The Six Common Selection Errors

Feb 26 2014

One of the sad outcomes of my consulting work is that I’ve seen, again and again, how companies make the same mistakes in selecting employees. There are a few common errors made by a majority of companies. Here are the top six selection errors that you need to avoid.

 1. Subjectivity over objectivity

Using your gut to find great talent is fine as long as you gather facts (objective information) to confirm your gut feelings. A Harvard study revealed that the use of interviews only as a means for selection were successful 14% of the time. I bet you have experienced a quick hiring decision based on gut feeling that resulted in poor performance or poor chemistry for the organization.

2.      Making hasty decisions

There are tendencies, in over 63% of selection interviews, to make the hiring decisions in the first four minutes of the interview. Don’t do this. It takes 90 minutes of a patterned or structured interview to get to real behavior. Many professional recruiters suggest that you not form any judgments in the first 30 minutes. If you do, you are in danger of missing out on potentially good candidates who do not interview well, or worse, hiring a poor fit because of the candidate’s ability to interview well.

3. Accountability for selection errors

An even worse selection error is made when managers don’t view selection as an important job responsibility. This occurs often in companies that do not train their managers in this critical leadership task.

4. Lack of good information on candidates

At BusinessWise, we have learned that interviewing alone is ineffective. The best selection processes include many tools like checking references, performing sample job tasks and conducting a second interview. Reference checks are often not performed and when they are, companies usually only verify information like employment dates. Most resumes are marketing tools—they often exaggerate accomplishments. In my experience, many times recommendations are positive because the person doing the recommending is hoping to move an underperforming employee out.

5. Untrained management

Make this error and it will lead to an organization that perpetuates degradation of talent. In other words, if someone is a 10/10, he or she will hire at best 9/10. The 9/10 will at best hire an 8/10. Over time, this erodes the depth of talent. Strong talents (10/10) will not remain in an organization when they are hired by 5/10 managers. People do not leave jobs—they leave unskilled and poor leadership.

6. The wrong people are doing the hiring

In large organizations, you often find the wrong people are selecting new hires. Human resources sends the line manager poor talent. The manager and his team can’t get the job done because the unit’s not fully staffed or capably staffed and the manager doesn’t have the time to interview and train. This catch-22 thrives when team leaders don’t regard employee selection of talent as their responsibility. The talent problem gets compounded when HR departments cut back in difficult times.

 To receive an overview of a selection process the works please email and request “Selection Overview”. 

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