Imagine the scene: After years of doing more with less and squeezing staffers for all the productivity they’ve got, the time has come to hire a new addition to your finance team. The call goes out, the candidates come in. You interview and select …
…the wrong person for the job.
It happens – frequently. And it costs. Two thirds (66%) of U.S. employers admit a bad-fit employee has had a measurable negative impact on their workplace.
That’s according to a recent survey from the folks at CareerBuilder.com.
We’re not talking about little consequences either. Among those employers struggling with this situation, more than a quarter (27%) say a single bad hire resulted in losses greater than $50,000.
And considering all the sensitive responsibilities your finance staffers have, your department is particularly at risk for these high-stakes hits.
So what can you do to ensure you make the right call when putting someone new on your payroll?
6 strategies that find just the right fit
We’re scoured the Web for the best advice on zeroing in on just the right hire for your department. (Some of which just may fly in the face of what you thought you were supposed to be looking for.)
- Pick the specialist over the generalist. “Jack of all trades and master of none.” Unless you’re a one-person operation, you may be better off picking the candidate who’s really good at a specific skill you need rather than merely proficient at all of them. Think about your finance staff more like a football team: You want someone who’s a whiz at Excel, another who can schmooze any customer, internal or external, another who’s worked in a bank and very familiar with electronic treasury functions.
- Skip the ads. You’re better off starting with your own network when seeking someone new for Finance. Here’s why: 77% of top biz leaders find their top performers by tapping their own professional (and personal) networks. Odds are you may already have a great fit in your contact list – or at least the person who can put you in touch with that individual.
- Take enough time. Too many companies jump the first time they see someone who seems to fit the bill. But that could lead to one of those costly hiring mistakes. Best guide: Interview 3-5 well-qualified people for a given position before you make any decision.
- Consider your corporate (and Finance) culture. This has sunk many a promising new hire – they looked great on paper but just don’t fit in within the organization. What does your company value most? Are you performance-driven? Also consider the culture within Finance itself: Is it an we’re-all-in-this-together kind of atmosphere where staffers all jump in to help each other? Then you have to make sure the person you’re hiring can thrive in that kind of environment and isn’t an every-man-for himself type of employee.
- Don’t let HR lead the process. Many companies have Human Resources conduct the initial screening of candidates. But really, how much do they know about how Finance works day in and day out? Who does: your finance staffers. Consider letting some of your top performers perform first-level reviews of candidates. They narrow down the field and then you’re ready to bring those 3-5 best fits in.
- Make those reference calls yourself. One other task you don’t want to hand off to someone else: reference checking. Many hiring managers treat this step as a mere formality – as long as you don’t hear something extremely distressing, you’re good to go. But this is a real opportunity for you, as this person’s potential new boss, to learn a lot about this person. And talking manager to manager you’ll get a lot more insight than a call from HR can produce. This may be your last chance to find out about this person before you put him or her on your payroll. Make the most of it so you don’t make an expensive mistake.