Mistakes to avoid when hiring

Hiring methods have changed and so has the process to get a job. Here you will be able to realize mistakes you might be making and open your eyes for the future.
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Written by
Ontop Team

 Mistakes to avoid when hiring

Hello again, many of our readers asked for more tips about the hiring process. So the Ontop crew is back to share our expertise.  Previously we talked about the changes that came with Covid and which ones are here to stay and the retooling process. Today we will talk about the other side of the coin. Not only the changes but the mistakes that can be made when hiring a new person to your company, specifically if it's remote and international. 

Overwhelming your candidates 

Many HR managers can come up with really handy yet difficult tasks for the candidate to get done. But why would they do that? That only makes the candidates even more nervous and can block their skills and abilities from shining through. 

Many consultants perform DEI assessments (diversity, equity & inclusion) which means combing through quantitative data, qualitative data and process documentation when the ideal thing would be to mimic a real assessment. Then they are asked to complete a few small deliverables that nearly mirror the company's assessment process.  

Consider this framing for designing a practical exercise: What type of skill do you want to teach to a person you hire for this job? This is the key element to make sure you don't mess things up. Get to know what your boss is willing to teach or what they have time to talk about with the candidate. You have to know what kind of set of skills your candidate needs to have. 

Assigning projects lacking clarity of what you want 

Companies initially let the candidates have autonomy without knowing exactly what the projects were about.  This was a common occurrence in the early days of mismanaged companies.

This meant that people were demonstrating and practicing very different types of skills. Why not organize the same project for everyone since there is a certain profile that’s sought after.   Companies quickly realized that they “couldn’t compare apples-to-apples with this approach,” according to Kofman-Burns. The other problem with assigning candidates in-flight projects they were currently working on is that they didn’t always know what the ‘right answer’ was.

Rotating to the same anonymous assessment project for each candidate addressed both challenges. During Ontop’s assessment, it’s work that our team has done many times and we have a clear sense of what the end result should look like, so we’re able to judge all candidates with a method in mind. 

Keeping up with expectations: hard task

Ontop knows what type of candidates they want to hire, so why not share that vital info?
In a real-life scenario, an employee should have a sense of what you are looking for in a qualified candidate. So there’s no reason to make candidates guess during the remote hiring process — unless what you are trying to evaluate is how good someone is at guessing what you want.

When assigning folks the practical exercise according to Peoplism, it clearly lays out what they are hoping to see on a macro (general competencies) and micro (how to complete each section) level.

Here are some excerpts from the introduction to the project that they send candidates:

In this particular case they were looking for critical thinking and analysis skills. Wanting you to share high-level insights, and be able to support those high level insights with the supporting details that lead you to your conclusions.

Time is money 

Unfortunately it is very common to see in the corporate world a lot of practical exercises that are meant to take 4-5 hours for a candidate to complete without paying them  and here at Ontop we find that quite harsh and unfair.  It’s especially oppressive to underrepresented people, who often have to apply to a lot more roles in order to get a job offer. So what Ontop experts recommend is: If there is no intention of  paying candidates to complete a take-home exercise, keep it under two hours.

We at Ontop like to have informal conversations so we can break the ice and really get to know who we are going to hire. Our hiring experts at Ontop seek top quality international talent, and we always try to get to know our candidates beyond the hard skills. Since Ontop is a remote company it is very important to find the right cultural fit and qualifications.  It’s good to keep every type of business aware of common mistakes, like asking for a 10 hour task and not paying them. 

In those cases candidates are paid an hourly rate that matches what their salary would be if they were doing the job full time. That’s why specially for startups, like Ontop it’s extremely important to get your hiring right. It’s worth it for us to invest time and money so we can get a fuller picture of someone’s work quality. 

Look for diversity in candidates

One of the biggest mistakes hiring managers make is not having a diverse set of candidates.

Diversity can include many aspects like: age, experience, background, race, and gender, all of which help bring diversity of thought. Making a company diverse will surely make it more successful and keep organizations growing and progressing.

Here at Ontop we receive a lot of praise for our diverse team, it is one of our most beautiful and fulfilling assets. With a diversified workforce, you stand a better chance of attracting different types of people who might not otherwise apply for positions at your company. Being a diverse and inclusive company also brings new perspectives to your organization, which helps it grow.

Look at yourself and don’t expect or look for someone exactly like you or the team. The most amazing thing in diversity is flourishing new ideas, embracing new cultures and complementing each other. An outside perspective is often key to skyrocket your company to greater success.

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