During the hiring process, many managers encounter something you might call the "Reverse Frog Prince Phenomenon." In the story of the Frog Prince, a prince is turned into a frog and can only return to being a prince if he finds his perfect match. Hiring managers, however, often interview someone who seems like a prince or princess--the perfect match--only to have a frog show up on the first day of the job.
When it happens, we usually blame the applicants for hiding their true selves in the interview. But when you think about it, of course they did! People who want a job tries to project the best possible image of themselves. Sometimes they do lie to create this positive image, but they usually believe what they're projecting--that they're efficient, effective, and skilled. Who is going to go into a job interview and admit they can't meet deadlines, are the slowest person in their office, and have outdated skills?
It's up to you to create processes that ensure you're getting a good look at the real person you're interviewing. When it comes to screening applicants, there tend to be seven key mistakes that that keep us from finding the right employee for the job.
UNDERVALUING THE COVER LETTER
If your hiring system allows applicants to submit a cover letter, give first consideration to those who submit one, especially if you ask for one. Those who don't are basically telling you that they can't or don't care to follow instructions. A lack of a cover letter may also indicate a lack of real interest in the position--the person might be randomly sending out resumes for any job that's open.
A cover letter can also indicate the quality of an applicant's communication skills. Poor grammar, typos, and a heading of "Dear Sir or Madam," tell me that a person at minimum lacks attention to detail, has poor communication skills, and possibly doesn't care to take the time to find out who the letter should be addressed to.
ALLOWING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRECONCEPTIONS
A person's name and address can cause you to create a mental picture of the person. As much as you aim for an unbiased screening process, this information allows unconscious biases to affect the hiring process. A good practice is to erase or mark out the applicant's name and address, and let his or her accomplishments speak for themselves.
SPENDING TOO LONG ON THE FIRST REVIEW
Save the word-for-word reading for the second and third rounds of reviews. On the first round, look for things that...