The worst hiring mistake you can make it to hire out of pain.
Have you ever made a decision based on emotion? Dangerous, isn’t it?
There is one industry that actually relies on people acting on emotion. If you guessed real estate, then you’re right. It is said that if home buyers begin decorating a home in their minds (ie. “The couch would look good over there,” “I can see the kids’ pictures over the fireplace”), they are emotionally – and therefore successfully – sold.
Emotions get us to make a lot of decisions that we wouldn’t otherwise.
It is simply part of our human nature for strong emotion to trump reason. So it is no surprise that this rule applies equally to our hiring decisions. I see the mistake play out over and over…a manager or business owner hires out of a place of pain. The result: an “extreme” candidate is hired and fails to be successful in the long run.
For example, a small company was looking for a new office administrator. The previous one left unexpectedly due to personal issues, and just a few weeks of trying to get along without her was painful. That pain led the team to seek out someone with extreme organizational and administrative talents, to contrast the complete void of those talents within the team. In the end, the new office administrator was so insistent on structure and rigidity that her approach conflicted with the team. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.
So how do you avoid hiring out of emotion?
1. Bring in an outsider. Work with a consultant who is outside of your team and can be objective about your current situation and future needs. By being in the business, you have emotional biases (some you may not even be aware of). An outside expert can more effectively diagnose the problems and craft a successful solution.
2. Use scientific assessments/instruments. Facts and figures don’t lie…and they certainly aren’t emotional based. Science is as objective as you can get. It is important to have a good gut feeling about a candidate, but be sure to back up those feelings with solid evaluation.
3. Don’t be rushed. It is amazing what a good night’s rest can do. Our emotions are highest in the heat of the moment. When you “sleep on it,” you have a better chance at making a more rational decision. Also, a sense of urgency can push us into wrong or uncomfortable decisions. It is better to take control of the situation…and the timeline. Though it doesn’t always feel like it, most things can be held off until tomorrow – especially if the decision is as important as hiring the right person.
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