That’s why it’s so crucial for recruiters to recognize their own biases when making hiring decisions, so they can promptly put them aside, said HR expert Simone Allan, director of Mondo Search.
“Everyone has some level of opinion when they meet someone new; if you place 10 people in a row, you’ll find that you do form an opinion on each one before you even speak to them,” Allan said.
“They may remind you of an uncle, past friend or acquaintance or even someone on the news. Recruiters need to put these opinions aside and look past appearances so that they remain neutral and open.”
The wrong hire can “cost three times the salary of a great hire”, Allan said, after you factor in the loss of productivity, workplace disruption and new hiring costs.
So when you’re interviewing, it’s important to focus on competency and attitude.
“You need to try not to get swamped by presentation style, and look for the right attitude instead. People can look right who are wrong [for the role], and you can miss opportunities of people who look wrong but are right. I like to call them the ‘Shreks’ of your business,” Allan said.
“If you reflect on every great hire you’ve made or every great person you’ve worked with, the most critical factor is often a positive, ‘can do’ attitude – a willingness to help and go the extra mile. This attribute will always outweigh great knowledge or skills, as you can teach new skills and educate, but you can’t change a person’s attitude.”
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Your best employees may not have charisma, good looks and confidence, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily unsuited to the job at hand.