There are a couple of hiring myths that are constantly floating around the talent acquisition watercooler – we’re here to debunk them. 

Talent acquisition as a practice is evolving, and the many traditional methods often used for candidate review, hiring processes and recruiting team structure are changing in the wake of new technological advancements and company cultures. 

Altering the tested practices of an established recruiting team can be difficult, maybe even overwhelming, to think about. But remember, people are resistant to change, not to ideas. 

Seth Godin, respected entrepreneur and thought leader, provides great advice on remembering how to approach those resistant to change: 

Some people hate change. 

They don’t hate you. 

If you get confused about that, it’s going to be difficult to make (needed, positive, important) change in the future.” – Seth Godin 

Once you’re ready to dig your teeth into altering some traditional practices that might be holding your recruiting team back, you’re ready for change. 

As new trends in talent acquisition emerge, there are a couple of dusty old assumptions you’ll need to kick to the curb.

Myth 1: External hires are always better than internal hires. 

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Recruiters tend to think that external hires are better than internal promotions, as an outsider often brings a fresh set of eyes, and a new perspective to a problem or project. 

This is true, and can be the right course of action if you’re in a situation where a project or initiative is stagnant. If you’re simply looking to grow or bring more hands on deck, it might not be the best course of action: 

This study from Wharton Business School shows external hires are less profitable. They are paid 18 to 20 percent more than internal employees doing the same job; receive lower performance appraisals scores; and were 61 percent more likely to be fired.” – Wharton 

In some cases, you might want to stop automatically looking outside your organization to fill a more senior role. 

Instead… 

  1. Take a fresh look at performance reviews for any internal employees that you think may be good for the position. These often indicate other skill sets, ambitions and past activities that may not be apparent in his or her current job description. 

  2. Compare the compensation packages of potential internal promotions versus the compensation package you expect to offer to an external employee. If there’s a significant difference, focus on your internal talent first. 

  3. Make a point to promote the role internally. If any internal candidates are interested, you’re bringing the role directly to their attention, and giving them an opportunity to raise their hand. 

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If you do end up choosing to hire externally, running to your traditional outlets might not be the best choice. 

Myth 2: Job boards and career sites are the best way to attract new talent. 

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Job boards and company career sites will certainly attract resumes, but there’s often a lot to weed through in the hopes of finding the perfect candidate – and time is a luxury for those in talent acquisition. 

According to CareerXRoads, job boards are six percent less effective than referrals: 

The 2013 CareerXRoads study shows employee referrals hiring accounting for 24.5 percent of new hires, compared to 18.1 percent from job boards in 2012. It was 28 percent to 20.1 percent in favor of referrals in 2011 and 27.5 percent to 24.9 percent in favor of new hires.” – CareerXRoads 

While referrals are quickly rising through the ranks as the most preferred source for candidates, there are other options to choose from in order to open up roles to candidates. 

Instead… 

  1. Lean on social recruiting to personally invite desirable candidates to your role. If you’re not doing this already, it might be time to jump on the bandwagon. According to CareerArc, the use of social media for recruitment has grown 54% in the past five years. 

  2. Scope out the competition’s talent. If you’ve had your eye on another top performer in the industry for an open role, reach out to them. Even if they’re not interested, they might know another great candidate who might be. 

  3. Consider sending the job to search with a third-party agency. They have a wider candidate pool to tap into, and they’ll do the dirty work of weeding through all those resumes for you. 

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Once you receive your stack of applications, consider re-thinking traditional methods often used to trim down the pile. 

Myth 3: If a candidate doesn’t have related work experience, they’re a waste of time. 

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It’s common to want to find someone with a related career path or relevant industry experience to fill an open role. Those who don’t have the right bullets on their resume often get thrown into the trash. 

Robert, LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, told Business Daily News how he thinks about work experience in candidates: 

“Employers should be hiring based on identifying the transferrable skills possessed by candidates that match the skills required for success in the position. [These] include attributes like critical thinking, time management, effective communication, interpersonal relations, leadership, etc. 

Your goal should be to attract as many candidates as possible that are interested in your company regardless of major or work experience.” – Robert LaBombard 

You might not have to dump those resumes that seem outlandish at first glance, right in the trash. 

Instead… 

  1. Look for any activities or opportunities a candidate has taken to boost their resume for a career move. Have they done any certifications, volunteer hours or community leadership work that might make them a good fit for your role? 

  2. Consider their enthusiasm for your organization. If they’re really looking to work for you, that’s valuable. Stay open to those candidates that are really interested in your company, despite their imperfect work experience. 

  3. Offer them opportunities to test for the skills that might be missing from their resume. An English major right out of college might be applying for a web development position. In this situation, it might be beneficial to test his skills before turning him away. 

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Once you get your group of promising candidate in the door for interviews, don’t just lean on your questions. 

Myth 4: Good interview questions will reduce your hiring errors. 

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Don’t forget that it’s easy for hiring managers to think good questions are infallible. It’s good to remind them that the most important skill to bring to an interview is the ability to adjust or pivot, based on the flow of the conversation. 

Professionals without a lot of interview experience tend to stick to an interview structure provided by talent acquisition – often put into place to support inexperienced interviewers. The problem is that it’s not the best way to really get to know a candidate. 

Instead…  

  1. Tell them to keep their interviews as conversational as possible. More than likely, a candidate will answer many of their most important questions throughout the conversation, even if they’re not sticking to the script. Instead, they should take their chance to get to know them. 

  2. Don’t let them forget to let the candidate interview them. While they might be tempted to take up most of the interview time filling out a questionnaire, listening to and answering the questions a candidate has for them is a much better way to get to know him or her, and assess for culture fit. 

  3. Tell them to remember that the interview isn’t the ‘end all be all.’ Sometimes unqualified candidates have really good interview skills. They should consider the whole package – references, skills tests and work samples – before you extend your offer. 

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When you do find the perfect candidate, don’t just lean on your compensation and benefits package to entice them when you make your offer. 

Myth 5: Negotiations about compensation and benefits will make or break a candidate’s decision. 

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The best candidates are probably entertaining more than one job offer. In order to attract the best of the talent pool, recruiters often rely on their compensation and benefits packages to keep candidates engaged. 

While compensation and benefits are a huge part of the decision-making process on the part of candidates, there are other things that matter. 

Instead… 

  1. Focus on keeping the discussion about your package as clear as you can – if there is confusion about your offer, you’re candidate could walk away for another. 

  2. Discuss opportunities for advancement and growth, in depth. If you’re not able to make a better offer than a competitor, opportunities for quick advancement might sway them in your direction. 

  3. If you feel confident doing so, leverage your company culture. If they truly are the perfect fit for your team, they’ll be happier in your organization than a competitors. Let them know! 

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The most important thing to remember during the hiring process is that you should keep an open mind, and look at the whole picture when assessing a candidate. 

These five hiring myths come out of the need for talent acquisition professionals to look for ways to weed out the bad candidates quickly. With just a few adjustments, you can still save time while keeping those candidates that are best fit for your open role towards the top of your application pile. 

June 16th, 2016|

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