by Scott Wintrip, author of “High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant“
There’s a shortage of skilled workers across all industries in the country. You’ve likely experienced this skills shortage impact within your own organization, usually in the form of empty desks and jobs remaining unfulfilled for weeks or months at a time. And if you’re a business owner you’ve no doubt undergone extensive selection processes time and again to find the perfect candidates.
You may assume that the skills shortage is to blame for the high number of open jobs, but the real problem is that businesses believe a dangerous set of myths around hiring, and that these myths are hurting organizations everywhere.
In both good times and bad, there have never been enough qualified job candidates to go around. But this talent shortage hasn’t stopped some companies from filling their jobs quickly and keeping them filled. These businesses aren’t just lucky. Rather, they have rejected the old ideas of hiring that continue to slow down many organizations today.
The companies that still struggle to fill their jobs need to thoroughly examine their beliefs about hiring. They must make sure they’re not buying into hiring principles that don’t really benefit them. Here are four of the biggest hiring myths and my advice for countering them in your organization:
Myth #1: The skills shortage is the cause of hiring delays.
Hiring delays indicate a problem with your selection process, not a talent flow issue. Since there are never enough qualified candidates to go around, savvy leaders have realized they can’t afford to engage in the old way of hiring that involves keeping a job open until the right person (finally) shows up. Instead, these leaders have made fast, accurate hiring a strategic imperative. They require managers to engage in the new way of hiring: actively cultivating top talent and then waiting for the right job to become available. They realize that a job becoming available is a when situation — not an if situation. These forward-thinking leaders always plan for the when and so should you.
Myth #2: Hiring is exclusively an HR function.
While HR plays a vital role in hiring, the organizations that fill their jobs quickly understand that hiring is a team sport. Instead of treating hiring as an exclusively HR function, the most successful companies view employee selection as a leadership function supported by HR (and the talent acquisition team, if there is one). Everyone has a role, and under this framing, hiring managers communicate thoroughly and make hiring decisions swiftly while HR and the talent acquisition team supply talent and facilitate the process. And everyone, from the top down, generates talent through networking and requesting referrals.
Myth #3: You must hire slowly and fire quickly.
Unfortunately, this well-known business cliché is almost always bad advice. People who are slow to hire operate out of fear of making a bad choice. They have experienced the consequences of poor hiring choices, and in attempts to avoid this mistake again, they slow down the hiring process and come to believe that speed and accuracy are mutually exclusive.
This plodding approach to hiring leads to overanalysis and a protracted timeline. As a result, talented candidates move on and open jobs remain open. To counter this myth, progressive leaders have adopted a new mantra: Be fast to hire and quick to inspire. They mandate a hiring process that promotes rapid decision making and the nurturing of employee relationships.
Myth #4: This is how it’s always been done, so it must be right.
Many organizations keep doing things the same way, even if that way is ineffective. For example, some companies have unwritten rules, such as reviewing a slate of eight to ten candidates before making a hire, even when a highly qualified candidate is identified among the first few candidates.
It’s easier to maintain the status quo, especially when you’re afraid that changing things won’t work. But doing ‘business as usual’ keeps companies stuck in the slow lane of hiring, losing them valuable time and top talent to faster competitors. Dispelling this myth requires a different mindset. Instead of sticking with the status quo because that’s how things have always been done, the leaders who are successful keep what works and replace the rest. Be willing to change and evolve, because you may get impressive results by trying something new.
The skilled worker shortage will only become more noticeable in the future. As globalization increases, borders will matter less, creating a talent competition unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It’s crucial to immediately disengage from those myths around hiring that prevent you from efficiently finding good employees. Once you counter the myths that are slowing your selection process, you’ll see that good talent really isn’t hard to find after all.
Scott Wintrip has changed how thousands of companies across the globe find and select employees, helping design and implement a process to hire top talent in less than an hour. Over the past 18 years, he built the Wintrip Consulting Group, a thriving global consultancy. He is the author of “High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant“.