Hiring is an integral part of any business. Laying a solid human foundation will define the success (or failure) of your venture. That's why it's so important to get it right the first time. Of course, perfection is virtually impossible, but you can get close. But chances are, with your current system, you're not getting close enough.
Here are five of the most common hiring mistakes. The bad news is, you're probably making them. The good news is, you can definitely fix them.
Don't overdo it online
Using Web-based tools to reach prospective hires is essentially a must-do, but there is a saturation point. Remember that expanding your reach online will expand your application yield, so make sure that more actually is better for your business. Do you have the resources to manage that influx of applications? Are your existing online recruitment services sufficient for your needs?
Veteran About.com job search and career expert Alison Doyle says: "If you're a company who's getting more than enough applicants through your company website, then you may want to have a presence on social media—a Twitter page, a Facebook page, a Google+ page, a LinkedIn company page—but you may not need to do any more than that, given the applicant pool out there is so large."
Don't skimp on networking
There is no more trustworthy recruiting tool out there than your own judgment, or that of a friend. Avoid getting buried under a pile of applications by steering clear of job boards and other crapshoot general hiring resources. Instead, build in time to grow your network and reconnect with industry insiders who have the dish on who to hire.
David Shedd, blogger and author of B2B: Winning Leadership For Your Business-to-Business Company, says: "By most measures, 70 percent of all managerial jobs are filled by networking. If you are not out and about (at least one time a month) networking and meeting people in your geographic area and industry, then you are relying on others to find the right people. Networking broadens your perspective, enabling you to see the talent that is out there. You will also get to know more people who can refer you to other good talent."
Don't hire with your gut
It's a trap that ensnares managers everywhere, but it's risky and potentially costly for your company. Have a data-driven approach to hiring—prioritize past performance and tangible skills over charisma and a good personality match. It's a safeguard against choosing an underqualified candidate who will drain time, money, and productivity.
Geoff Smart, ghSMART CEO and author of Who: The Hiring Method, says: "Generally, don't hire with your gut feel. Most people hire with their gut—they just decide if they like someone or not and then they hire them. That's the most common way hiring happens in the world and it doesn't work, it leads to about a 50 percent hiring failure rate—that's based on about half a century worth of data on it."
Don't defer on top-level hires
The ideal situation is to have hiring professional who specialize in your company's different sectors. For example, if you have a tech systems division that needs a leader, an HR employee who is well-versed in that position's duties—not just what they are, but what they actually mean—significantly streamlines the vetting process. Getting more specific, sooner save times and money. Still, not all businesses, especially small ones, have the resources.
Mayank Chandra, head of executive search firm Antal International Network, writes in the Wall Street Journal: "The next best solution is to involve the department manager, who is, after all, best-suited to understand the job requirements and thus find the ideal person."