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Avoid These Hiring Mistakes

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Linda Descano, CFA, President and CEO, Women & Co., and Managing Director and Head of Content and Social, North America Marketing at Citi shares advice from hiring managers on finding the best employees.

Published in: Career, Business, Technology
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Avoid These Hiring Mistakes

  1. Hiring Mistakes Top managers reveal the one hiring mistake they've learned to avoid.
  2. Taking a gamble on a candidate with lack of relevant experience. Unless it is an entry level role, this is a risk. My experience shows it translates into longer learning curves and more pressure on team mates that need to pick up the incremental work. Martha Tschantz, Head of 360 Marketing Strategy, Citi
  3. One mistake people make is taking a job because they really like the person they’ll be working for. Unfortunately, managers change, and as such, its important to better understand the culture of the organization you’ll be joining. Before accepting an offer, ask to meet with some of the people you’ll be working with and or key stakeholders. That will give you a better understanding of the broader ecosystem you’ll become a part of. Ana Duarte McCarthy, Chief Diversity Officer, Citi
  4. Moving too quickly. It can be tempting when short a person to jump at the first candidate who seems like they might work. But the cost of a mismatch is so high that you should assess a wide variety of candidates and see who can really contribute to the team and organization today and in the future, and also who is a good cultural fit for your team. Geoffrey Sanders, SVP, Digital Marketing, Citi
  5. Planning for the hire is most important. First, it's about doing the hard work of defining the role. It takes great discipline, but it's best to describe therole in writing. Second, share the role with hand-selectedpeople whose judgment you trust and who can imagine the role and its dependencies on other roles in the company. Discuss the job description with them and leverage their point of view in completing a full picture of the role and the skills and talents required for success. Next, involve these selected people in the process and be willing to ask questions and listen objectively. You may often become attached to the notion of hiring a candidate but then discover that others do not see the candidate in the same way. Ask questions and listen. In the end, it is always an uncertain decision. Know that, but do your best to separate the emotion from the facts and points of view of others. Jim Schinella, CEO, Manilla
  6. I would say the one mistake I see is managers choosing someone simply because they clicked in the interview and ignoring other important facts like whether the person truly has the qualifications for the role. Being a great conversationalist and fitting in with the rest of the team is important, but you want to make sure the individual has the skills and knowledge that match the position. Anna Mitchell, Relationship Manager, HR Professional Services
  7. Hire for the future - yours and theirs - and not for the present. We all have short-term pressures and tasks that need to be completed but hire someone who you can easily see making solid contributions to your organization years down the line. Unless the position requires a very specialized expertise, a hire should be capable of contributing to the org in many different ways including taking over for you at some point. And, just to be clear, that does not mean that you hire with a sameness; always hire a person as part of a team who compliments others' skills while ideally bringing something new to the table. Mary Gail Pezzimenti, Content Strategist, Federated Media
  8. A mistake I made early in my career was hiring candidates who had the same skills that I had. I have seen and have fallen into the trap of selecting candidates who have the same training, background and expertise. A homogeneous organization is not good for business. As I’ve hired more candidates with diverse skills that are different from my own, I’ve learned that the variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and skills are invaluable for problem solving. I love being challenged by different perspectives and my colleagues and team push me to think beyond my comfort zone. I value such different approaches greatly. Alexandra Tyler, Vice President, Head of Digital Marketing & Sales Development, TIAA-CREF
  9. There’s a temptation to pick the candidate who is most like you - someone who matches your style, personality or disposition. But I think it’s a mistake to fill your organization with people who are all the same. Of course, you want each new hire to fit into your culture, but try to choose people with different backgrounds, interests and personalities. The best candidate is someone who complements and brings something new to the existing team. Your organization will be richer for it. Liz Kaplow, Owner, Kaplow
  10. The biggest mistake I see happen in hiring is when there is not a good fit between the candidate's values and passions and the culture of the organization. In a tough job environment what ends up happening is that employees don't quit when this happens, but they do disengage. This leads to significant loss in productivity, creativity and well-being. Henna Inam, Executive Coach, Speaker and Consultant with focus on Women's Leadership
  11. One mistake I see is hiring people that are too much like ourselves. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to hire people who think differently than I do, and push me out of my comfort zone. It can lead to somewhat tense discussions at times, but I’ve found that it helps ensure we are taking a broader view, limits our blind spots, and often leads us to better outcomes. Diane Thomas, Managing Director, Head of Decision Mgnt and Insights; Chief Marketing Office, Citi
  12. It’s human nature to gravitate towards people who are very much like us and hiring falls victim to that, too. However, there is tremendous value in diversity of experiences and backgrounds. Of course, candidates must be qualified for the role (which you can assess through behavioral and situational questions) but when deciding between numerous qualified candidates look for an individual who complements other team members and has diverse experiences. Leigh Jacobson, Director of Digital Marketing, Citi
  13. Poor expectation setting during the hiring process. Strong recruiting is a two-way process. Hiring managers need to articulate everything that the role entails not just focus on the glamorous aspects. Additionally, new hire candidates need to be upfront about what they bring to the table and what they expect from the job in return. Hiring, training and development require a ton of time and resources, so setting clear expectations upfront will help ensure a great fit but also a worthwhile investment for both parties. Rebecca Foy, Business Lead, Facebook
  14. Many applicants respond to interview questions with a theoretical response rather than one based on their own behavior in a situation. Most interviewers accept these theoretical answers because the applicant looks great on paper, is charming, or generally persuasive in other ways. Continue to push for the behavior-based answer. If they can’t give one, they may not have the experience to do the job. Jenni Luke, CEO, Step Up Women's Network
  15. Join the conversation! Connect: Professional Women’s Network, Powered by Citi, is an online community on LinkedIn that helps women achieve the careers they want and discuss the issues relevant to their success. For more great insights from Connect members, check out the discussion: Hiring Mistakes Visit linkedin.com/womenconnect for more information and to join the group for free!

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