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How to get better at hiring

Neel J Shah
December 19, 2022

Thanks to Alanis Morissette, we’re all aware that anything can go wrong in life. Rain on your wedding day. A free ride when you’ve already paid. Or the good recruitment advice that you just didn’t take. To avoid some of these pitfalls, we’ve put together 10 hiring strategies and some nibbles of food for thought to help you make better hiring decisions.

  1. Experience alone is not enough

Experience can be invaluable, but experience alone is not enough. A candidate may have clocked up 10 years on their CV, but what have they delivered in that time? Taking a long hard look at a person’s journey, and what their peers say about them, may give you a better indication of their value to your organisation.

  1. Character matters

‘Character is destiny’, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus taught us. Working with people who are fundamentally decent is good for staff morale, and may help your company live up to its mission statement. Someone can be a genius coder, UI designer or astronaut, but if they’re a cranky, miserable person with questionable opinions, talent quickly goes out the window. Someone who’s a 10 out of 10 on paper can quickly turn into a zero if their values don’t align with your organisation.

  1. Embrace the outsider

Having extolled the importance of character, it’s also important to embrace people who think differently. Having an office entirely composed of nice people who agree with everything all the time could quickly descend into a safe snoozefest of ‘yes men’ and women. If your organisation is looking to go through a period of transformation, having assertive personalities who might be dubbed ‘challengers’ could shake things up and help you reach your goals.

  1. Define diversity

Are you and the hiring team on the same page when it comes to defining what diversity means to you? ‘Culture fit’ can have an air of exclusivity, and if a recruiter believes a candidate wouldn’t fit in, does the ‘fault’ lie with the candidate or the organisation? It’s important that you and your hiring team agree on the behaviours and metrics you’re referring to when you establish your company culture and approach to inclusion.

  1. Look beyond booksmarts

Are grades really the barometer of whether someone will prove capable in a job? If your candidate selection criteria is purely based on who’s got a degree from Hogwarts, you’re potentially going to miss out on a whole bunch of talented folks (and wizards) who took a non-conventional path through formal education. While academic achievements are of course invaluable, other factors like interview performance and aptitude could give you a better measure of a candidate’s suitability for a role.

  1. Look for potential, not just pedigree

In the rush to hire someone who can ‘hit the ground running’, it can be easy to forget that on-the-job training can fill any gaps in a new hire’s skillset. Sometimes it can prove beneficial to think about a candidate’s ceiling, rather than going for the person with less potential who happens to be proficient in Microsoft Paint. In the words of Ella Fitzgerald, “It isn’t where you came from; it’s where you’re going that counts”.

  1. Age is just a number

We’ve covered the importance of potential over pedigree, but that should never mean overlooking an experienced candidate solely due to their age. Ageism is a sad reality in corners of the recruitment world, partly due to a perception that older candidates will be less capable at using technology. But by embracing age diversity, you can create a genuinely inclusive workplace; introduce certain soft skills based on a candidate’s wealth of experience; and even benefit from a lower staff turnover, as mature workers will often be more settled in their work and life situation.

  1. Empower your gatekeepers

Getting recruitment wrong is a major cost headache for any organisation, so it’s important to have quality control mechanisms in place. You may want to have a dedicated hiring panel who focus solely on recruitment, so that hiring decisions aren’t made by directors who are rushed off their feet. Equally, it’s not always advisable to ‘hire by committee’, as a tendency towards groupthink could dissuade you from gambling on the outlier candidate who turns out to be a star. At the end of the day, recruitment involves risk, so you just need to play the percentages and do everything in your power to make evidence-based decisions rather than a rushed, impulsive punt.

  1. Don’t expect utter devotion

Some job descriptions can make the fatal assumption that every candidate is desperate to work for you, and must demonstrate ‘passion’ for the company. While it’s of course important to have engaged candidates who show a level of interest in the role they’re applying for, it’s unrealistic to expect that individual to have your brand logo as their living room wallpaper. We’re all trying to earn enough bitcoin to put bread on the table, so it’s vital to see the process through the candidate’s eyes. In doing so, you may be able to genuinely connect as people and form a rewarding professional relationship. 

  1. Technology is your friend

Manual ways of doing recruitment are fast going the way of the dodo, and by introducing automated processes into the way you hire, you could remove human error and fast-track your company’s path to better hiring decisions. That said, technology alone is no substitute for human relations, and collaboration tools like Intrro are about the interplay between technology and the way we work and interact with our peers. Try Intrro for free and see for yourself!


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