Hiring is a challenge. You need to attract the right talent in a low unemployment landscape and you need to keep costs in check.

Lots of employers, 74% according to a survey by Northwestern University, admit that they have made bad hiring decisions and hired the wrong person.

The pandemic created unprecedented unemployment, but when jobs came back we watched the Great Resignation unfold. Employees found out that working from home was viable, and in many cases, more productive. The flexibility that was extended to employees during the time of quarantine, school closures and lack of child care turned out to be perks that employees don’t want to relinquish.

So what’s a hiring manager to do? Higher salaries, better perks, work from home, flexibility and mental health benefits might get someone to apply, but you still need the right person for the job.

Don’t Rush the Process

A valuable employee left and now there is a gap in the team. Other employees are filling in for now, but they were already talking about burnout and this is adding fuel to the fire. You want to hire someone quickly who can step in and relieve the pressure.

Not so fast. Rushing the process is one of the ways that bad hires can happen. You need to move with urgency and not drag out the process or the candidate may be hired by someone else. But take the time to do what you need to do to ensure that a candidate that is a good fit for the position, the team and the organization.

Talk with the team leader and the people on the team. Get their input on what skills an ideal candidate will possess, and which skills are optional. You may be surprised to find that what they need and what you plan to hire don’t match up.

Polish the Job Description

Now that you have a better insight into what the team needs, address the job description. Be specific about the responsibilities, skills and experience that are key to being successful. Include only the essential skills required. List the soft skills that a successful candidate must possess, and prioritize them over skills that can be taught or learned on the job.

Involve Team Members

The current team are great hiring resources. Don’t just solicit their input, use them for peer interviews. Since they will be working most closely with the new hire and have better knowledge about the day to day needs of their department, they can offer valuable feedback on how each candidate might fit into the existing team.

Don’t Let Bias Interfere 

Bias can work both ways. If a candidate reminds you of your younger self, you may be more inclined to ignore skills gaps that will have negative consequences. On the other hand, a candidate who reminds you of a previous bad teammate or co-worker could negatively influence your reaction to an otherwise well suited candidate. Have a uniform interview process with objective metrics in place to mitigate possible biases.

If the team is particularly busy because of the open position, enlist the help of a recruitment professional who can work with you to streamline the hiring process while you deal with running day to day operations. A professional can give you insights into compensation, skills, and ways to conduct an unbiased hiring process.