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April 29th, 2015 | Sterling

5 Steps to Avoid Hiring Mistakes

In the last 12 months the number of job vacancies in the UK rose from 582,000 to 706,000 while the number of unemployed fell from 2.35m to 1.8m. With more jobs and fewer job seekers, many industries are entering a candidate market and, as a result, employers are racing to secure the best prospects.

A robust recruitment process which ensures no steps are skipped, no matter what level of hiring urgency there may be, has never been more important. With the cost of hiring (and potential rehiring if it goes wrong) somewhere between one-and-a-half to three times the employee’s annual salary, there has also never been a more costly time to make a mistake! So, in no particular order, here are five key steps to hiring success.

Step 1 – Consider what may influence hiring success or failure in your organisation

Hiring success can be influenced by a multitude of factors including inaccurate job descriptions, a lack of skills or ability, and personal reasons on behalf of the candidate. Another increasingly concerning factor is that of application fraud which, according to CIFAS1, rose by 63% between 2012 and 2013.

The issues which shape a successful hire can vary from company to company and job role to job role. Recruiting managers must consider what influencing factors they may face and build a recruitment process which tackles those challenges as effectively as possible.

Step 2 – Use the CV and interview process to identify inconsistencies

The vetting of CVs and thorough questioning at interview stage is a critically important opportunity to filter out potentially unsuitable candidates. Indeed, there was a time when this was the extent of the prospective employee screening process by many HR departments. Ask about suspicious gaps or date inconsistencies in the employment history which are poorly explained. If you are given any information which seems a little unlikely, don’t hesitate to question its validity. For example, if a college or university sounds unfamiliar you may want to confirm it actually exists – there are an increasing number of diploma mills out there. Fortunately there is far more that can be done before and after these direct candidate touch points.

Step 3 – Ensure the job description is 100% accurate

Considering the real needs of the job and creating an accurate job description before the vacancy is advertised can be key to a successful hire. Not only will you find a greater proportion of more suitably aligned candidates applying for the role, you will also have a greater chance of the hired employee being more effective and staying in the position for longer. It should be remembered however that it is equally, if not more important, to verify what the candidate tells you (or doesn’t tell you!) further down the line.

Step 4 – Take the time to plan

The reality is that spending the time in the early stages to create the right process is going to deliver the most reliable outcome. Kevin Price, Vice President UK at SterlingBackcheck, suggests, “The time you invest in creating clarity over exactly what you are looking to achieve and how best to achieve it, is probably the best time you can ever spend in terms of protecting the interests of your organisation, your assets and your reputation”.

With this in mind, it is recommended that you map out your requirements and ensure each stage of your recruitment process is designed to achieve these objectives.

Step 5 – Check that they are who they say they are

It’s important to have a concrete idea of the type of individual you want, and what you want that person to do. It’s important to note however, that there’s a danger in thinking you have the right candidate without making sure you have safeguard measures in place to prevent flawed decision making.

So how does background screening add value to a strategic recruitment process?
* Helps to select the best qualified candidates
* Helps to protect your people and your property
* Identifies potential threats to the business
* Mitigates against risk/loss/reputation harm

Clearly there are many compelling reasons to integrate background screening as part of a recruitment process. In a recent webinar we asked delegates to share their recruitment challenges and a common response was that, in addition to conflicting pressures on resources, many also felt there was a gap in their knowledge of data protection law and procedure. By outsourcing the background screening process to a reliable third party, these recruiting pain-points can be overcome and the benefits of such a process may be fully measured.

Lauren Callow-Smith, HR Administrator at Hiscox, a SterlingBackcheck customer, faced a number of challenges in hiring the right staff, but now has a solution which eases the recruitment burden on their HR resources. “Outsourcing to SterlingBackcheck allows us a better and more efficient use of our time and resources. It frees up our admin staff to ensure more effective induction of new employees, and better maintain relationships with existing employees. Our turnaround time is now quicker and there is more consistency and fewer discrepancies across our recruitment process”.

‘Recruitment essentials: How to avoid a bad hire in 2015’ took place on 31st March, chaired by HRZone Editor Jamie Lawrence, presented by SterlingBackcheck UK Vice President Kevin Price and with expert contribution delivered by HR Administrator Lauren Callow-Smith from leading insurer Hiscox.

You can listen to the webinar recording in full here, where you’ll come away with practical tips and advice to save you from making hiring mistakes and create a more robust recruitment process for the future.

1. CIFAS: Employee Fraudscape 2014 https://www.cifas.org.uk/employeefraudscape_aprilfourteen

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.