Top 10 Hiring Mistakes – #10 Hiring on Skills

As a hiring adviser to many businesses, one of the most common questions I get asked is what is the biggest mistakes you can make when hiring. To be perfectly honest, there are many mistakes that can happen during any process and it is because of this, as well as them being relatively unknown, that prompted me to look at the Top 10 hiring mistakes

These are problems that can be easily dealt with, especially by employing a strong plan to get the hiring right. It is acknowledging what they are, how they can affect potential hires and most importantly, how to counteract them that is vital to any hiring plan and to any business wanting to grow and build revenues.

For Hiring Mistake #10, there is one issue that consistently comes up in any hiring activity…and it is one that is so common, yet also commonly not thought of – hiring on skills only.

Trouble is it sounds so natural and properly acceptable thing to do. I mean, that is the whole thing about hiring – getting the right skills to integrate into your workplace, to do the work properly, and to complement the work you and your other employees do, right? Well, yes, but looking at skills alone in considering an applicant is fulfilling only one half of the overall package of a potential employee.

Overwhelming, the number one reason why an employer let’s an employee go or and employee leaves an employer is due to fit.

Fit really focuses on how the employee works within the team, the management structure and the working environment of the employer and along with the skills constitute the overall persona of the employee in its work setting. It is something that clearly determines the success of a business – especially as it relates to employee engagement being a solid determinant of productivity – and yet most business are almost oblivious of its impact and the need to ensure the cohesiveness of a positive team is maintained during hiring.

Can Hiring Influence Your Branding?

Hiring seems so innocuous to some. It’s simply putting a new person on as staff and integrating them into the business and environment, without much else happening externally, right? It would certainly seem that way, yet how we hire can affect how we are perceived in the marketplace, almost certainly influencing brand recognition.
There are two key areas that influence this, and these two are probably the most important:

  • Putting the role to market
  • The new employee in your business

OK, so you are finally getting around to putting your role out into the market to attract the best talent. You pop an ad on Seek, make a few comments around Linked In and maybe tweet the role with a link back to your website’s career page. 

What most businesses don’t understand that this is like any marketing campaign they embark on and it must be treated as a branding exercise. Your name is being put out into the market, and how you respond to any applications received can really influence how you are perceived in the market.

Why? Because one fatal mistake businesses make is that applicants to a position are not seen as customers. Remember, Marketing 101 says that anyone can be a potential customer, and just because this particular customer is applying for a role within your organisation makes them no less a customer than one who walks through your front door with an intention to buy. Anyone with even a modicum of marketing nous will say that a customer is anyone who comes into your business – which means applicants as well.

Branding is everywhere and how brands can spread is unprecedented. These days, with the reach of social media, a bad experience an applicant has with your business will become viral in a very quick time and something you would deem as innocuous has cost you some serious cash.

Then there is mere observation of your hitting the market with your job ad. Does the grammar and spelling show a company with clear checking processes and/or quality management? Does the wording used imply fun, serious, relaxed or a dictatorial atmosphere? Does the ad talk more about the company, and less about the role, or vice versa? Does it mention the culture, the environment, and plans it has for growth? All this create a picture, a view and directly influence perception and branding. Because let’s be honest here, candidates are not the only ones who will be reading this. The impression the ad makes will go beyond the candidate market. The wording, quality and tone of the ad will go to company perception, and that is one thing that can’t be taken lightly.

Does hiring affect branding? Absolutely. It is the wise businesses that realise this, approaching the market with their eyes wide open, fully aware of the importance of getting their role-to-market strategy spot on.