5 Common Sense Changes to How Your Company Hires

It’s been said that common sense isn’t all that common. I was recently reminded of this in a disturbing way.

The people who run Tampa International Airport have installed an innovative device in their bathrooms. It’s called The Pouch. I could immediately see its usefulness. Putting a backpack, briefcase, or other small carryon in this device will keep it clean and dry.

I noticed a sticker affixed to The Pouch. It pictured a baby with the universal “don’t do this” symbol on it. Seriously? People need to be told not to put a baby in there? Does this mean someone actually tried it? Yikes! While this an extreme example, it once again showed me that people don’t always make decisions rooted in common sense.

Common sense is often lacking in many areas of life and work. One is hiring. I frequently observe organizations engaging in hiring practices that defy common sense. Does this mean that hiring managers or recruiters who engage in these methods are bad people? Maybe even dumb? No. Of course not.

The issue is that habits often interfere with our innate instincts … the very instincts that are at the core of common sense decision-making. We get so used to doing something a certain way, we don’t see that there’s an alternative. Frequently, it takes someone pointing out that there’s a better way. Here are five of these common sense ideas.

Common Sense Change #1Recruit ahead instead of react to an open job

Change is inevitable, including that people will change jobs. Your best employees could leave today, tomorrow, or next week. No matter how loyal you believe them to be. Given the immediate, negative impacts of an open job, it no longer makes sense to wait until a job opens to fill it. You must line up talent before you need it.

Common Sense Change #2: Make hiring decisions based upon facts instead of feelings

Most people understand that feelings aren’t facts. Yet, they allow their gut feelings, such as liking someone, to dictate who they hire. Sure, liking a candidate is a good thing. But likeability isn’t proof that someone fits a job. Common sense selection requires having a list of clear criteria that help you pick the right people regardless of what your feelings are telling you.

Common Sense Change #3: Rely on multiple streams of talent instead of a singular trusted resource

Ask people if one resource, such as a job board or referrals, can be relied upon to fill every open job every single time. Most will acknowledge it’s dangerous to put all of your eggs in that one basket. However, watch many of these same people in action, and you’ll observe contradictory behavior. They rely on that one resource to the exclusion of everything else. Here’s habit in action, trumping common sense. Filling jobs quickly with high-quality talent requires tapping into more than just one or two talent streams.

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Common Sense Change #4: Have candidates show instead of tell

Conventional job interviews are an inaccurate way of determining fit. Why? Both the jobseeker and hiring manager are putting their best selves forward. This gives each party a narrow view of reality. It should be no surprise that many hires fail, given that a decision was made based upon limited information. The common sense way to interview is to seek proof of fit. Having candidates show you they can do the job allows you to experience them in action, while they get to try on the job for size.

Common Sense Change #5: Change one thing at a time instead of everything at once

How many times have you tried to change many things all at once? I’m betting that didn’t turn out well. Fast change doesn’t stick. It takes time to adjust your routines and change your hiring habits. A rapid series of changes will overwhelm you. When your sense of being overwhelmed reaches a tipping point, you’ll give up and revert back to your previous routine. Better to change one thing at a time and have it stick, than rush the process and have to start all over again.

Access to your common sense is immediately available any time you need it. You just have to get out of your own way. The beauty is the inherent simplicity that comes with it. Common sense hiring solutions are the easiest to employ, once you realize the only thing standing in their way is you.

 

Paine image from bigstock

As president of the Wintrip Consulting Group, Scott Wintrip has helped thousands of companies improve their ability to hire talent on demand. He helped these organizations to grow faster, increase revenues, improve profitability, and expand market share. In the process of advising, educating, and coaching his clients, he has created more than $1.3 billion in positive economic impact for them. An astute strategist, he is respected for his strong leadership and practical advice. He is also the author of High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant (McGraw-Hill, April 2017). You can learn more about him and his services at WintripConsultingGroup.com.

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5 Comments on “5 Common Sense Changes to How Your Company Hires

  1. Thanks, Scott. These are very sensible, rarely implemented, and if they were widely implemented would put many recruiters and most recruiting consultants out of work

    1. Keith, thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately common sense isn’t always common. And, recruiters can more vital the more frequently they recruit ahead instead of behind.

      1. You’re very welcome, Scott.
        “…recruiters can more vital the more frequently they recruit ahead instead of behind.”
        Very true, and I would like to do that, but (Scott and Beth) the companies that hire my colleagues and me don’t seem to have enough money/bandwidth/forethought for it, just as they don’t have enough of those to keep us around doing useful recruiting-related activities (like creating, implementing, and maintaining talent communities/pipelines, improving/streamlining hiring processes, etc.) when the recruiting fire hose is done gushing so hard..

  2. Awesome tips! I am an evangelist of all of these, but particularly #1. Make connections! Potential candidates are people, too. It’ll be much easier and quicker to reach out when an opportunity arises later. I’d also like to add that unusual interviews (see: http://bit.ly/2udRRey) are a great way to get the candidate to ‘show’ the ‘facts’ of their true personality and how they’ll mesh with the company. Thanks for sharing this and starting the conversation!

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