If you hire enough people, you are going to make a mistake from time to time.
Maybe you busted your budget to woo a top performer away from another company only to find yourself six months later wondering what you ever saw in that person. You spend a few thousand dollars having a chat with your employment attorney, and you miss dinner every night for weeks because you were legally advised to document everything.
But eventually you push your hiring mistake out the door, and you make a solemn vow that you will never put yourself through that kind of ugliness again.
So how do you prevent future hiring mistakes? Here are two key pieces of advice.
Don’t latch onto assessment tools
After committing a hiring mistake, you might go looking for a book, a webinar, a test, or a silver bullet — anything that will guarantee that you never hire another cultural misfit ever again.
But the silver bullet to your hiring problem is rarely found in a book or a test. Hiring is a messy, imperfect, all-too-human endeavor. The factors that lead people to be wildly successful in one place may lead them to abject failure in another. Jobs change, people change, and market forces shift. And hoping that some method of pre- employment assessment will solve all your problems often just makes things worse, because you have turned over your responsibility to a test.
Some organizations have enjoyed wonderful results from assessment tools, but it’s a bad idea to latch onto them as a panacea when you are feeling vulnerable. Life is not as simple as having a headache and taking an aspirin, or having a hiring problem and introducing a test. Maybe that headache was an indication that you should drink more water? Maybe your hiring problem is a situational problem and if you just looked through the right lens, it would indicate that you need to make some process improvements.
Focus on specifics in your job interviews
A good way to incorporate cultural fit into your interview process is to define your parameters and expectations for cultural fit, and then put them into the context of the business impact you want the person to achieve.
By focusing on the results you want, and asking questions that get at how the person achieved these results in their previous role, you will gain insight into how a new hire might adapt to your company culture. Far too many interviews review and accept at face value the results someone claimed to achieve at their prior company. Far too few delve into the specifics, and there’s real gold in the specifics.