It's happened again! Another employer has been stung by ineffective hiring processes. Recently, a news report relayed the story of a social service agency Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who hired a new employee with what appeared to be "impeccable" credentials, only to find out they had been fired from their previous job. The CEO's response to this unfortunate situation was to create some sort of policing mechanism that would flag individuals who have been terminated from a previous employer. While this suggestion might sound ideal, it is entirely impractical.
Instead, hiring the right person for your organization begins with implementing an effective recruitment and selection process. This includes clearly defining the selection criteria, creating checklists with which to benchmark candidate resumes, conducting face-to-face interviews and checking references. As well, an effective process includes some sort of psychometric assessment. These strategies are outlined in detail below.
Detailed resume review
First of all, pay very close attention to the resume. Many hiring managers only take a 30 second glance and if the resume looks good, they will call the individual in for an interview. Take your time. Look for inconsistencies, look for patterns. Look for the length of tenure at various jobs. Does this match the pattern in your industry? Are there any glaring and/or even subtle time omissions? In other words, is all of the work life being accounted for? Be sure to ask questions about any issues in your interview.
Use behavioural interviewing
This technique allows you to develop specific questions that are directly related to each job competency. This method demands a candidate provide real examples of their work that shows they have 'been there, done that". If a candidate is hiding something such as being terminated from their previous employment, this can often be identified in the interview process because they will be asked about their "most recent" challenge, accomplishment, etc. This allows you to probe further.
If they are "covering up" some past indiscretion, their body language will give them away. Pay attention to signals such as eye movement, tone of voice, and pacing of the answer. A candidate who is lying will struggle to respond and their body language will become protective. This creates a subtle sense of "disconnect" in the eyes of the interview. When this happens, pay attention as there is always something amiss.
Conduct thorough reference checks
Ask your candidates for references that can comment on each of their competencies. This includes an immediate former boss, a colleague and/or someone who reported to the individual if they were a manager. When you are speaking to the references, don't just ask about job duties. Ask the same behavioural questions to confirm the candidate's answers. Ask the reference if they would hire the individual in their firm again.
Apply a work style assessment
One of the key tools to conducting an effective recruitment process is to apply a psychometric assessment with the finalist candidates. Today, there are a wide variety of assessment tools that can specifically address the potential to lie, steal or have problems with drugs and alcohol. At the management level, there are comprehensive assessment tools that identify leadership and communication style. These are inexpensive tools and should be used on a regular basis. They will help to identify additional red flags and will help to ensure the successful candidate fits into your corporate culture.
Experiencing what could be called a "wrongful" hire can be devastating to the both the hiring manager and the organization. It is a time consuming and costly mistake for all concerned. If this has happened to you, then it is time to conduct an audit of your processes and to put new safeguards in place.