The first months of the year are busy for hiring managers. With new budgets and plans for the year, recruiting efforts shift into high gear. As leaders focus on combating the demand for skilled talent, they can’t forget it’s also essential to find and hire the best people, onboard them as quickly as possible, and help them hit the ground running. There’s no room for error in the hiring process in Canada. Errors, however, can still occur. Even the best organizations with well-intentioned leaders aren’t immune from hiring mistakes. And when they happen, the impact is severe and long-lasting. Hiring mistakes are extremely costly in terms of time, money, reputation and morale. There are many online resources that have been written on the types of hiring pitfalls that can occur and how to avoid them. What is not discussed as often, however, is mindset, which is even more important. The right mindset sets the stage for an efficient hiring process in Canada. The wrong one creates a perfect storm in which second thoughts, mistakes and damaging impressions are allowed to snowball. The fear of missing out is causing too many good leaders and organizations to fall into this perfect storm scenario. It’s high time we put it in the rearview mirror and reshaped our hiring mindset. Let Robert Half Canada explain.
FOMO is all around us and we encounter it with most decisions. Whether we’re looking for a new sweater, a home or our latest hire, human nature encourages us to “shop around” to make sure we’re getting the very best option that fits every requirement at the very best price. If we’re just patient enough to look around or wait a bit, we believe, the perfect option will present itself. In hiring, FOMO often presents itself at a very inopportune time. For instance, leaders may have interviewed one or two highly skilled candidates who meet most of the listed job requirements. Hesitant to make the wrong decision or be too hasty, FOMO causes these leaders to suddenly pump the breaks and reach out to their recruiters to say one or more of the following: The candidates we’ve met are solid. But we don’t have a big enough pool for comparison. We need to see more to make sure we’re not missing anyone. We really want a candidate who has a bit more experience or a degree from one of our preferred universities or colleges. Many firms are continuing to lay off. We should see more good people come on the market soon and would prefer to wait. We think we should hold off until we get a perfect match on our job description. In the meantime, we’ll spread the work out amongst the team or hire contract staff.
There’s a moment of relief once you’ve put a decision on hold — because you’ve postponed your fear of making a mistake. But that relief is very short lived. Putting yourself in the shoes of the leader who interviewed two good candidates, here’s the sequence of events that often follows: You put the two candidates on hold, noting that the search is ongoing. Either or both may have been highly interested in the job and felt an offer was likely. But now they see their interest isn’t reciprocal. So, they continue looking for other roles elsewhere. Existing staff take on overflow work from the vacancy and may train a contractor to help. Weeks go by and the right resume hasn’t materialized. There are fewer people on the market than you thought, and no one matches the skills of the first two. You determine you had the best applicants at the start after all. When you reach out to resume the process or extend an offer, both decline, because they accepted another role or decided to stay in their current job. What they might not share is that they also felt let down and disrespected by the process. Hiring for the position begins again from scratch. One of your existing team, feeling burned out and underappreciated, gives notice to take a job elsewhere. Another on your team goes on medical leave unexpectedly. And the contractor is leaving to take a full-time job. Your fear of missing out has created the exact scenario you were trying to avoid in the first place: You actually missed out on the best people for the job. You lost valuable time while the seat was vacant. Not only is the role still open, but you now need to figure out how the work will get done with two more employees and a contractor on your team also departing. The hit to internal morale will take time to rebuild, as will service levels and trust for those you depend on your team. The candidates you originally set aside may always feel negatively about their experience, and your business and brand’s reputation takes the hit. Talk about a perfect storm — it’s hard to start solving problems when there are so many created by this single action of delaying the original decision. You can see how this scenario can become very damaging very quickly. With the right tools, however, you can change this mindset and set yourself up for a more positive hiring process.
Get organized *before* you post the opening. Craft a realistic job description, get all stakeholders to commit to the process and their role within it, and set a timeline. Firms that drag out the process won’t be able to hire because good candidates won’t wait for them. The speed at which people enter and depart the job market is fast. Don’t lose good people because you’re disorganized or can’t make a decision. Keep people accountable. Your stakeholders have agreed to the process, now everyone needs to stick to it. This means minimizing reschedules of interviews or delays in submitting candidate feedback. It also means keeping candidates in the loop and erring on the side of overcommunication with them. Have backups who are deputized to act if a stakeholder is unavailable. Be comfortable with the 70-80% rule. Candidates who fit 70-80% of the job description are well-positioned for success. They have the skills to hit the ground running, and learning the new parts of the role will keep them engaged and motivated. The perfect candidate — the one who matches 100% of your job description — likely doesn’t exist in this market. If they do, chances are high they’re currently employed, not looking to move, and are earning a significant salary. Talk about what’s holding you back. If something about a candidate’s background concerns you, ask about it. Raise the topic in the interview. Ask their references. And if you’re working with an outside recruiter, bring it up to get their input. Gathering more intel will help determine if your concern is truly a red flag or something that can be addressed. Consume news and data with the correct perspective. Layoffs tend to grab headlines, particularly when they involve a single organization cutting thousands of roles. But if you see a story that a firm cut 4,000 staff, this doesn’t mean there are now 4,000 senior accountants on the market (or financial analysts, accounting managers or whatever role you’re trying to staff). It’s a very broad mix of people. The very small number who fit your job description are being chased by multiple employers. And while these headlines may dominate the news and give the sense that the sky is falling, other points deserve your consideration like unemployment rates in the country continuing to hover low. The demand for skilled talent and candidates mean counteroffers are a norm in this market; managers will do whatever they can to keep good employees from leaving for other firms. Keep an always-on mindset. Recruiting talent is tougher when you turn the process on and off like a switch multiple times a year. Don’t recruit only when you have an open role. Make an ongoing commitment to it. Keep close ties with outside recruiters who keep a daily pulse on market conditions and have a network of passive candidates (people who aren’t actively looking but open to hearing about jobs that are a fit). Speak at industry and college events to keep you and your organization visible. Post updates and content frequently on LinkedIn or other social channels to build your network. You never know when or where you might encounter a great hire for your team. There’s no magic formula or single path to figuring out the best hiring process in Canada. Organizations and roles are far too different for one system to work for all. However, letting go of fear and the pursuit of “perfect” can go a long way in creating a better hiring experience for everyone involved. By improving your process and mentality around hiring, you can streamline the function and position your organization for greater success with every hire you make. Ready to hire? Let Robert Half help you find the talent