Marketing Eye

A few mistakes we make when hiring people

We often find ourself short staffed as our company is growing at a fast pace. We feel as though we are constantly in catch up mode, yet somehow we deliver for our clients and continue to produce work of a high standard.

Behind the scenes it's a different matter. There is pressure and a constant reminder of the fact that there are so many things that still need to be done.

I am a strong believer in culture and finding the right fit when it comes to hiring employees. I handed over the reigns a long time ago to staff so that they can pick their own colleagues and it works mostly, but doesn't when they too find pressure in finding a person fast. They miss the small steps that always tend to be the most important out of the mix.

We are currently building processes around this, but it had me thinking... what are the 5 key mistakes we make when hiring people?

  • To be honest, I can be anyone you want me to be. I am intelligent and I can read people. It's no different to women walking up to a celebrity and saying that they don't know who they are, yet they definitely do. I have done it a hundred times before, and they always fall for it. Seriously, unless you live under a rock - of course you know who these people are. But when you are in a job interview, you can read the person interviewing you and make sure you hit all the high notes of what they are looking for. After all, they most probably put it in the job advertisement.
  • Not doing proper reference checks. I am tired of people giving dodgy reference checks. The reference check every person should give is the boss of their previous job, but they never do. They give a line manager who most probably were a drinking buddy or at the very least a friend. Of course they are going to say great things about you. That's a no brainer. Good or bad, your reference should be your boss. A smart recruiter or company, would know that of course there would be things that didn't work out and that is why you left or were fired. Those same things may not be relevant to your new role and therefore anyone with half a brain who is asking the questions would realize that. The second thing to remember is that I have never given a bad reference, even from people that were appalling at their jobs. Instead, I focus on what is good about them and what value they can add to the next employer. They may not have been the right person working for me, but that doesn't mean that their next job won't turn them into a superstar. Only nasty people say bad things - it's as simple as that. A person with a sound mind would not say nasty things about a previous employee. They would focus on good and give feedback on ways the next employer can get the most out of that person.
  • Believing in bullshit. We all have done this. Sat in an interview and heard that a person is so amazing that you would crazy not to employ them. But your gut instinct says that they are too good to be true, and chances are, they are too good to be true.
  • Test your future employee for there skills. Too often we hire people and have no way of checking their skills, particularly in marketing. If you don't find ways to test their skills you will constantly find out when it's too late and it will cost you money. Stupid, stupid mistake!!!
  • Hire slow, fire fast. Simple. Every business book tells you to do it and we still don't. Once again, dumb mistake!

Culture is everything. Celebrating successes, good times, birthdays, and important occasions and milestones is imperative to building morale in a company. We are pretty good at that but it took some time for us to stop, smell the roses and realise the importance of celebrating.

Your people are everything. I once named Julia Ross's company, "Human Directions" before she put Ross in front of it. I named it that as one of the countries most prominent recruiters, because it is the human direction of a company that determines whether you are successful or not. As an entrepreneur or employer, you must remember that every single day.

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