Beware of the slippery job candidate
Tuesday, September 04, 2018
Anyone trying to hire in today’s architecture and design community knows how challenging it can be to find good employees.
As the pool of high-quality candidates shrinks, some less than desirable ones are making the rounds, hoping the odds will be in their favor. Employers need to be extra vigilant to ensure they make a good hire.
Lately, in our firm, we have seen a proliferation in certain types of unsuitable candidates.
One is the shopper. This is the candidate that applies for just about any opening, whether they are qualified or not.
In fact, they apply for so many positions willy-nilly that when they are contacted about an opening, they frequently don’t follow up, not even to let the hiring manager know they are no longer interested. These candidates are just a waste of your time. Be thankful they don’t respond.
With many sole practitioners struggling to compete for clients these days, we are seeing more of them exploring the possibility of going to work for someone else. Many have years of experience successfully managing projects and their own businesses, in addition to demonstrated design skills.
Unfortunately, they may have had little or no experience as part of a team and are not always a good fit for employers. They prefer to be their own boss and can have a hard time adjusting to the requirements of working in a firm.
A third type is the prevaricator. Along with the shopper, we are encountering more of these kinds of candidates recently.
This is the candidate who overstates or exaggerates, and in some cases falsifies, their skills and experience. I can only guess they are hoping to land an interview and make a case for themselves, or they are thinking hiring managers are too busy to check out every detail on their resumes or in their portfolios.
Certainly it’s true that firms often are under pressure to hire quickly, if possible, and that can lead to trouble. From my perspective, most employers need to slow down the hiring process.
Check and verify all of a candidate’s information or claims, and follow up with each of their references. In addition, no matter how good a candidate may seem to be on paper or in a screening interview, test them for their skills and capabilities.
I also recommend testing for desired personality traits and values to ensure they will integrate into the firm’s culture and get along well with the other members of the staff.
What we are seeing at present is that good people in good firms are busily engaged in their current positions. They are not checking around looking for other opportunities.
Employers relying on passive forms of recruitment, like job boards and social media platforms, are not going to get the attention of the best talent. That only happens by working your network and engaging in personal outreach. You also have to do your homework to determine what type of offer, compensation and benefits you need to provide to compete for these folks.
For busy firms, finding the time to hire properly can be difficult. However, the costs of a bad hire — in dollars, time, productivity and firm morale — can be tremendous. There are services that can help you with many aspects of the hiring process to save time with your search and ensure you make the right choice.
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