Hiring of Maintenance Management Personnel – Top 10 Mistakes

by Lori Davila and Louise Kursmark
Posted 11/22/2004

Top Ten Hiring Mistakes
Whether your company is large or small, whether you’re hiring an entry-level employee or a top executive, any one of the following mistakes can result in a hiring disaster for your organization. Recent Kennedy Information audio conference speaker Lori Davila and her co-author Louise Kursmark offer 10 key points for reviewing your organization’s hiring procedures and making adjustments where needed.

1. Not Knowing What You Are Looking For

If you’re like most hiring managers, you haven’t thought out the specific skills, behaviors, characteristics, motivators, and competencies that will indicate that person will be a top performer in your open position. If you don’t have a job description, work with others who are familiar with the position to develop one that is accurate.

2. Inadequate Interview Preparation

Most hiring managers give little thought to the interview. Executive search firm TD Madison and Associates cites a recent survey of hiring managers that revealed that more than 70 percent of all managers spend less than 5 minutes preparing for interviews.

3. Poor Selection of Interview Questions

Questions should be well prepared in advance and should be developed to reveal a candidate’s technical skills, knowledge, behaviors, like, dislikes and key motivators. It’s not enough to know whether a candidate can do the job. It’s equally important to know whether the person will fit your organization and whether the candidate will be motivated to do the job.

4. Hiring Too Quickly

If your primary business responsibilities do not include hiring, you might be tempted to fill openings too quickly so that you can do your real job. This can make you susceptible to candidates who interview well but lack the critical skills needed to perform the job successfully.

5. No Awareness of the Halo Effect

The halo effect occurs when you like a candidate because you find that you have something in common with that person. Perhaps she is from your hometown, he attended the same college as you, or the two of you share a common interest. Hiring is a lot like dating. Love at first sight can be blinding.

6. Hiring People Just Like You

Most people tend to choose candidates whose style and viewpoints are similar to their own. Many managers believe the key to hiring the best person for the job is to go with their gut and trust their intuition. Don’t let a good first impression unjustifiably influence you.

7. Raising Standards Unrealistically

Some managers are using the large volume of candidates as an opportunity to set unnecessarily high standards for open positions. This approach leads to hiring people who are overqualified for the position and unchallenged by it, a definite setup for future problems.

8. Using Only One Interviewer

The decision to fill a position is too important to have it hinge on one person’s contact with the candidate. Exposure to another interviewer could very well reveal aspects of the candidate that you might not have seen yourself.

9. Not Checking References Thoroughly

If you are being held accountable for your hiring decisions, you need to do your own reference checks. It is a good idea to talk to others who know the candidate in addition to references provided. With the candidate’s permission, try former employers, recognizing the limits of such sources. Look for consistency between the interview and the reference.

10. No Interviewing Process in Place

Are you using a highly subjective approach to making your hiring decision rather than a well thought out, structured and proven hiring process? The key to an interview’s effectiveness is the method with which it is prepared and delivered. Give this top priority and you can dramatically improve the performance levels of your organization – as can using all 10 of these recommendations.

[Excerpted from How to Choose the Right Person for the Right Job Every Time by Lori Davila and Louise Kursmark (McGraw-Hill 2005].

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