4 Pieces of Conventional Hiring Wisdom You Should Ignore

4 Pieces of Conventional Hiring Wisdom You Should Ignore

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There are certain hiring practices that are better left ignored if you want to find a good culture fit.

My business partner Jeff and I recently hired our first full-time employee, and we were nervous. We knew that choosing the wrong employee could be a devastating hit to our business. Before extending an offer, we read a lot of research and talked to consultants about how to make a good hire. And ultimately, we went the other way on a lot of decisions.

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Here are some of the hiring myths we didn’t listen to and are all the better for:

Keep the Job Listing Vague
That’s the advice we got from an HR consultant. She thought that we’d included too much detail about the job responsibilities, and told us it was a bad idea to include a salary range in the listing itself. She thought we’d get far more applications by being less detailed about specifically what we wanted.

Chances are, she was right. But why would we want to waste applicants’ time, and ours, by encouraging them to apply for a job that wasn’t the right fit?

We wanted to be as clear, precise, and transparent as we possibly could to make sure anyone applying for the job had a solid understanding of what the role would entail and how much it would pay. We weren’t interested in playing the negotiation game. We told applicants from the get-go that we were a small business, so the salary was based on what we knew we could afford; instead of using an inflated number that would mean we’d have to lay someone off after a single bad month. If applicants weren’t willing to work for that amount or to do the (sometimes un-glamorous) work that needed to be done, we didn’t want to waste their time.

Don’t Include Anything in Your Listing That Might Turn People Off
Our HR consultant also flagged our use of the work “kick-ass” in the job description, suggesting that “energetic” might be a better synonym because she worried that the phase might offend some applicants.

We left it in. While we’re a very small team, Jeff and I still want to build a company culture. A culture where people are offended by the term “kick-ass” is not the one we’re looking for. Better to alienate someone in the initial job listing than have to walk on eggshells after we hire them.

Pay for Premium and Targeted Job Sites
If the role we’d been looking to fill were a highly-specialized technical role, we probably would have considered investing in targeted job site listings. But for our content marketing manager role, we knew there was a good chance we could find just the person we needed through free channels before spending any money to promote the ad. After all, being social media-savvy was one of the requirements, so we figured she/he could probably find us through the social media promotion that we’d done.

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