The Biggest Hiring Mistake HR Managers Make

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Recruitment mistakes in Nigeria
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The mistake human resource managers don’t realise they make

Hiring the right candidates is not an easy task. As a matter of fact, when you hire a wrong candidate, you risk paying dearly with the company’s resources, time, reputation and morale of other employees.

To help you avoid this mistake, I will share my experience on this. This will ensure that your hiring process ends with the right candidates in the right roles as you work towards achieving your short term and long term goals and objectives.

Recruitment mistakes in Nigeria (1)
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How it begins

A lot of mistakes are born out of wrong job briefs prepared by the hiring companies. In such cases, HR Managers have no clarity on what exact skills their ideal candidate should possess. So they give the recruiting companies half-baked requests while expecting to get exceptional candidates.They then later call in to complain about how they are disappointed with the candidates sent to them for interviews.

As expected, I go back to the drawing board to find out where the problem stemmed from. In my experience as a recruitment sales operation analyst, I discover that more than 90% of the CVs applicants sent to the hiring company matched the job description provided by the organisation.

Recruitment mistakes in Nigeria (2)
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Discovering the mistake

HR professionals/managers sometimes fail to provide the full requirement for a job position and this is as a result of one or more of the following factors below:

  • Lack of recruiting experience
  • Failure to consult professionals on basic requirements
  • Focusing too heavily on job description/requirements
Candidate profiling
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An example of poor candidate profiling

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about… Temi calls a recruitment agency to hire an accountant  to replace Michael, who recently submitted his resignation letter. Temi sends in the job description and tells her account manager that so long as the candidate knows how to use the PeeachTree software he/she should be shortlisted and CVs sent in.

After three days, the recruitment agency sends 7 top CVs from the pool of job applicants or from the database and all the shortlisted candidates are very good in using the software. Temi then proceeds to choose five of the selected CVs and arranges to interview  the candidates.

Five days later; after Temi has interviewed the candidates, she calls the recruitment agency to express her disappointment that the candidates (whom she selected) were below average and did not meet her expectations. She adds that this is the reason she hasn’t hired any of them.

The mistake Temi made right from the start was that she did not give a complete profile of her ideal candidate, which would have included qualities like; good with numbers, have the ability to give strict attention to details, must be able to prepare reports (ability to exceptionally use the Microsoft Software Packages as well) among others.

Most interview panels comprise of the HR Manager and Heads of Department the successful candidates will work with when they are offered employment and there’s always a conflict between what’s on CV, what is actually required and the qualities of the candidate being interviewed.

Recruitment mistakes in Nigeria
Image source: realbusiness.co.uk

The way forward

So, how do you avoid making this grave mistake as a HR Manager in your company? The following pointers may help;

  • Be thorough with the job description: To avoid such disappointments with candidates or getting the wrong candidates on board, you should include all that is needed in the job description and not just a bit of it yet. At the same time, do not expect to get a candidate that fits 100% within your desired profile. Rather, make a clear distinction between the must-haves in a candidate and the added advantages. This way, you will always make the critical qualities priority.
  • Consult people with experience: Consult employees and unit heads of concerned departments to provide the appropriate job description relevant to the company. What some hiring managers have failed to realise that industries evolve over time and they may not be aware of the additional skills needed to match these changes.
  • Documentation is essential: Carry out constant job analysis of all distinct roles in the company and keep a document that you can always refer to when needed and always update the document.
  • Talent counts: Always look out for talent and not just employees or the right candidates. Qualities (both innate and learned/acquired) stand out in candidates during the interviews. You might be too engrossed with the CV to notice hidden talents that might be relevant to the organisation.
  • Use a credible recruitment agency: You should also get the right recruitment agency to get you the right candidates. Successful recruitment goes beyond just placing the job adverts on job boards. It requires more! A good recruitment firm will always ask questions (the right questions) concerning the type of candidates you want and work with you throughout the process.

When hiring, leave no stone unturned, avoid disappointments, be very clear about the candidates you want; must he/she know how to play chess (which depicts or improves strategy instincts)? Include everything in the job description and step out of the circle of employers who repeatedly commit this error.

What other mistake do employers make when recruiting?

Samod Biobaku
A Nigeria-based writer and blogger who has written and edited for top brands including The SUN, Punch, Newswatch, Pulse.ng, Bigsam Media, Nigerian Bulletin, Swish Interativ, Hello Nigeria, National LIFE, iCampus, Jobberman and Cheki.

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