3 Common Drivers of Bad Hires (and How to Avoid Them)

We’ve recently shared some hard truths about how hiring the wrong person can negatively impact your practice’s success. For a small practice, the time, money and resources lost can be downright devastating. To reduce the risk of making a staffing mistake, it can be helpful to know some of the key drivers behind bad hiring decisions. Avoid the following at all costs and you’ll be in a much better position for building a solid team.

The Halo Effect

Imagine after a long day of interviewing several less-than-ideal candidates, in walks an interviewee who appears to be professional, poised and personable. On top of these great personality traits, her resume looks pretty impressive as well. You decide to hire her right on the spot.

A few months into her employment, however, you start noticing that her performance has been disappointing and she’s showing no signs of improvement. What went wrong? It’s a phenomenon known as the halo effect, through which we tend to overlook obvious red flags when a person impresses us in other areas.

In this situation, you were so pleased by the candidate’s demeanor that you assumed she’d perform well in other areas too. You didn’t bother digging any deeper into her resume or asking good interview questions. Now you’re stuck with an employee who is dragging the team down and will likely need to be terminated.

You can avoid falling victim to the halo effect a couple of ways. First, be cognizant of what it is and what its impact can be. Second, create an evaluation process that includes having candidates assessed by multiple different people. Differing perspectives and opinions can help prevent subconscious bias.

Forgetting Intangibles

Technical skills are important – especially in veterinary medicine. But they’re not the be all and end all. To the contrary, even the strongest skillset cannot make up for things like poor attitude, unprofessionalism and a substandard work ethic.

Furthermore, one recent study indicated that new employees rarely fail due to issues with their technical skills and job competence. In fact, of the new hires surveyed that were terminated within the first 18 months of employment, only a mere 11% were let go due to technical shortcomings. The majority failed to succeed in their new roles due to an inability to accept feedback, lack of motivation and inadequate emotional intelligence.

To avoid investing in a new employee who isn’t a good fit, don’t focus solely on technical skills but also intangibles, like coachability, temperament, attitude, disposition, mindset etc. These are far more predictive of a new hire’s success or failure.

To get you pointed in the right direction, here are a few key characteristics of A-list candidates along with some interview questions to assess cultural fit.

Too Much Urgency

Having an open position for too long can be stressful. Other team members have to pitch in and pull more than their own weight and everyone starts to feel the impact. While it may be tempting to hurry up and pull the trigger on a new hire as quickly as possible, doing so can cause more harm than good.

Sometimes, particularly during periods of rapid growth, practice owners feel the need to acquire talent at an equally fast pace. But when you rush through the process and/or disregard your formal hiring framework, it’s easy for unfit hires to slip through the cracks.

To prevent this, rather than focusing solely on your current needs, try to focus on lining up your hiring practices with your long-term business goals. Start by identifying which open roles are most critical to delivering on your overarching business objectives.

Once you’ve prioritized those positions, develop a hiring timeline that will enable your team to dedicate adequate time to selecting the right candidate for each role. When you shift your perspective like this, you’ll be able to create and implement a much more thorough process that will ultimately yield you higher quality candidates and make your entire hiring process much more effective.

If you’ve noted these things but are still struggling with poor hiring decisions, or you simply don’t have the time or resources to commit to finding the perfect fit for your team, we’re here to help. Contact the Dream Team Builders today and let us help you staff your practice with the best of the best.

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