In 2006, the University of South Wales in Australia ran a behavioral studies test on the impact of “bad apples” on group productivity. The setup was simple: give a group a project to complete while simultaneously having a person in the group act out negative traits that would hinder or slow down the project’s completion. If the team was excited, the person complained. If the team was energetic, he acted lethargic.

The impact was profound. For every group affected, the group was 30-40 percent less productive.

It’s no surprise that bad team members can bring a group down. But how do we avoid bringing them into the group altogether? Not all bad hires are obvious, and many of their qualities aren’t particularly bad in and of themselves.

The problem lies in the hiring process. Human resources departments are rapidly ramping up their digital programs to identify and attract new talent but aren’t dedicating the same amount of effort to build a thorough screening process. As a result, teams are finding themselves in a state of cultural chaos.

Common Hiring Pitfalls

Here are several common missteps companies make during the hiring process:

  1.    Lack of transparency between decision makers

Hiring decisions are rarely made by a single person. But they can quickly feel like it if departments don’t share new candidates they find or provide interview feedback for review. A lack of communication between departments and key players in the hiring process also breeds distrust and conflict. Not a good start for the new hire or the company.

  1.    Unclear expectations from both parties

People want different things from their work. A candidate’s motivation can range from money to mentorship and everything in between. Companies need to identify what they do and don’t offer and understand what that means for their culture.

  1.    Inconsistent hiring methods

An undefined hiring process is a surefire way to hire a bad culture fit. A hiring process without a standard series of checks means there’s no benchmark for what makes a candidate good or bad. Think of it like completing a project: if there are no KPIs, there’s no way to measure the success of the project, even if it’s eventually “complete.”

RELATED: Is Your Company Culture Repelling Job Seekers?

  1.    Rushed hiring process

In an article for Society Human Resource Management, LinkHumans CEO Jörgen Sundberg tallied the cost of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding a new employee to roughly $240,000. Companies in a rush to meet client or market demands might resort to hiring the first technical fit that comes along, but the search for a quick fix has long-term consequences.

  1.    Unprepared interviewers

There’s only one thing more uncomfortable than a candidate isn’t prepared: an interviewer who doesn’t know why they’re there. Interviewers who don’t know what they’re looking for in a candidate, or who are ill-prepared to examine a candidate’s qualifications both as a technical and culture fit, can significantly hurt their company by turning away good candidates or accepting bad ones.

In Conclusion

There are no soul mates when it comes to hiring, only great fits. But the hiring process, like dating, is where a company determines if it's meant to be. Companies aggressively spend their budget attracting candidates but are all too often passive about vetting a candidate after the fact. Creating an effective hiring strategy doesn't have to be a nightmare, but it does require a critical analysis of current practices. 

Learn more about how technology is making it easier to develop best hiring practices with the free ebook, How Technologies and Methodologies Are Reshaping HR.

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