You can bring down your multi-billion dollar business with one, bad hiring effort. Your CFO can entangle you into scandals you will be fighting all the way through bankruptcy. You don’t even want to think about what a bad CEO can do. Léo Apotheker Almost brought the mighty HP down in a few months.
Some of it is down to the fact that we don’t have reliable crystal balls that allow us to see accurately into the future. The other part is down to HP failing to do their due diligence after letting go of Mark Hurd. Apotheker made a disastrous $11B purchase of Autonomy from which HP never fully recovered.
HP rushed the process and ended up missing a lot of signs that Apotheker was wrong for the job. Better research would have allowed their legal team to do deeper research and necessary record retrieval that would have provided clearer insight into the person they were placing in the top spot. This is an especially critical step when hiring from the outside.
This is not only true for multi-billion dollar companies looking to rapidly replace a CEO. Record retrieval is a critical part of law firms and corporations. When you do a background check on your employees and need more information regarding a criminal indicator, you will employ a form of record retrieval.
If you have to defend yourself in court, your attorneys will rely on fast and accurate record retrieval. Your research begins with records that are often difficult to find. The right record retrieval service is a critical component to making good hiring decisions at any level. Hiring is the toughest and most fraught part of running a business. Here are some things you can do to increase your chances of doing it well:
Do Thorough Assessments
If you are doing technical recruiting, you have to find a way to do thorough technical assessments. Resumes are almost useless because candidates know that for certain positions, there is a lot of on-the-job training. They might not actually have the necessary experience and skills to do the job well and a background check, alone, is not sufficient to get to the truth.
When it comes to technical jobs, there are often straightforward ways of testing a person’s competence. Be sure to take those measures seriously. It is shocking how many companies desperate for coders have hired people with only rudimentary coding skills. Test thoroughly before filling these positions.
Not all jobs are as amenable to easy evaluation. But that just means your HR department needs to be even more creative when it comes to doing candidate assessments. If your company has a practice of hiring based on gut instinct, that will get you into trouble more times than not. The same is true by hiring based solely on how a candidate looks on paper. To be sure you have someone who can actually do the job you need, include a practical component in the evaluation process.
Look Past the Superficial
Do the jobs in your company most often go to the people who look like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? If so, you are doing it wrong. You are paying too much attention to superficial qualities. This is a hard habit to break because as humans, we are largely driven by our preferences and prejudices. We all have them and we cannot escape them. But we can and must overcome them, especially when it comes to hiring.
You should never dismiss a candidate because they don’t have the best or most expensive suit. The person with the best suit might be a person of privilege who never had to work hard for anything. While the person with the off-the-rack suit might have spent their last nickel to show up for the interview. They might be the person who knows the value of hard work and is willing to do what it takes to succeed.
The same is true for the person who shows up a little disheveled with a light sheen of sweat. Perhaps their car broke down, the bus was late, and they had to walk three miles in business shoes. They moved heaven and hell to get there. And they will continue to move heaven and hell to push your company to greater heights of success.
Before moving on, be sure to give people with disabilities a fair hearing. They might be legally blind, functionally deaf, or mobility impaired. This is often the best worker you will ever have because they know what it is to overcome 6 impossible hurdles every morning before breakfast. Candidates who fail the superficial test might not look like Pitt and Jolie. But they will show up on time everyday and work harder than the break room full of pampered trust fund brats you are currently trying to replace.
Favor the Bold
They say that fortune favors the bold. Be the fortune and favor the bold. When all else is equal between two candidates, favor the one who wants it more, is hungrier, and sells themselves better. In a sales job, the first sale you need to make is yourself to the company. You have to convince them that you are the right person for the job. You have to find a way to rise above all the other people saying the same thing. This quality is important for any job at any level.
The right candidate is never the one who is easily intimidated in an interview. You want workers who are entirely self-possessed and know who they are. You want workers with goals and ambition. You want someone who risks saying the wrong thing rather than the one too afraid to speak up for themselves.
At the end of the day, there is no magic bullet when it comes to hiring the perfect candidate. In point of fact, there is no such thing as the perfect candidate. But you can do a much better job hiring when you do all available due diligence, offer thorough assessments, learn to see past the superficial, and favor the bold.