertisements and job posts. Solution? Ensure you explicitly identify what the position is about, what the company is about, and what the candidate should be about.

Problem 2: Fast tracking

Hiring a candidate is an elaborate task. It requires patience, attention, screening, and strong evaluation. For this reason, it also takes some time. Yes, it is possible to find the ideal jobseeker very quickly – but it is not usual. Hiring out of desperation, failing to assess the required skills and experience from a candidate, and skipping the interview will probably lead to bad hiring. Is that a problem? Yes! Re-hiring is a costly activity, and it can affect staff morale, productivity and your time. There are many cases in which the current staff can make up for the vacant position for a while – and you ought to know that you are better off paying extra hours or benefits to your current staff, than hiring someone unsuitable and having to find someone else. Solution? Be critical and don’t let your emotions negatively affect the hiring process. Remember to check for all the requirements, develop a sound interview, and be careful with promoting from within simply because it is easier.

Problem 3: Evaluation

Evaluating your candidate is part of the investigative process in job hiring. Unfortunately, about 16% of people that apply for a job provide fake or misleading information regarding skills, experience or education. Sometimes the position’s advertised salary is based on the educational requirements of the candidate, or the experience. You’d definitely not want to overpay someone because they have provided fake certificates. Another problem is to fail to recognize cultural trends within your company and how that could affect a candidate, and vice-versa. Solution? Perform extensive background checks (sometimes it can be done with a few phone calls and Google). Check for the references, check for cultural fitting and how that could impact the candidate and other employees.

Problem 4: Advertising

In order to screen several candidates, you’ll need to have several candidates. Most jobseekers are attracted by the message transmitted in an advertisement, and the media in which it was advertised. Failing to produce a sound advertisement will reduce your options in finding an ideal person for the job. Solution? Identify your target group and advertise for them. You’ll need to ensure that you get exposure, and that your job ad is concise and positive. The Internet, nowadays, is a non-costly, effective and practical option.

Pedro Gondim is a writer and publisher for the Australian Institute of Professional Counselors. The Institute is Australia's largest counselor training provider, offering the internationally renowned Diploma of Professional Counseling.

By Pedro T Gondim
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