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7 Most Common Blind Spots for Hiring Managers

You may not realize that your hiring managers have blind spots when hiring new employees for job openings. It is important to identify these blind spots, though, because a hiring decision based on subjective opinion could set back your company and be costly.

The process for identifying and addressing blind spots begins with understanding the most common blind spots. Then, understanding how to turn subjective thinking into objective measurement of each candidate. This is followed by applying the process to your company’s hiring decisions to reduce the risk of hiring the wrong candidate.

Here are the seven most common blind spots that ZERORISK HR has identified in our research and how to overcome these challenges to ensure you hire the best fit for your organization.

Top Blind Spots When Hiring

- Blind Spot #1: The Candidate is Personable. Hiring managers often make the mistake of believing the best fit for a job opening is the person who displayed the best people skills during the interview.

The thought process is that surely this individual will fit well in their role because they were very personable during the interview. That is a dangerous conclusion unless it is supported by measurable information.

An objective measurement might reveal that the individual is not personable in a workplace setting. Perhaps this individual regularly argued with co-workers or did not take directions from superiors in a previous role in a similar context. They have the ability to be personable at times or put their best foot forward during a job interview, but their core competency does not match the profile of the most personable employees in your organization.

You can determine whether this individual has the core competency that matches a personable person by asking questions during the behavioral interview that reveal their behavior in previous workplace settings. You should also use the job applicant appraisal form to objectively measure whether their competencies match the role.

- Blind Spot #2: The Candidate is a Good Leader and Developer. When you are hiring for a management role, it is important to use objective measurements to find the best fit because the decision could affect your organization for years to come - positively or negatively. Negative results include:

  • Poor employee engagement

  • Ruin team cohesion and culture

  • Lead to turnover

  • Hurt your company’s image or reputation

When interviewing potential managers, you cannot rely on the candidate telling you that he or she is a good manager, leader, and developer of people. You must examine their past behavior as an indicator of performance in a management role in your organization.

Also, before even starting to interview candidates, your hiring department needs to determine the core competencies that match up with a successful manager or leader in your organization or industry.

This allows you to whittle down the field of candidates until you find the best fit. It is important that everyone in your organization is on board with this process because there is a tendency to want to hire the candidate who sounded the most impressive or was the most charismatic. However, going by a subjective opinion creates risk of hiring the wrong fit, hurting your organization both near and long-term.

- Blind Spot #3: The Candidate has Sales Acumen. We often hear this phrase from sales organizations that “I know a good salesperson when I see one.” Unfortunately, many organizations have experienced negative impact on their market share when they discover that a “good salesperson” is not actually the best fit for a particular role.

The responses in a behavioral interview and applicant appraisal form are the best measure to discover whether a salesperson is actually a good fit. Whether you are a sales organization or are hiring for a sales role within your company, this objective measurement will guide you in discovering whether the candidate actually has sales acumen.

Just because a candidate has held sales positions in the past does not necessarily equate to success in sales. You might be surprised to find out from an objective measurement that the candidate who did not “look and feel” like a good salesperson is actually a better fit than the person who displayed the most confidence during an interview.

- Blind Spot #4: The Interviewer Assumes the Candidate is Not Skilled for the Role. This is similar to the previous blind spot of making an assumption, but in this case, the interviewer is assuming a candidate is not the right fit because of a lack of experience.

Perhaps the candidate’s resume is not as strong as other candidates or they lack experience in a similar role compared to other candidates. This blind spot hurts companies who assume that a lack of experience means the candidate is not as skilled for the role, creating the risk of losing out on top talent.

It’s a difficult decision to make when your “gut feeling” says this person is not the right fit because they appear to lack skills or experience. However, hiring managers should rely on the objective measurements to determine which candidate is the best fit in the role.

- Blind Spot #5: The Candidate has Good Organizational Skills. This is a very common bias across industries. When your company is hiring for an office manager or logistics type role, hiring managers are often misled by a candidate appearing to be organized.

A candidate might show up to the interview looking polished, organized, and “having it together,” but hiring managers should not rely on a visual to determine the best fit. They should also not rely on the candidate claiming they are organized.

This is where good behavioral interview skills unlock past behavior to reveal that the individual was actually disorganized at a previous company and became agitated when asked to perform tasks related to the role. Or, the individual’s competencies do not match the profile of an individual requiring very good organizational and prioritization skills.

The key is using the objective measurements to discover whether the candidate has the workplace behavior of an organized person and matches the ideal candidate profile. Otherwise, you risk hiring an individual who could actually slow down workflow and create inefficiencies for your organization.

- Blind Spot #6: The Hiring Manager Relies on Word of Mouth. One of the most challenging blind spots to navigate is when a candidate is referred to your organization.

The candidate may have been referred by a colleague, client, or business partner. What we’ve seen is the person making the referral presents an argument that this individual will be great for your company because of one element that matches the industry or nature of work: “John used to work in automotives; he would be great to add to your car dealership.”

There is an inclination to trust the opinion of the referring person to hire John without determining whether John actually has the skills and abilities to perform tasks in the role. But, an objective measurement might reveal that John is actually not a good fit.

This creates a challenge of how to tell the referring person that you will not be hiring John without damaging the existing relationship. You can overcome this challenge by using the objective measurement to not only determine whether John is a good fit but also explain why John is not a good fit, ensuring your relationship with the referring person is maintained.

- Blind Spot #7: The Candidate Does Not Have Experience. Focusing on a candidate’s work history instead of their past behavior in a similar role is a dangerous blind spot that could lead to the wrong hire.

It’s easy to make a hiring decision by just looking at a resume, especially if another candidate does not have much work history in the role you are hiring for. However, you still need to unlock the competencies of the candidates to determine which person matches the role.

You would be surprised how often the candidate with the lesser experience is actually the better fit. They just need the right opportunity to apply their skills and traits. Unfortunately, hiring managers are often misled by the experience bias, causing them to overlook a candidate who could provide value to your company.

How Do You Eliminate These Blind Spots When Hiring?

The best way to eliminate these seven common blind spots from the hiring process is building consistency into your organization.

This means hiring managers should use an applicant appraisal form and be trained on behavioral interview techniques that unlock past behavior in a similar role.

These objective measurements validate assessments of what a top performer looks like in your company or in the industry. This process also allows you to set performance targets to determine the success of the person hired.

Finally, if hiring managers need more incentive to use objective measurements of each candidate, you should consider a reward system tied to employee retention. This eliminates the desire to rely on subjective opinions to make hiring decisions if hiring managers' pay or bonuses are tied to their retention rates.

This system would also eliminate the false thinking of: “Let’s bring this person in and see how it works out.” That type of hiring inconsistency leads to turnover, creating additional costs for your company.

Would you buy a new car without inspecting the vehicle, reading reviews, and comparing this vehicle to other vehicles in the marketplace? No. Otherwise you might have to purchase a replacement vehicle in the near future after making an uneducated purchasing decision.

Similarly, employers need to adhere to consistent practices for objectively measuring candidates to ensure the right fit for their job opening. The ZERORISK Hiring System accomplishes this by providing an objective evaluation of each candidate’s competencies and helps hiring managers understand how to conduct a behavioral interview to unlock past behavior. When your company encounters these blind spots when hiring, consider using the ZERORISK Hiring System to ensure you are hiring the right candidate for your next job opening.


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