Avoiding the Bad Hire

September 19, 2016

There are two types of bad hires. The easy one to avoid is the bad skills match. You can typically weed this out on paper. The other one is less tangible: the bad cultural fit. The business costs for a bad hire are high, but worse than that: it puts your work environment in danger of becoming toxic. Have you ever been forced to live with someone you couldn’t stand; someone who doesn’t value the same things you do? Think of what that does to productivity.

So how do you check cultural fit? The best thing to do is to ask a question in the interview that will take the candidate off their talking points and allow you to see beyond the veneer. It doesn’t have to be a “gotcha” question; It could be something as simple as, “What did you have for breakfast this morning?”

For some companies, cultural fit isn’t enough. They want to know how you’re going to advance their culture and make their organization better. For example, on the 10th interview during the hiring process, the cleaning company Method asks every candidate to present on the question: What can you do to keep Method weird? This is really important for a company like Method, which has to differentiate itself to remain viable in it’s very competitive market. They can’t phone it in, and they need their employees to keep pushing them to think differently. A candidate who can get past the awkwardness and fear of presenting something “weird” is ideal for them. It shows the candidate is ready to commit and won’t hold back on any of his or her talents. Method needs all of them.

TGIFridays puts a trampoline in the room where they interview to see how the candidate will react. Will they look askance and roll their eyes or will they go ahead and jump on it? You probably guessed it. They’re looking for someone who will go ahead and start hopping on it.

Maybe you don’t want to put a trampoline in one of your meeting rooms or schedule ten interviews for one hire. That’s fine. But it’s probably not fine to do nothing in an interview that checks for cultural fit. TGIFridays and Method are looking for specific personalities that will thrive in their culture as well as push it forward. Take some time to think about your company, its market position and its values and come up with a plan for how you can start inculcating an environment that delivers what you need to stay on top. It could start with the question, “What did you have for breakfast?”

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

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