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5 bad ways to hire senior staff

Mark O'Connor
09 January 2017 1 minute readShare
A businessman wrapped in caution tape holds his hand out for a handshake

Although every hiring decision is important, hiring for senior positions is critical if your business is to reach its goals. Here’s what not to do when recruiting senior employees.

The costs of bad hires for your business are enormous: missed business objectives, unproductive employees and distracted colleagues. What can companies do to improve the odds of hiring successful senior staff?

Here are the common factors that contribute to hiring failures:

1. Lack of clarity on the role, the hiring need and how it fits into the business

Whenever a senior hire is made, unless it is a direct replacement for someone who has just left, it usually involves a new role, a change to the company structure or some other type of change.

The problems arise when the hiring manager and the rest of the leadership team haven’t fully thought through the implications of the change, and are not invested enough in the change.

2. The business over-promises

Sometimes businesses want to hire a senior person on the promise of there being a major change or future investment in the business. This can prove to be wishful thinking, as the business and the hiring manager may have different outcomes of the recruitment process.

Many candidates can leave feeling disappointed and frustrated as they are unable to fulfil the role they were hired to do, as the role may not even be realised within the business itself.

3. Poor onboarding

The first 30, 90 and 180 days are vital to a senior executive’s induction. If this is not planned and reflective of the culture and values the candidate signed up for, the likelihood is they will feel disenchanted.

4. Poor recruitment process

No proper job description; no consistent interview panel; candidates' level of interest not properly qualified; a lengthy and unstructured interview process; not partnering with an expert recruitment partner who understands the company culture and genuinely knows the market: all of these add up to a half-baked hiring effort with a more than likely poor result.

5. The candidate simply doesn’t perform

This occasionally happens, and can be because all parties may assume that because they were successful in their previous role, they will be successful again.

Mark O'Connor, PerceptorIt’s important that the hiring company genuinely understands why and how the candidate was successful and whether they will get to use the same skills and experience in the new environment.

Companies need to hire on future potential and ability to grow and change, as much as on candidates' track record (unless, of course, that track record demonstrates ability to change and grow).

Mark O’Connor is the founder and director of Perceptor, an executive search and selection practice.

5 bad ways to hire senior staff
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Mark O'Connor

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