Businesses are like chains; they are only as strong as their weakest link. In business, employees are the links in the chain. No matter how many stellar employees you may have, all it takes is one weak link to disrupt the workplace and create chaos. This is why everyone in management fears making a hiring mistake. Unfortunately, however, even the best of us are capable of hiring the wrong person. Here are a few suggestions for ensuring that your next hire will be an asset to your organization instead of a liability.
1. Don’t allow yourself to get swept off of your feet. It is often tempting to hire someone who is charismatic and likeable. However, far too often we choose to hire an individual based on a charming smile or a warm personality without giving too much thought to their work history or experience. While attitude should be a major factor in making a hiring decision, it all comes down to a person’s performance, not personality.
2. A resume is not always accurate. A very large percentage of job-seekers will embellish a resume in order to make their credentials seem better than what they really are. Never assume that a resume is 100% factually accurate. A resume is just one factor when making a hiring decision, it should never be the lone deciding factor. Common areas where job-seekers embellish the truth are: educational background, previous job titles, and length of employment.
3. References. Never use the references which a job-seeker provides on a resume or job application. A job-seeker will always provide the names of those who are certain to provide a good reference. Instead, at the time of the interview, ask the job-seeker for at least three references of previous supervisors or co-workers whose names do not appear on the applicant’s resume.
4. Forget background checks. Criminal background checks should never be a factor when hiring unless the job-seeker’s offense directly relates to the position for which he or she is applying. For instance, an applicant with a history of retail theft would not be the best choice for a job in retail. Some of the best workers I have ever hired were individuals who were on probation, parole, or work-release. Why? Because they have no room for failure; their very freedom depends on their ability to be a good employee. One slip-up and they are going to get in serious trouble with authorities. I feel much safer hiring somebody who has a lot to lose instead of somebody who has nothing to lose.
5. Research. Every job-seeker puts their best foot forward when interviewing for a job. When you ask potential employees to tell you about themselves, you will never hear: “My name is Sue, and my interests include getting drunk every night of the week, partying until dawn, and arriving late to work each morning.” Use social networking sites to your advantage. It is perfectly legal to search for a prospective employee’s personal profile on MySpace or Facebook. If this person has racy photos or pictures of themself intoxicated or using drugs, you may not want to call them back for a second interview. In order to make an accurate evaluation of a person’s moral fiber, you must observe how they act outside of work.