Benchmark Business Group

Costly Hiring Mistakes

June 18, 2019

In business, the general rule of thumb is to be slow to hire, because hiring the wrong people can be a costly mistake. In the financial services industry, this is especially true.

For most positions, you have to find team members that can do the work, pass the right background checks, and obtain their license.

Hiring often isn’t an easy or fast process. Which is why it’s so important to find the right person. Yet, in most agencies when you’re down even one person you can feel the pressure to hire soon. There’s often a real need to hire quickly so that training and licensing can get started.

We’ve noticed this leads to many agencies settling for less than the ideal candidates. They focus on hiring someone that’s the best they can find right now. Instead of waiting to hiring the person that’s best for the position. Once the hiring process begins, how you evaluate a candidate shouldn’t change if you get 100 resumes or just five.

The question isn’t, “Are we finding the right person out of these resumes?”

Instead the question is, “Are we finding the best person for this position?”

It may not seem like a big difference, but lowering your standards for a position is something that will have a daily impact on your business. It’s okay to go through an entire stack of resumes and decide you don’t have the right person. You don’t have to pick someone just because they are the best out of this batch. Instead, use these three steps to help make sure your business doesn’t lower its standards on finding the best person for the position.

  • Understand the Top Characteristics - You need to know what characteristics are needed for the position. Without creating a solid list of characteristics it’s easy to settle. A candidate might be the best out of the current applicants. They’ll do okay... or will they? It all depends on what your business needs from that position. This is your baseline, the list that you never go below.
  • Focus Interview Questions on the Characteristics - Once you know who you are looking for you need to ask questions that help you determine if the person fits the characteristics you need for that position. Interview questions are often canned and lead to very obvious right or wrong answers. You’ll want to craft interview questions that draw out natural reactions by using situational or behavioral-based questions. Some examples are:
    • Ability to multi-task: “You’re alone in the office and on the phone with a client. At that time, someone walks in the door. What do you?”
    • Ability to learn: Explain an insurance concept to them. Encourage them to take notes and ask questions, because they’ll need to know it later. Wait a period of time and ask them, in their own words, to explain that concept back to you.
  • Have a Way of Evaluating each Characteristic - It’s easy to get sidetracked. To be so impressed with one set of characteristics, like they have a great personality, that you miss warning signs, like they don’t learn quickly.

Having a solid evaluation method ensures that you’re not settling for the best of today’s candidates. It raises the bar to ensure you're hiring people with the skills and characteristics specific to the position you're filling. There might be times when an entire batch of candidates are not right for the position. Don't pick the best from a mediocre batch of candidates and hope they work out! Evaluating based on the position needs will help you prevent this costly mistake.

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