The 7 Steps To Avoid Making Bad Hires - Herd Digital

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The 7 Steps To Avoid Making Bad Hires

how to avoid making bad hires in 7 steps

Bad hires can cost your business thousands. And that’s without taking into account the time wasted.

Hiring the right talent at the right time can be difficult at the best of times. And the digital marketing job market is more competitive than ever before. It can feel almost like a necessity to compromise on some of the requirements of the role you’re hiring for. 

And sometimes you’re right. You definitely can, and sometimes should, compromise on some areas to make sure that your digital agency or business has the right people on your team at the right time.

But we’re here to tell you exactly what you shouldn’t compromise on. We’ve analysed the data and used our own insight from our years of working with hiring managers and candidates. So, here are the 7 steps to avoid making bad hires that can cost your business thousands.

The 7 Steps You Need To Take To Avoid Making A Bad Hire Again

  1. Define the Outputs of the roles, and what skills are needed to achieve them.
  2. Identify which of those skills are “Must haves”, which are “Nice to haves”, and never compromise on the “must haves”.
  3. Use the interview process to find out what motivates the candidate. Will they be a good cultural fit for your business?
  4. Have a well established onboarding process that gives new employees the opportunity to achieve.
  5. Provide clear and consistent feedback throughout the probation period; not just at the end.
  6. Provide a proper review at the end of their probation period, to identify if they’re the right candidate.
  7. Work with the experts to support your recruitment process.

Step 1: What are the outputs of the role? And what skills do they need to achieve them?

Step one is to understand exactly what the outputs of the role are, and identify the skills that are most instrumental to complete these outputs. Sounds simple, right? You know what the job of an SEO Manager is, after all, maybe you were one?

But what an SEO Manager is in your agency, might not be the same as an SEO Manager at a different agency. 

It’s only by working with the existing team, and ideally the person leaving the role, to figure out what the role you need filling will actually encompass. Let’s say you’re creating a role from scratch. You’ll need to know what the rest of the team needs the person to do, as well as what you want them to achieve.

Or if you’re filling a role that someone is leaving, you’ll need to understand what the role they did has become. Because role’s change over time. The role the person started doing, might not be the role they left.

Step 2: Identify Your Must Haves In The Candidates, and Never Compromise On Them.

A study from CareerBuilder showed that three of the five most common reasons for “bad hires” according to employers are “candidates who lacked the necessary skills” (35%), “pressured to fill the role quickly” (30%), and “Had a hard time finding qualified candidates” (29%).

bad hires, the real reasons behind them

Project timelines, company expansions and new client acquisitions are often the drivers for hiring needs. Which can mean time constraints come into play. But compromising on the core skills necessary for the role, is how most businesses make bad hires.

Step 3: Use the Interview To Find Out What Motivates The Candidate.

The interview is your opportunity to find out whether a candidate has the technical understanding and the soft skills to do the job. But it’s also your opportunity to find out whether someone is a cultural fit for your business.

Because you only want people on your team who have the same goals, drive and determination that aligns with your company culture. If your agency is committed to offering the best quality of service it can to clients, and you hire a new Client Services Director who is solely motivated by money and sales? That’s a recipe for a team that has to compromise on the quality of their service to take on as many clients as possible.

Sometimes you have a candidate who has the technical skills you need and it can be tempting to compromise on cultural fit. But this can have disastrous long term consequences for your business. A Columbia University study showed that 92% of senior executives consider their company culture to be one of the top drivers of the value of their business. 

Step 4: Have a properly defined onboarding process that will help your employee achieve.

All the time, effort and money finding the right person for the job can all be wasted, if you don’t have a properly defined onboarding process.

You want your new employee to feel like a part of the team, and to be quickly ingrained in the company culture and success. How you do this is different for every business and every company culture. For some, it’s getting straight into the work and becoming an integral part of the project. But for others, it’s building up an understanding of the work they will do, the clients they’ll work with and the industry they’ll be working in.

So sit down with your new employee, and agree measurable and properly defined targets for them to achieve. This will let you know whether the person is performing at the levels your team, and business needs.

Step 5: Provide regular feedback through the probation period.

Throughout the probation period you will be judging your new employee. Some businesses save all of this feedback for the end of the probation period. But we advise having open and honest discussions throughout the probation period. 

If someone isn’t meeting the targets and outputs you defined when they joined, then discuss this with them. Communicating openly with them gives them the chance to improve their performance. Or, to open a discussion about changing the outputs of the role to make them more achievable.

Step 6: A review at the end of their probation: Where can they improve?

Whether your new employee passes or fails their probation period, you should aim to give a probation review. Having a review with feedback from all the team involved with the new hire will help you recognise if they’re right for the role and for your business.

It will also help you highlight areas where your new employee worked well, and areas they needed to improve.

But you can’t measure a new employee solely on performance. Because there’s also the need to make sure that any new hires are a cultural fit for your business. So speak to the team they work with to find how they fit into the team. What has been their attitude has been to their work? Does that attitude align with the companies culture?

Step 7: Consult the experts by working with a recruitment agency.

The majority of bad hires stem from: not having the time to find the right candidates, not having enough candidates to choose from, or not finding candidates with the right skills. But working with an expert recruitment agency in your industry can eliminate these problems.

With a recruitment agency actively searching the market on your behalf, you’ll have access to a wider pool of candidates. And because the recruitment agency doesn’t get paid if they don’t find the right talent, you’ll have candidates quicker than your own internal team can find them.

Of course, working with a recruitment agency costs money. But the costs of not working with a recruitment agency can often be much higher than you realise: There is the cost to your business of not having the person you need, at the time you need them. And the hidden cost of the effect on the rest of the team, on the project deadlines and the clients.

It can be difficult to put an exact number of the cost of bad hires. The US Department of Labour estimates the cost to be up to 30% of the hires salary. So an SEO Manager with a salary of £40,000 a year, will cost your business around £13,000. Which instantly eliminates the majority of the cost of working with a recruiter. 

the 7 steps to avoid making bad hires

What You Can Do

We have tried to give an unbiased view on the advantages and disadvantages of working with a recruitment agency. So you can make your own informed opinion, and figure out whether it’s right for your digital agency.

If you’re looking to expand your team, we’ve put together a guide on how to identify, attract and retain the best talent for your digital agency here. Or, reach out to us here to find out how we can help you in your recruitment efforts.

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