I read recently an interesting article called “The Top 5 Career Regrets” which ranked, according to responses gathered from several dozen people, the 5 most regrettable wrong turns these people made in the road called “Career”. The article interested me a great deal because in a way I was comforted in knowing that I wasn’t the only one who had regrets about taking the left path instead of the right in life.
On that note I thought that flipping the article around and talking about the top 5 hiring/recruiting regrets that I have experienced would be as interesting. So here I go in no particular order.
Using job postings: Uggh, perhaps you have had success with them but I would say nearly 80% of the candidates who applied to my job postings were not qualified for the position. I have better luck scouring the resume databases and handpicking the qualified candidates I want to interview. Lazily sitting back and hoping A-listers would find my posting before it got kicked to the second page of job board search listings and drowned in a sea of irrelevance was regretful.
Expecting the hiring manager will actually hire: I’ve worked with many great hiring managers and HR professionals but in the beginning of my recruiting career I assumed way too much. See, I thought when the hiring manager brought us on that they would operate with a sense of urgency to fill their open positions. Silly me right? As weeks passed after presenting good candidates who eventually took other job offers I realized how important it is to manage not only the recruiting processes but also the hiring manager.
Not using Linkedin sooner: Linkedin, while originally developed as a means for subscribers to make connections with other professionals, quietly became the world’s best job board. Ninety-two percent of employers and recruiters now use Linkedin to source job candidates. I’m still scraping as much as I can from it for free so I’m sure next year, if I write this post again, I will mention, “Not using Linkedin’s premium service sooner.” For now though it is meeting my needs and I have successfully placed a candidate with it through very little effort on my part.
Not pushing for a more diverse workforce: The benefits of a diverse workforce are many but early in my recruiting career I saw many instances of covert and even overt discrimination. Evidently the hiring managers with whom we placed candidates gave less consideration to non-white candidates and so in the interest of time, whites are on whom we focused most of our searches. In hindsight pushing those candidates harder and encouraging hiring managers to open their eyes to the benefits of diversity would have been a more enlightened operating procedure.
Hiring friends: Job referrals can be a great way to source talent because theoretically you have an already dependable employee vouching for the candidate. Why would I hire a stranger when I can hire someone that Bob over in accounting says is a great, qualified guy? Generally this works well but not always, and especially not when you have a small workforce and all of them are best buds. It can foster an environment of covering each other’s back and not bringing problems to the forefront for fear of ratting out a chum. Camaraderie is well and good. I like to see employees getting along and not throwing each other under the bus. Occasions arise though when someone is not pulling their weight, and having a pack of friends frustratingly sweep their friend’s lack of competence under the carpet is not good for morale. In addition business trips often turn into overly expensive road trips of frivolity as traveling BFFs (Best Friends Forever) live it up on the company dime.
Those are my biggest hiring regrets. Fortunately I’ve learned from my mistakes. So how about you? What hiring mistakes have you regretted?