Hiring is like buying a house

Published: 30 Jul 2021

When people are your biggest asset, it’s so disappointing when you get them wrong. It drains resources, is time consuming and stressful.
Doing your due diligence on candidates, in an effective way, before hiring them, is absolutely essential if you want to avoid heart sinking mistakes.
I liken the process of recruiting someone to buying a house. Here’s my analogy.
The written details
The estate agency property details get you interested and entice you to drive or walk past the house.
This is equivalent to the CV and cover letter or application form. If well written, this excites you and compels you to want to meet the individual and invite them to an interview.
The quick glimpse
Looking at the house from the outside, you see what you can see. Is it in the right location? Attractive from the front? How close to neighbours? From this, you decide whether you think it’s worth booking an appointment. You get a very brief, superficial view of the property but it’s difficult to make a decision to make an offer based on this glimpse. 
In my analogy, this is the equivalent of an unstructured interview where there is no prearranged format or questions. Instead questions change based on the flow of the conversation. Very informal. Unfortunately, these types of interviews have as much chance of predicting success in the role as studying a candidate's handwriting. The odds are stacked against you making the right decision.
More of a look around
Imagine you turn up for this appointment, meet the agent and find they’ve forgotten the keys. While they race back to the office in search of the keys, you spend 15 minutes looking round the garden and peering through the windows trying to work out if you like the place.  You can see parts of the downstairs, get an idea of the style, see how light and airy or dark and dingy it is.  You start getting a feel of the place, but you want the complete picture before you put in an offer.
This is your structured interview. You have a set of open questions and a structure to follow, to encourage candidates to tell you all about their relevant skills and qualities and potential to bring value to your organisation.  But you wouldn't offer them a job based on this. 
The real insight
Back at the house, you’re waiting for the agent to arrive back with the keys. You’re desperate to go inside, walk around at leisure, look carefully into each room, in the cupboards, and see what’s it’s really like.  
This close inspection is the middle part of a structured recruitment process, the job-related tasks and psychometric assessments. It’s where you see if they can do the job and how they get on working with others in a team. It’s the most revealing part, and the part that is often missed out, especially when business owners are in a rush to hire someone yesterday.
Don’t skip it
When you’re making the decision on whether to buy a house, you wouldn’t dream of skipping the detailed viewing.
Nor should you, when hiring a new member of staff.
Having a structured recruitment process in place is key to thoroughly checking whether you want this person representing your brand and working with you in your team.
If you’d like to find out how to put a system in place that is far more effective than peering through windows, please get in touch.
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