I am often contacted by decision makers going through a recruitment crisis, trying to manage the fall out from miss-hiring. How can this happen, I hear you ask?

The answer is simple. Often, the recruitment process is triggered by an unexpected departure, or rapid growth. Hiring managers jump straight into recruitment feet first, and often end up miss-hiring the first candidate they believe to tick the boxes and match the job description… without stopping to consider whether that job description was right in the first place!

The results of miss-hiring are significant.

Recruiting has personal and financial costs that we often don’t think about.  Hiring the wrong candidate can impact future hiring decisions in the following ways:

  • If the hiring manager is not clear about what they need, this leads to a lengthy interview process that continues until the ‘right person’ turns up. That person might be a good match to the hiring manager and possess a skill set, but are they a good match for the job that needs doing, the team and wider organisation?
  • The hiring manager loses confidence in their ability to make the right decision so adds unnecessary steps to the process, procrastinates and often loses great talent along the way.
  • The company earns itself a dodgy reputation, putting off potential talent.
  • Existing staff become overstretched due to their increased workload, damaging their health and knocking their motivation levels.
  • The career  and confidence of the new recruit who joined in good faith is potentially ruined.

How can managers avoid recruitment mistakes?

­CASE STUDY: How Google recruits for success

Google is one of the World’s largest companies, and they take recruiting seriously. An interview with Liane Hornsey (Google’s VP Operations 2006 to 2014) revealed that her main aim was to make it “a place where people want to be”. Liane had a leadership lightbulb moment, when she realised that the key to successful management is believing the phrase “my success is linked to the success of my people”.

How does Google ensure recruitment success?

  • Hiring through consensus. Not relying only on whether a candidate is a good match with the hiring manager, but getting the opinion of their future colleagues, managers and peers. Allowing them 360° decisions around every hire.
  • Consider each and every hire as the most important people decision they are ever going to make. By doing this, Google is fiercely protecting their environment and ensuring that they don’t dilute their unique culture.
  • Developing a cultural balance. While Google is informal in their dress and the way their employees act in the workplace, they remain formal and rigorous when it comes to data and thought. Allowing their employees to be comfortable and work at their highest level.
  • Encouraging staff mobility. Google encourages its employees to rotate roles and experience other positions, as well as bringing cross-functional teams together for specific projects. This allows employees to build skills and talents outside their areas of expertise.
  • Measure employees with positives. Google doesn’t track their staff’s sick days or holidays. They measure staff performance on output, not hours put in!

When asked why Google is such a great employer, the answer is “the people”. And that comes down to hiring. The company only employs candidates who will add to the workplace culture, and who want to work on shared goals, products and things. Of course, there are perks involved with working for one of the World’s largest companies (free food, soft areas, flexi-hours etc).

Google’s overall objective is simple: to make it “a place where people want to be”. And as Liane Hornsey says in the interview, “that doesn’t happen by accident, it does happen by design”.

What can we learn from Google’s approach to recruitment?

Google recognise that their organisation is unique, and so are their employees. Yet each and every individual is chosen by design in order to create a special environment and culture. The key ingredient here is that Google’s hiring managers and leadership team know themselves. They are clear on their common values, and collaborate in order to make fully considered 360° decisions on every hire.

Establishing exactly what gaps need to be filled is also important when recruiting. What does your ideal candidate look like (not just on paper or in the mirror)? How do they speak, what motivates them, how do they work best, what are their language patterns?

This is where the LAB Profile (used in behavioural profiling) becomes an invaluable tool. Not only in interviewing and interpreting the answers of potential candidates, but also in discovering more about yourself (or your recruitment managers and leaders). What do you want to be? What are you? Are these things coming across when you hire? The LAB Profile allows us to give a language to the unconscious triggers we all have that make us do (or not do) things at work.

Next time you’re recruiting, remember that filling the role is not the most important thing. It’s far more efficient to take your time, get your processes in place and establish exactly what you’re looking for first rather than miss-hiring. That way, you’ll know the right candidate when you see them!