A bad hire is bad news for employer, company and recruiter. If you’re interviewing candidates, watch out for these red flags — they could signal a bad hiring decision.
You placed a great candidate with a great company — or did you?
It turns out, that candidate wasn’t great after all. He shows up late, produces lackluster work and is the centerfold of office gossip within months of hire. It’s obvious the candidate was wearing a pretty convincing mask during the interview. This isn’t just bad news for the candidate. After all, this is someone whose abilities and potential you vouched for.
Even if your reputation does not suffer from this particular placement, poor hiring decisions are expensive mistakes to make. With a bad hire costing companies upwards of $50,000, according to a 2013 CareerBuilder study, it’s crucial for recruiters to master the art (and science) of identifying a bad hire early in the process. Better yet, save time and money by recognizing potential bad hires before ever meeting them in person.
Here are five ways recruiters can spot a bad hire before they’re hired and avoid a costly mistake: (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Look for red flags online
Social media can serve as a great candidate screening tool, as it enables recruiters to gain insight not just about a candidate’s professional skills, but also on their character — something you can’t paint a picture of based on an interview alone.
How much can social media tell you about a candidate? Enough that 69 percent of recruiters that screen via social media rejected applicants based on their profiles, according to a 2013 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
When checking out potential candidates on social media, keep an eye out for inappropriate content (photos, comments, swearing, etc.). Social media can also help you spot untrustworthy employees: those who bad-mouth their former employers, air out their workplace’s dirty laundry, and lie about their qualifications (cross-reference their resume and social profiles for that one).
2. Use video interviewing to screen candidates
The traditional phone screen only tells you so much about a candidate. Screening via video, on the other hand, shows you much more. Video interviews enable you to visually connect with and assess candidates. Both one-way and live video interviews create an opportunity to form a clearer first impression of candidates.
Rather than relying solely on tone of voice to evaluate candidates, video interviews allow you to pick up on facial expressions and body language that may impact decision-making. It also gives candidates a chance to showcase their personality and professionalism early in the hiring process.
Video interview recordings can also be sent to clients. By giving clients an opportunity to offer more feedback on potential candidates, bad hires can be easily avoided.
3. Ask the tough questions
No one likes to ask the tough questions. But when $50,000 is at stake, sometimes playing devil’s advocate is necessary. Follow candidates’ answers with “why?” to ensure you’re getting an honest, unrehearsed answer. The following questions can give you a better idea of a candidate’s potential during the screening process:
- Why do you want to work for this company? Candidates should have researched the company in advance. They should be able to explain why they want to work there, and ways they can be an asset.
- Why is there a gap in your work history? There may be a reasonable explanation for why a candidate was out of work for a period of time. It’s best to know, either way.
- What is one thing you would change about your last job? An answer that criticizes colleagues or employers is a red flag.
- What’s the worst thing a former employer or co-worker would say about you? A question like this forces candidates to be up-front and honest.
4. Perform candidate assessments
A candidate might be clean on social media, look and act the part, and have all the right answers, but is that enough to determine performance in the position? Not quite. With 55 percent of companies surveyed in Aberdeen Group’s 2014 assessments report linking pre-hire assessments to employee performance, it’s a good idea to incorporate assessment tests into your recruitment process.
To avoid a bad hire, consider conducting pre-employment tests. These tests can range from hard and soft skills tests to personality tests to the actual work the person in the role would be responsible for.
5. Actually speak with references
Finally, take full advantage of work references — not just the recommendations and endorsements you see on LinkedIn.
Check to see if any of the references are former managers or supervisors — they should be. Neglecting to include references from previous managers raises a huge red flag. Most importantly, reach out to the references via phone or email. There’s no better predictor of a candidate’s potential than the people who have previously worked with them.
What are some other ways recruiters can identify potential bad hires before the actual interview? Share your tips and tricks below.
Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Learn more about streamlining your hiring process and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.