How to Make a Good Hire

Date posted: March 13, 2024 | 11:41 am
  • Hiring |
  • Levelling up / hire better

Consider this scenario: you have offered a candidate a role that you thought they were perfect for. On paper, they held the correct qualifications required for the role and interviewed well. 

However, after a few months, and for multiple reasons, this person did not make their probationary period or decided to leave the company. Was this a bad hire on your part as a recruiter or hiring manager, or simply an unforeseen one-off?

There are several things that you can do to get the most out of the hiring process and ensure that you are maximising your chances of making a good hire for your business. 

In this article, we’re exploring how to find and nurture your talent pool, ways to bring out the best in your candidates and delving into the most common interviewing mistakes that may be costing you when it comes to placing potential new hires into the right roles.

The cost of making a bad hire 

Firstly, what is the true cost of a bad hire? According to a variety of industry-led studies, the cost of a bad hire can be up to 2 times the cost of an employee’s annual salary. When we factor in the salary of a Data Engineer at £80,000, this can have a detrimental effect on the business’s bottom line. 

There are also other elements to factor in if you place an unsuitable candidate in your business. Taking into consideration recruitment and training costs, salary compensation during probationary periods, rehiring costs and even loss of business, there’s also the possibility of creating a bigger workload on other team members impacting team morale. Some studies suggest that taking all of this onboard, this single bad hire can cost up to 150% of an employee’s base salary! In basic terms, it can be time-consuming and expensive.

It is also not unusual that it may take some time to realise that the newly appointed person in a role turns out to be a bad fit. The individual may not be suited in terms of an overlooked mismatch in practical capabilities, job role expectations on both sides or personal differences in terms of company culture approaches. 

So it is safe to say that multiple areas can be negatively impacted if the wrong person is selected for a role. This is where hiring managers and recruiters can improve their chances of making the best hire and ensure the best possibility of recruiting the strongest match between business and potential employee.


How to get the most out of the hiring process 

If you’re trying to fill gaps in your business, you want to do this as efficiently as possible. To avoid making a bad hire, it all starts with putting some pre-planned steps in place during the early recruitment process. Let’s take a look at the points below:

Reaffirm your key business objectives 

It may sound obvious, but take the time to reaffirm your key objectives as a business. Familiarise yourself with the current business structure, mission and goals. Assess the company culture and nail down what you want from your next recruit. Skills are an obvious area to get clarity on, especially in Data Science recruitment, but many companies now want a great personality fit too. So what type of person behind the CV are you looking for? What qualities and experiences are essential and desirable?

Thoroughly knowing your key objectives when it comes to hiring is a vital starting point to making the best hire possible, and helps to cut the wheat from the chaff before you get too far into the recruitment process. 

Nurture your talent pool to attract the right candidates

Attracting high-quality candidates is half the battle with Data Science, Engineering or Analytics recruitment (or any recruitment space!). So bring out the best in your candidates by creating a thoroughly targeted talent pool that you can contact for your future roles, and nurture these relationships accordingly. 

Actively meet new prospects at job fairs and networking events in the industry, and make a point to nurture these relationships by keeping up to date with their career developments and follow-up on initial communications. This helps to reduce recruitment costs through community-driven sourcing methods, and can even facilitate faster hiring by engaging with a ready-made pool of candidates.

You could even introduce an employee referral scheme, as current employees are likely to recommend individuals they think would fit into the company well. 

Getting to know your talent pool takes time and dedication, but it is worthwhile. Having a fair idea of a candidate’s experiences, qualifications and expectations of a new role before the initial application stage instead of blindly putting people forward for roles they may not be suitable for is always the best approach. 

Build brand awareness within the tech community  

You can enhance the quality of applicants to your roles by attracting those who are aligned with your company’s mission and values. You can do this by building brand awareness within the tech community by demonstrating thought leadership at speaking events, podcasts, and other industry events. This leveraging of brand visibility events are great for talent scouting and also helps you to gain competitive insights through interactions and discussions within the community and industry.

