Recruiting to overcome the "We've always done it this way" fallacy

29th Jul 2020
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Hiring managers often find themselves in a situation where a long-serving employee departs and an extensive search for a successor ensues. Perhaps everyone in the team had become accustomed to and comfortable with the way the employee worked, making the hiring process a case of finding a carbon-copy in the right place, at the right time.

Short of a miracle, this approach rarely comes to fruition. The odds are stacked against being able to find a professional doppelganger of the departing employee during the hiring time window from the notice period to the leaving date. In the quest of finding a characteristically similar candidate, the process is often delayed, which then bites into the handover period and transition.

The delays then, in turn, frustrate those involved in the hiring process and they might end up making a decision that may not be in the best interests of the business at the time, which could prove costly. Remember, the average cost of recruiting an employee for an SME is about £12,000, including the hidden cost of the time devoted to the recruitment process. In case of failure to find the version 2 of the outgoing employee, if a hasty decision of hiring just about anyone is made and it does not work out, the costs would need to be outlaid again.

To get the best recruitment return on the investment, the hiring managers need to step out of their comfort zone and look for the candidate who is best for business, rather than what would generally be described as a good fit.

  • Do away with rigid requirements: Whilst hiring a bookkeeper, for instance, it is of little consequence whether they had used the accounting software used by the business. Most mainstream accounting software are similar and a quick learner would have no trouble transitioning fairly swiftly. Hence, eliminating candidates on this basis alone would shrink the pool and the business might miss out on great potential.
  • Hire for potential instead of experience: A candidate who has already accomplished the same tasks day in and day out would likely be looking for new skills in their next role. It is the hunger for new experiences that drives and motivates many candidates. Moreover, it is the candidates like that who would be more likely to pick up more tasks with time and take some of the things off the managers’ plates. For example, if an AP clerk has good knowledge of the VAT guidelines and has reviewed the AP Register for quarterly VAT returns submissions, they would be perfectly capable of performing the VAT returns themselves with a little bit of training.
  • Look for disruptors: By no means does that imply hiring someone who would bring a boom box to the office and interrupt a board meeting with a little dance! Disruptors in business are employees who view things as what they could be like for best results. As an example, an SME in London hired a disruptor pre-Covid who proposed some changes to the management. The accounting software used by the business already had the capability to keep digital files on record, but the business was still printing out invoices received via email! It cost the business nothing to go paperless, instead it saved time, money and paper waste. The Directors couldn’t be more grateful for the change when a digital audit took place during the Covid crisis!

It can certainly be very comfortable to keep doing business the way it has always be done, but to move forward and be more efficient and effective, it’s always a good idea to shake things up a bit!