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Five hiring mistakes to avoid in a post-pandemic market

For most businesses post-pandemic, recruitment is a formidable challenge. But there is the prolonged and eminently hard-to-avoid cost of an empty seat. A poor hire or no hire, every business is suffering. Companies are doing their best to align recruitment practices to the market. Offers within 24 hours, paid vacations, sign-on bonuses, flexible work, bring your whole self and/or the dog to work, anything to get talent in the door. But it is not enough; hiring mistakes still avail.

Here are five major mistakes to avoid:

  1. Recruiting to old job requirements
    We have abandoned antiquated work practices and dinosauric ideologies, but what of outdated job requirements? Conduct a job and skills audit to map criteria to the current business needs. Hiring based on job descriptions out of sync with reality guarantees disengagement, performance issues and the potential for staff turnover. You may also inadvertently miss talent right under your nose!
  2. Offering too much
    Offering a high salary to secure your candidate? Commercially, it is about closing the deal, especially in times of limited resources. It is clever business practice, except when it comes to human capital. A tempting high salary may be accepted without due consideration of the cultural fit. Earning and deserving what we receive is a vital workplace anchor, instilling pride, confidence and mutual benefit. Otherwise, we might set incorrect parameters and boundaries.
  3. Ignoring the signs
    It is often experienced on the subconscious level. You might sense something is not quite right; being late for the interview, vague answers to your interview questions, or difficulty attaining references, educational transcripts etc. At a different time, these may have been important signs. But today, we tend to be more forgiving. Or perhaps we refer to it as a compromise. Compromise is the advice I give to my own clients; however, there must be a balance. Do not lose sight of the values and attributes essential for your business.
  4. Check your bias
    Biases are the shortcuts to our perceived reality. They control our actions and behaviour more than we want to admit. While biases are not easy to change, they can be understood and neutralised with rational and updated beliefs. Open your view to older and younger candidates, graduates, job shares, part-time, remote, and regional workers. On the other hand, desperately hoping the candidate you are about to meet will be your workforce saviour may stop you from seeing the accurate picture.
  5. Poor onboarding
    This is especially witnessed in our new flexible and remote working world. Great onboarding improves employee retention by 82 per cent. Not surprisingly, 88 per cent of organisations do not onboard well. Fast turnaround with contracts, keeping in regular contact before the start date, orientation on the first day, ease of access to information and people, and any training and upskilling required for the job should all be well organised. It is an investment in your new hire and what is your essential business asset.

In your endeavour to hire, keep close to your existing team. They do not need to be actively seeking other opportunities; head hunters will come to them. As for resignations, no matter how disappointing, ensure your employees have a great experience when leaving. Continue to align adroitly with the changing market by building the boomerang employee into your recruitment strategy. Research shows 43 per cent of people who quit their jobs during the pandemic admit they were better off in their old job, and nearly 20 per cent have already returned to the job they left.

While the skills shortage is challenging and costly, it offers an opportunity to nurture better the team we have, creating a stronger working culture. For our greatest business asset, human capital, this will be the point of difference and competitive advantage.

This story was first published on Inside Small Business and has been republished with permission.

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