The ideal hiring scenario sounds something like this... you put up a job posting, qualified candidates apply, you interview and have an ah-ha moment with one candidate who happily accepts the job.
That’s a nice fantasy, isn't it?
While most hiring leaders know this hiring scenario isn’t very common, they are still tied to other less-obvious hiring myths. Myths that can, unfortunately, have negative results; making searches last longer and seem more cumbersome than they need to be.
As seasoned recruiters, we’ve seen it all and want to share the 5 most common hiring myths and how they impact the hiring journey:
1) People who work for certain global tech giants are better than everyone else.
When we talk about this, we mean the usual suspects; those in the stock market referred to as FAANG, which we would rename FAANGS (Shopify).
While it's true that the rigor of their hiring processes are stuff of legends and books have been written to help people pass their interviews, it doesn't necessarily mean they are a cut above.
The skills and experiences needed are not the same across all roles; neither are scope and scale. While those who work for those big names seem appealing, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a perfect fit for your role and organization.
In addition to a possible mismatch in experiences, there is also no guarantee that you will be able to attract or successfully hire FAANG employees. Your organization may not have the clout, growth trajectory or salary/equity to be competitive.
When you try to target FAANG employees, you are joining a global community who’s also trying to do the same thing. Limiting your hires to FAANG/S only will result in more time and money added to the hiring process when a better-suited candidate (both in culture and experience) may be readily available.
2) Everyone does case studies as part of the hiring process.
Wrong. There are plenty of companies that do not apply a case study step in their hiring process. Why? Because there is no evidence to show that hires that resulted from a case study outperformed hires who did not complete a case study.
Case studies can add real value when the shortlisted candidate's past experiences are not directly transferable. For example, if you are considering a candidate who would be changing industries, understanding their thinking process and their ability to do and apply research about your organization and industry is invaluable.
However, a case study for the reason of ‘this is what we do’ is not a wise choice. If a candidate comes from a competitor and is known to be successful, it’s questionable that a case study will provide any value at all.
It will however add time to the process, which means you risk losing this candidate and potentially your backup candidate as well. Agility, flexibility, and creativity always need to be flexed when hiring. It’s important to always prioritize what is the best thing to do for this specific role and its hiring process.
3) Meeting a good cross-section of the market will result in the best hiring decision.
Generally speaking, when a business leader engages in the hiring process, it's for one of three reasons: to solve a problem, pivot a product/solution, or realize an opportunity.
One of the common frustrations we hear from clients seeking a search partner is how much time they have already invested in the act of interviewing. When we ask them how many people they've interviewed, they often sheepishly admit it's a "very long list". Why does this happen? Because interviewing causes busyness and busyness make us feel productive.
Interviewing under-qualified or too many people can leave you paralyzed from the fear of making the wrong decision. It’s important to remember, interviews are not the productive outcome you are seeking - the outcome you need is a hire, not a long list of candidates.
Our advice to leaders executing a search is to always focus on the outcome. If it comes from meeting 3 highly qualified candidates and choosing the best fit then you made good use of your time.
If, due to the competition for those candidates, you need to meet 8 people before you get to an offer that's accepted - bravo - you still got a hire. The focus should always be on finding a hire rather than how many people you can meet.
4) We don't use agencies.
Really, why is that? Maybe you have never worked with an agency before. Or maybe you have and it wasn’t the best experience.
While we don’t think you need an agency for every hire, engaging a search partner for a mission-critical leadership hire can be the difference between a hire who is rapidly scaling your product or one who is still floundering while still trying to assess product-market-fit.
Niche-focused recruiters allow you to meet talent you otherwise would not have access to. They are also a great source for gathering current hiring trend insights and a partner who acts as an external party to help sell your opportunity and brand to those who are not actively looking.
The greater the investment of a hire, the greater the need for specific skills and experiences to provide an ROI. Partnering with a specialized agency can help ensure this alignment by connecting your organization with candidates who will be successful in the role.
5) We want leaders who can get to the office regularly.
Over the past 18 months, all leaders had to figure how to manage remotely and the majority did so quite successfully. Good leaders are creative and results-driven. They more than anyone else will figure out how to get the outcome they have been hired to achieve.
Location, up until 2020, had always been a limiting factor in a CEO/Founder’s ability to hire the best leaders. With many organizations going digital-first, you now have access to a global talent pool of relevant and interested candidates.
This remote-first approach is mostly likely what your competition is doing to land hires that can give them a substantial edge. In order to keep up with competitive hiring and employee retention, employers have to be creative and location-agnostic.
At the end of the day, myths are narratives we tell ourselves; stories that are often based on half-truths or hearsay. The same can be said for these hiring myths. Holding onto these five common but outdated beliefs can lead to longer, more expensive hiring processes, or worse mis-hires and employee churn.
As 2022 approaches, it’s time to shake off these hiring myths and focus on the task at hand... finding a candidate with the right experiences for the mandate of the role and the right attitude for your organization's culture.