Utilise a multi-faceted assessment approach 

Sometimes a single interview simply isn’t enough to be sure that you’re truly getting the right person for a job. Whether it’s a one-on-one interview, or a group panel, using a multi-faceted assessment approach is a thorough way to ensure you’re enhancing your chances of making a good hire. 

You should be looking beyond their application and at their skills through practical assessments, challenges and presentations to evaluate a candidate’s capabilities. A personality test to screen their compatibility with their potential team structure could also work well depending on the role available. 

Developing an interview process that features multiple stages will incorporate various crucial elements to ensure a good hire; technical, behavioural and situational capabilities. This all helps you to assess a candidate’s suitability for a role thoroughly, improving your chances of finding the right person for the position. 

Promote diversity and inclusion

Building a dynamic workforce or talent pool requires the promotion of diversity and inclusion in all aspects. According to XpertHR, just 38% of UK organisations have an internal budget for diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The study also shares that the most common ways employers are integrating DEI into the recruitment process are by ensuring that there is more than one person on every interview panel (75%) and making selection decisions against an objective measure of the candidate’s ability and potential (72%).

So what else can you do to promote diversity and inclusion in hiring?

A good place to start is to use neutral language in job descriptions and invite people from a diverse range of backgrounds to apply. Eliminate unconscious bias at the selection stages by removing personal information (names, age, gender, etc) to focus solely on qualifications and experience. Encourage your team to use diverse imagery in any online company materials, and emphasise workplace flexibility benefits with remote working and other accommodations to suit various lifestyles. 

Diversity, equality and inclusion are integral to modern business recruitment and retention strategies – but many companies are only just beginning to invest in this area. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce enhances reputation and it should be a significant part of your approach to attracting and hiring potential candidates.

Want to learn more about this? You can catch up on the Data Idols webinar ‘Diversity and Inclusion in the Recruitment World’ to learn more about this topic from experts in the field.

Give a realistic overview of your company to the candidate

It works both ways when it comes to employers and employees. Both parties should feel that this hire is mutually beneficial. This is often an oversight, but actively giving the candidate a realistic overview of your company can help them decide if they think they are a good fit for the business. If a fast-paced environment working under pressure isn’t for them, they’ll be able to rule out their suitability for the job for themselves!

You can provide a detailed company background over email during the early talking stages and reiterate points during the interview that you think may be relevant to them. For example, if your candidate is keen on career development within the next couple of years, emphasise training and development opportunities within your company.

By assisting in setting expectations of responsibilities, challenges and career growth paths, you’re also ensuring that the potential new hire is aware of the job environment on a wider scale. Providing this overview can also give a useful background of the company culture.

By following the above steps, you can increase the likelihood of hiring candidates who not only possess the necessary skills but also align with the values and culture of your organisation, contributing to long-term success and employee satisfaction.

Five common mistakes made in interviews by the interviewer

There are many common pitfalls in interviews that can be made not only by the candidate but also by the interviewer. From not letting the applicant explain their answers fully, to being tricked by the ‘halo effect’ to fill positions quickly, there’s a lot that can be mismanaged at the interview stages.

Here we’re highlighting five of the most frequent mistakes made by interviewers and how you can avoid them with job interview tips for the other side of the table:

  • 1. Failing to read applications properly

It may be down to time management issues or even using AI tools in the recruitment process, but if you don’t thoroughly read a candidate’s application before inviting them for an interview, it can be disastrous. From their initial application answers and CV, you will get a well-informed overall view of their fit for a role. Skipping this information means you are setting yourself up for a fall at the first hurdle when it comes to leading a good interview. 

To beat this, thoroughly check through your list of talent applications before offering an interview, and only refer those for interview when you can be sure of a good possible fit. Whether you’re conducting interviews over video call or in person, always refer to aspects of their CV, such as qualifications and certifications, and show an interest in their career development goals. It’ll put the candidate at ease and it also shows that you’ve done your homework on them.

