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Seven Big Hiring Mistakes Employers Make

Seven Big Hiring Mistakes Employers Make

Selecting a new employee is one of the most important decisions that a manager has to make – yet it is often approached in a casual manner. If you are recruiting someone for your team then be sure to avoid these common errors:

1. No clear job description.

What are the essential duties of the position? What are the essential skills and experiences that the candidate must have? Write these down first and then add any valuable extras. Some managers simply have a vague wish list for the ideal candidate – that is not going to make selection easier. Review the job description with other people, most importantly, your boss but also with a colleague or subordinate – as a sanity check. Do this before briefing an agency or placing an advert.

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2. A fixed idea of what the ideal candidate will look like.

Anyone who has the right skills, experience, qualifications and attitude should be seriously considered regardless of their age, gender or coloring. Some managers have an image of, for example, a “dynamic young salesman” in their mind and disregard people who do not fit the mold. They miss good candidates, recruit poor candidates and leave themselves open to lawsuits based on age, sex or racial discrimination.

3. Choosing the most likable candidate rather than the best.

We have an inbuilt bias to prefer people who are like us and people that we like. Just because you get on well with someone during an interview does not mean that they will be good at the job. There is evidence that we make up our minds about someone in the first 10 seconds based on appearance and initial impression. This means that we can easily be fooled by someone of smart appearance and pleasing ways.

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4. Choosing someone who will “fit in.”

This is often given as a criteria for selecting or rejecting candidates but it is a very poor yardstick. If you follow this approach you will end up with a team who look the same, act the same and think the same. It is better to recruit a diverse group with different skills and outlooks. Do not reject someone just because they are unusual and will challenge the rest of the team.

5. Not preparing for the interview.

You should carefully read the resumes of the shortlisted candidates and determine in advance questions to ask them. Do not just ask standard questions that they can easily rehearse such as “Why do you want this job?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Any competent candidate will have ready their stock answers. You should tailor your questions to their backgrounds and to the requirements of the job. Ask them about shady areas on their resumes or about how they would handle a hypothetical problem in the job. Test their skills, opinions and decision making with well-prepared questions.

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6. Not giving the candidate an opportunity.

Do not stop the interview after your questions. Encourage them to ask some questions and see what sort of initiative they show.

7. Not checking

Do not assume that everything on the resume is true. Check their claims of achievements and qualifications. Take up the references and phone previous employers if possible to talk to them confidentially. Any falsehood in the application is reason to reject the candidate – no matter how good their appearances.

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Try to be objective in ranking the different candidates and then compare your notes with those of any other interviewers. Select the person who is best for the job and best for the company. Take your time and make the right decision. If you are unsure you can always call back candidates for a second interview or something different such as a presentation. The people you choose today become the organization of tomorrow – so choose wisely.

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Paul Sloane

Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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Published on March 25, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up. You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out.

But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

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Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

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Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

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Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

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Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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