Last month I wrote about the Top 5 Pitfalls That Are Killing Your Job Search. Continuing the “Top 5” theme, this month I wanted to shift the focus to a problem we’ve seen a lot of over the years with various companies.
With that in mind, here are the Top 5 Mistakes That Can Hinder a Company’s Search for a New Leader:
1. A poorly conceived job description.
It’s hard enough to recruit people as it is. If you don’t fully understand, or can’t articulate, what it is you’re looking for, that will severely hinder the process. When starting the process, make sure you take the time to write down VERY specifically what you need this person to do. Write down the hard skills first and then consider the soft skills that are necessary to successfully navigate your company’s culture. “Fit” is paramount and unless you do a good job identifying it on the front end, you will very likely pay for it on the back end.
2. The hiring committee isn’t aligned with what they’re looking for in the ideal candidate.
I often hear the following from candidates after an interview: “I heard different messages from the senior management team on what they were looking for.” I’ve lost many well-qualified candidates who keenly recognized the hiring entity isn’t in alignment. As I discussed above, a well-executed job description can help resolve this issue. I would also suggest that hiring committee members speak in advance of the interview day to find common ground. At a minimum, the committee members should at least find common ground on the top 3-5 “MUST HAVES.”
3. You’re not the only game in town. You need to SELL candidates on the opportunity.
Keep in mind, when using a 3rd party recruiter like me, we’re calling passive candidates and actually recruiting them to join your organization. So often I hear from candidates… “I’m really not looking and I’m happy where I am.” It’s my job, and yours as the hiring manager, to convince candidates that it’s in their best interest to learn more about the opportunity before quickly discounting it. Also, keep in mind that your company and culture may not be all that unique and different…despite your desire for it to be. It’s called “recruiting” for a reason. It’s not just hiring someone. Think of it as fishing vs. catching… sometimes you don’t catch any fish!
4. Help people feel good about your hiring process.
It’s the old adage… “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Maybe you send the candidates you really liked a thank you note or call them personally to set up the next interview. I’ve had some clients send a gift basket to the spouse when the offer is accepted or have a gift basket sitting on the bed in the hotel room when the candidate comes to interview. There are countless ways to do this that are affordable and don’t take much time. Those little things often go a long way in making a lasting and positive impression.
5. Don’t offer your top choice candidate LESS than they’re currently making.
Making a good, solid offer is where we, as 3rd party recruiters, come in handy. It’s our job to know your compensation range and then find candidates who fit that range. We provide good information around compensation so you’re well prepared when it comes time to make the offer. Making an offer below market or below what the candidate is currently making sends the wrong message and can damage the relationship before it even gets started. It’s good practice, and frankly, just smart business, to make people feel good about their decision. Even if you have to pay a little more to get the right candidate, it will likely pay off in the long term.
These mistakes are unfortunately all too common among companies looking to fill leadership positions. By paying close attention to the items above, you’ll greatly increase the chances of finding the right person for the role and for your organization. If you have other mistakes you’ve seen that you’d like to add, please share them in the Comments below. We’d love to hear from you!