Published by Inge Geerdens, on 24/09/2013
I have a confession to make: I am no genius in recruiting for my own company. Sure, I am an expert, being the owner of 2 small companies that have been active in the recruitment sector for over 15 years. And yet when it comes to recruiting, I always make the same mistake: I hire someone I like.
I know most of the rules of the game; I have talked to hundreds of recruitment managers and candidates; I advise and help other entrepreneurs with their recruitment process. And despite all this experience and knowledge and learning, I regularly fail when hiring for myself.
The reason is simple: I keep hiring people I like. It doesn’t matter if they are under- or overqualified for the job. When I talk to a candidate and feel a click, I immediately start thinking about adapting the position to their capabilities and experience. Because it certainly has to pay off to have this nice, intelligent person in our team, right? And who cares that they either lack skills or are overqualified, we’ll find a way to work around it, right? Eh, maybe we can adapt the company structure just a tiny bit, just to make them fit better.
When writing it like this, I know it sounds like a recipe for disaster. And it often is. Not always. At times it has worked tremendously, leaving me with a great asset to my company. But way, way more often it fails completely. Either you begin to notice after a while that you actually expect more of your new employee or would like him/her to learn faster; or he/she soon feels overqualified. And in the end we both lose, even though it may take a while before we notice.
Every time this happens, I decide to change the way I hire. I decide to focus and keep looking for the profile that we need and that fits perfectly in our current organization. But as soon as we start interviewing people, my staff and I – yes, it’s not just me – start talking about why we should absolutely make an exception. Just this one time, for this one candidate.
Recruitment is tough. In my experience you can never predict with a hundred percent certainty if someone will succeed. But one way to increase the odds is by staying as close as possible to the goals and ambitions of your company. Once again I promise myself that next time I recruit, I’ll be brutally honest about the profile I am looking for. This way I can avoid heartache on both sides and maybe increase the odds in my/our favor.
Do you have a recurrent mistake you make when looking for a job/employee?
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