Expert Commentary

How To Avoid Blind Spots When Hiring

You can't afford to make a hiring decision that creates financial headaches and turnover. As a business leader, your energy and focus is running the business and developing new revenue streams. You need to be able to identify, hire, and retain top talent to ensure your company continues to grow.


Employee Hiring, Development, and Retention
May 2018

If you do not have a process to make the best hiring decisions using objective measurements, then blind spots could mislead you into hiring the wrong candidate. If your company has experienced turnover with new hires, consider these blind spots that may be affecting your business and learn how to hire the best fit for your next opening.

Why Do Blind Spots Creep into the Hiring Process?

Many businesses do not have a process for making hiring decisions. Too often, business leaders rely on a gut feeling, a recommendation from a friend or colleague, or a few interactions with a candidate. These blind spots can lead to mistakes when hiring (see "Common Blind Spots When Hiring").

You might even rationalize these blind spots by saying that you do not have time to follow a formal hiring process. There could be a tight window to hire and train an individual, or your team may not be equipped to make a hiring decision. Unfortunately, this short-term view could negatively affect your organization in the long run.

Having a process ensures consistency throughout the hiring process. Whether you or someone else in the company interviews a candidate, the key is following the same guidelines to assess each candidate. However, if you and the rest of your team are not following the same process, then you are susceptible to making the wrong hire. There must be consistency and buy-in.

One solution is incentivizing the process. It could be a negative incentive that an interviewer will be evaluated based on retention rates or a positive incentive that bonuses will be awarded for making the right hire that matches an objective measurement. Without an incentive, you may find interviewers creating their own rationale for hiring an individual without following the process. Then, when it's time to hold an interviewer accountable for his or her decision, there is no measurement to make a proper evaluation.

Having a process helps eliminate self-interest from hiring decisions to create uniform decision-making.

Examples of Companies That Made the Wrong Hiring Decision

ZERORISK HR studied two companies that hired the wrong candidate.

Company one—A financial institution hired a compliance candidate who was referred by an employee. The company based this hire decision on the word of the employee that this person would be a good fit in the compliance department.

This company also completed an objective assessment during the hiring process, which revealed that the candidate's organization skills were very poor. Instead of using the objective assessment for the hiring decision, the company hired the candidate to the role. Within 6 months of being in the role, the company had 3 major compliance issues that were directly attributed to the individual.

Company two—An insurance broker was set to hire for the key role of an account manager. The company wanted the candidate to be responsive and build relationships with clients so they sought the most experienced and personable candidate. Within 30 minutes of interviewing a particular candidate, the manager decided this person was absolutely the right fit because of how personable the candidate was.

This company also completed an objective measurement of the candidate, but they went against the assessment and hired this individual. Unfortunately, within the first year of hiring the new account manager, the insurance broker lost the firm's largest client. The employee was rude and unresponsive to the client, not matching the "personable" personality in the job interview.

This company did not follow the assessment and did not collect evidence of how the individual would work in a stressful environment handling major clients. Their decision backfired.

How These Companies Could Have Avoided Blind Spots When Hiring

Both the financial institution and the insurance broker could have avoided these blind spots when hiring the candidates by using the data from the assessment and conducting a proper behavioral interview. The assessment revealed red flags with each candidate, and a behavioral interview would have unlocked past behavior as an indicator of similar actions in the new company.

The financial institution could have avoided the blind spot by asking specific questions about the candidate's previous behavior to determine whether the person was organized. They would have discovered very little evidence of the candidate being organized in previous work settings, making the person unfit for the role.

The insurance broker should have asked behavioral interview questions focused on customer interaction. This would have revealed whether the candidate had a history of quality and successful interactions with clients in a similar context. They also should have checked references to reveal more about the character of the candidate. However, the broker did not conduct a reference check.

Another significant issue was that they only had one person conduct the interview with the candidate. This made the insurance broker especially susceptible to blind spots by leaving the hiring decision up to one person's subjective opinion.

The solution in both examples is establishing a hiring process, ensuring total buy-in within your organization using the objective measurements to properly assess each candidate, and then following the assessment to make a hiring decision. One example is the ZERORISK Hiring System, which will provide your company with an objective evaluation of each candidate, plus provide valuable interview tools for your company to conduct a behavioral interview.


Opinions expressed in Expert Commentary articles are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the author's employer or IRMI. Expert Commentary articles and other IRMI Online content do not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinion. If such advice is needed, consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser.

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