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Think Beyond Hiring Superstitions

When searching for a new hire it’s easy to fall into the traps laid by myths and superstitions surrounding that fraught moment when a company needs to fill a position. The truth is that while many of these superstitions may have some value to them, not every catchy word of wisdom applies to all companies or professions. Companies require their own search methods and incentives to find candidates who will bring energy and efficiency to the job, the kind executive search firms can develop them. Sticking to conventions may blind companies to the qualities they truly want in an employee and it can take outside help to think past the clichés.

Many believe that a quick and easy rule for injecting fresh energy and enthusiasm into a company is hiring younger candidates, but motivated and naturally energetic people will keep this quality regardless of their age. Another false step is relying exclusively on job boards where postings are flooded with applications and weeded out by criteria that may not account for intangibles like corporate values that executive search firms are equipped to evaluate.

Another misconception is the value of references and internal contacts and while these can be effective methods for finding employees who match a company’s corporate culture they may miss great workers in different networks. Thorough searches can complement referrals by providing a full picture of the available contenders and what they bring to the table. There is no single candidate who will match every expectation a company has and searching for the white whale can be a costly and time consuming process. Quality executive search firms facilitate lateral hires and pair companies with experienced, credentialed individuals, but holding out for an unavailable or mythical hire can drain a company’s resources.

Avoiding applicants that are currently working as consultants or who appear to have held too many jobs over their career can also be a mistake. More than ever talented workers change positions and even swap careers and companies can miss them if they don’t investigate the context or the kind of work behind these negative appearances. Companies that offer incentives like autonomy and creative development are going to keep skilled and desirable talent, whereas companies that screen for long term commitment may be losing the opportunity to land them in the first place. IQ Partner co-founder Randy Quarin encourages companies to integrate their compensation plans into their recruitment strategies, and compensation, while not the only factor at play, is always an important factor in retention. Executive search firms often offer strategies for retaining employees that advise that more recognition, feedback and appreciation can also be effective and low-cost means of curtailing turnover.

A good source for more information on recruitment strategies and employee retention is IQpartners.com, which offers a free guide to recruiter-proofing a company. In a large and diverse job market, often repeated clichés may in fact hold a company back from finding the right person for the job. Recruiters know these traps and pitfalls and focus instead on networking, analysis and matching a company’s real needs to potential applicants. Companies based in competitive job markets such as Toronto have the benefit of access to Toronto recruiters like IQ Partners that rely on expertise and industry knowledge instead of superstitious hiring conventions.

About James Carey

James Carey