Depending on your personality (and HR bandwidth at the time), the recruiting and hiring process may be an exciting project to grow your team — or a draining endeavor of resume reading, interviewing, appraising and repeating ad nauseum.
Either way, the risks are real. Hire someone who’s overqualified for a position or otherwise an ill fit for your company’s culture and they might soon leave you back at step one. Nearly half of all new hires fail to make it 18 months. On the other hand, hire someone who’s under qualified, and you might be wishing they leave.
Bad hires have the potential to degrade workplace morale, negatively affect the productivity of others, drain resources, hurt your organization’s reputation, cost you revenue, and more. With more organizations shifting to a dispersed or partially dispersed workplace with more positions operating remotely, the hiring process is only going to become harder as the lack of face-to-face interactions may limit your ability to evaluate candidates in person.
With the unemployment rate hovering around 7 percent, you might be tempted to think that hiring should be easier now. However, it’s just the opposite, especially if your open position is a remote one, meaning the potential pool of applicants isn’t reined in by geography. As a result, you could easily be overwhelmed with too many applicants. What’s more, other employers from far away may be competing for the same talent if they’re also hiring for remote positions.
Consequently, good recruiting and hiring practices are critical now. Here are six tips to help you identify the right person to join your team — or, at least, to minimize the risk of a bad hire.
1. Write very specific job descriptions.
At the recruitment stage, you’re likely to post a description of the open position on your company’s website, via LinkedIn, through job posting sites like , or on more industry-specific forums and bulletin boards.
This is the time to remember: a generic job posting is going to yield generic results. Be specific. Most job posters think in terms of the job title, say “Brand Strategist,” and then extrapolate the requirements and responsibilities from there. This is a good starting point, but roles and their related tasks are often very unique within a company. Each organization has specific hats they may ask that role-player to wear on any given day, and therefore that job description should be workshopped around.
Ask adjacent employees — the team members who will be working most closely with this new hire — how they understand this role and what they value in the person who fulfills it. Similarly, as a matter of habit, a good exit interview question asks a departing employee how well they believe their position lined up with the original job description. Both sources will likely offer a number of insightful edits.
A common refrain of employees who quit shortly after being hired is, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Sadly, much of the time they’re right, and there’s a poor job description to blame.
2. Get the whole group on video chat.
A person’s resume or LinkedIn bio may claim they are a “dynamic collaborator” or “adept at working in diverse teams,” but until you see them in action, how can you know for sure? One way to get some validation is by holding a group video chat with a candidate and current employees.
While you might not want to employ this strategy during an initial interview — your team members surely have their regular work to do and you might not want too many opinions too early on — it’s a good idea for deeper in the hiring process to see how personalities mesh.