By Michael Cormier
It’s a brand new year, and we all know what that means: time for retrospection and promises (to ourselves, anyway) of adjustment. Being in that mind frame, this might be a good time to look at a troubling trend in the world of recruitment and hiring. For lack of a better word, let’s call it “recruitment overkill.”
Recruitment overkill is the habit of searching for Superman and Wonder Woman, only to discover they aren’t in large supply. Then, persisting anyway, we hope they’ll materialize if we just hold out long enough.
Anyone who reads online job listings has seen it over and over again: ACME Widgets wants a good marketing professional with 2-4 years’ experience. But it also wants that 2-4 years to have been spent using A, B and C software on a D platform, utilizing an E computing system. And they must have gained that experience while working for a company within Industry F, whose target clientele was G. Candidates must also be proficient at this or that, utilizing that or this, demonstrate an ability to supervise, analyze, prioritize and compartmentalize, speak three languages, hold a black belt in jiu jitsu, and be able to forecast the end of the world …
You get the idea: ACME Widgets wants a superhero. And why not? An employee is a big investment, so we want to choose carefully. But sometimes it takes months to fill a position that should have been filled within a few weeks. Some of the best candidates give up and go elsewhere. Some don’t even bother to apply, thinking they have no chance.
Sometimes the most important things get lost in the quest for the perfect “paper” employee. HR gets so caught up in looking for the perfect resume, that it overlooks the most simple – but vital – attributes: core strengths and values. You should prepare to spend a solid amount of time interviewing, not just to flesh out facts, but to get a feel for this person’s most basic qualities.
When you think you’ve got the best candidate, do a background check. This is especially important when the qualifications you seek are very particular. The temptation of a candidate to tweak his resume (translation: embellish or flat out lie) in that scenario may be stronger. Not to mention checking for an arrest record and doing a credit check (especially if that person will be responsible for money). A drug test is also important, especially if that person will be driving or operating machinery.
Not only that, a background investigation can turn up good stuff that didn’t show up on a resume. Mr. Right might turn out to be even better qualified and experience-wise than you thought. And if you discover that Mr. Right forgot to mention he volunteered as a coach for the Special Olympics, and won a good citizenship award, so much the better.
We all know there are many reasons to perform background checks. One more reason is to flesh out the real-life qualities of a candidate. Let a full-service background investigation firm like Hire Authority (www.hireauth.com / (508) 230-5901) help you determine if a candidate will be your company’s newest hero … or its kryptonite.
The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice. Employers should always consult their own legal counsel for advice on labor and employment matters.