  • 2. Asking ineffective interview questions

To correctly evaluate a candidate’s experience and expertise, it is crucial to formulate your interview questions appropriately to not only get the best out of them in that environment but to also hold the most efficient interviews possible. Avoid asking anything irrelevant to the role or rhetorical where an ambiguous answer could be given – this helps no one and can be misleading. 

Work with your business hiring team closely to help create the most effective set of interview questions, and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions to find out more. A conversational style of interview rather than a rigid question-answer-question scenario will always result in better communication where the candidate can be their true selves. Also, be sure to ask questions that directly pertain to the job description and outlined responsibilities.

  • 3. Not clearly explaining the company values and purpose

A recent study by PR firm Berkeley Communications found that ‘businesses which lack clear brand values and a defined company purpose are at risk of losing their current employees and even putting off prospective employees’. The survey found that 75% of respondents believed that a company’s purpose is an important aspect of their current or prospective employer, and half (52%) of people said that they would never join a company whose values do not agree with their own. 

A clear explanation of company values and purpose should be provided early on in the recruitment stages, which could be directly in the job description and reiterated at interviews, giving the candidate a chance to ask questions to find out more about the human element of the company.

The Berkeley Communications study also highlighted that businesses may be losing out on top talent with 20% of respondents raising concerns over the use of ‘meaningless or misleading terms’ in job descriptions. This is something to bear in mind when drafting those important job descriptions as this is often the very first piece of communication between your company and potential new hire.

  • 4. Speaking more than listening

Another common mistake recruiters make when interviewing potential new hires is speaking more than listening. There is a real danger in that you may inadvertently answer a candidate’s questions for them without realising if you’re over-explaining questions or elaborating on a point. This putting-words-in-their-mouth approach will not be useful when it comes to going over key details to make a final decision and can blur your impression of their interview performance.

You may also fall into the trap of overselling the position available to the applicant. It makes sense that you want to fill the position with a skilled worker, but overselling can result in unrealistic expectations of the role and a new employee that doesn’t match the company well. 

It is also worth aiming to avoid drifting into unnecessary discussions which can sidetrack the subject at hand and work as a distraction for both yourself and the candidate. Keep to a loose interviewing structure to keep the conversation flowing smoothly, without sounding like an interrogation or a casual chat with your friend down the pub. Find a middle ground that works to get the very best out of your candidate, that puts them at ease and also helps you to make effective hiring decisions.

  • 5. Believing you’ve found the right candidate straight away 

Sometimes it takes time to absorb the information you’ve been given during a successful interview you’ve conducted. You may instinctively believe that you’ve found the perfect person for a role; after all, they made a great first impression, everything looks good on paper and they have excellent references. This is also known among hiring managers as the ‘halo effect’. Following this first impressive encounter in your hiring journey, you may unconsciously write off other potential candidates you have lined up – which could be a big mistake! 

To avoid jumping in and offering the first person you’ve been influenced by the position, hold objective interviews for all of the applicants in the talent pool you’ve created and be sure to check that they would fit into the company culture and that mutual values align well. Take the time to review their answers again once the post-interview high has dissipated to get a clear view of them. These extra steps post-interview make it much more likely that you’ll find a suitable candidate to fill your role and won’t find yourself back at the drawing board in a few months. 

So if you’re looking for your best chances of making a good hire, remember to always:

  • Know your business objectives inside and out 
  • Foster your talent pool by leveraging talent-attracting community methods 
  • Research candidates thoroughly and tailor interview techniques 
  • Use multi-faceted assessments during the recruitment stages 
  • Give a realistic view of your company to the candidates to manage expectations
So there you have it, the Data Idols tips and advice on how to find the best chance of making a good hire for your business. If you’re a data recruiter and would like more information, be sure to reach out to us or take in more insights on our Data Hub where you’ll find further data recruitment guides and resources.

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