What I learned from hiring mistakes
In Singapore the acceptance of failure is close to non-existent. No matter how unrealistic zero failure may seem, failure is not an option.
And I believe that mindset catalyze the pent-up, over-stressed Singaporeans you see on the street talking to themselves, but that is another story.
Personally I feel there are great lessons to be learned from mistakes and I for one love to admit mne. Because that really drives in the nail that what you've done didn’t work. Not accepting failure is not acknowledging the wrong moves made. If the Captain of Titanic acknowledged the hazard the ice berg presented, we probably won’t be watching a 3D movie about it now.
And in a trade that carries a 60% attrition rate as a norm (we are much lower, believe me), we have our fair share of case studies to reflect on. This slowly molded our expectations, our directions and ultimately our requirements.
And these are the few things I have learned from my hiring mistakes:
Getting a kid to do an adult’s job – Recruitment is a pretty tight market and good recruiters are hard to come by. We hired fresh school leavers before and it always bombed! The only time it didn’t was because she was an intern first and that gave us the chance to evaluate closely.
There are certain skill sets that is a must to truly become a successful recruiter. Confidence, knowledgeable and tactful communication. You don’t find such combination in most school leavers.
First 2 weeks is a good gauge of future behavior - Often we get employers getting us to extend the guarantee period for our placements. Seriously I think you can see through everything in the first 2 weeks.
And note that period is already being suppressed intentional. We had this guy who was late almost every other day during the first 2 weeks. Guess how punctual he become 3 months down the road. Unfortunately this can’t be sieved out during the interview process. But cutting your loss in 2 weeks is better than doing so 3 months later.
Zero overtime – Recruitment isn’t a 9-to-5 job. I have never seen anyone who performed (albeit occasionally) without putting in a couple hours now and then. Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple with just 8 hours a day. The sacrifice of personal time to devote to a craft (especially during the initial stages) is a great indication of the individual commitment to the craft itself.
Needless to say, the recruiters that didn’t make it always knock off on the dot.
Born with a silver spoon – When you always have a cushy back-up plan, what will drive you to push beyond your call of duty to perform? The answer is you won’t. I know I won’t if I’m born rich. So now when I look at application form and I see your parents are directors of the same company, I will give you a miss.
Too much social life – Facebook and Twitter is fun… until it takes up 7.5 hours of the 8 hours day. It hits everyone but most have the discipline and self-control to do what’s important first. Some we hired just didn’t. You walk to the printer, they are tweeting. You came back from the gents, they are updating their Facebook status.
And because it is so much like a drug where you take to escape from work stress, so the worse you are performing, the more you will want to facebook and tweet. Any new hires I will try to find their Facebook and Twitter profile. I’m not interested in their bitching. I’m only interested to see how often they need their social media fix and if I could live with that frequency.
Ultimately it is really a matter of perception. All these aren’t mistakes to you if you can accept it. And you can probably apply to be the next captain of Titantic.
Adrian Tan, Managing Director, RecruitPlus Consulting Pte Ltd