small_4059486159Who doesn’t like a good hack? In fact, entire work cultures have been based off the hacker mentality. Finding a faster, cheaper or more efficient way to do things is intrinsic to most HR and recruiting professionals.

The term “work smarter, not harder” comes to mind when developing hacks in business. Thinking outside of the box to get something accomplished is what hacks are all about. Here are 9 quirky and unexpected hiring hacks from myself and a few other HR and recruiting professionals.

The 30 Minutes Decision Pause

Lou Adler, CEO of consulting firm, The Adler Group warns us about the dangers of a bad hire, and quickly that poor decision is made. Adler said,

“More hiring mistakes are made in the first 30 minutes of a job interview than at any other time. When interviewers meet candidates they like, they maximize the positives and ignore the negatives.”

We all do it, we make snap judgments that lead to snap decisions. Fight that urge to make to make an instant decision and take at least 30 minutes after the interview before making a decision.

Think Job, Not Position

When companies hire for a position, they are pigeonholing this new employee and putting limitations on management. Clear and realistic job descriptions and expectations should always be communicated and followed through on, but it should be understood by all parties that they are taking a job, not a position. That is to say that the ultimate goal is to drive the success of the company, not check things off of a list of duties.

This is one that I feel passionate about. When you hire someone for a job rather than a position, you give them a chance to use all of their skills, not just the ones listed on a job board. Furthermore, you are less likely to hear those ugly words, “That’s not in my job description” because you’ve weeded them out.

Hire with Stages of Business in Mind

So it’s another one from Lou Adler, but it’s a great one. As someone who has been with a company through its various stages of growth, I find this piece of advice to be very accurate. Adler defines the four basic stages of growth for a company and their corresponding ideal worker. The thinker, builder, improver and producer should be your target hires in the evolving stages of business.

Get Less Time-to-Fill Minded

There are one billion (completely made up statistic) different reasons that a bad hire occurs, but time-to-fill is an extremely common reason. The pressure on HR and recruiting pros to get that position filled yesterday can lead to serious expense and strain on the company when a bad hire is the result. contributor Margaret Heffernan believes that longer trial periods are the answer to a great hire. Heffernan said,

“The hiring manager and the new hire both need time to get to know one another. Build that time into the agreement so that both can call it off if the fit isn’t great. This freedom has to pertain on both sides so that no one feels terrified or exploited–just free to do their best and tell the truth.”

Given what I personally know about the cost of a bad hire, this solution makes a lot of sense.

LinkedIn Trumps the Resume

This is true for so very many reasons. Firstly, the public nature of a LinkedIn profile, combines with real professional connections lends itself to the promise of more accurate and honest information. Secondly, LI provides decision makers with more complete picture of the candidate’s experience, skills, personal brand and networking ability. Last but not least, it is a great place to source and engage with great candidates who don’t even know they are candidates.

Stop Hiring for Interview Skills

Short and sweet –stop hiring candidates for their great resume writing and interviewing skills. Unless you’re hiring a professional candidate, it just doesn’t make sense.

Get Out of the Office

For lower level employees, a thoughtful trial period is helpful, but for hiring up the ladder, getting out of the interview room is essential. Scott Lerner, founder of Solixir suggests going to a few lunches or taking a tour of the company. Leaving the confines of the interview room is where you can establish a match. Lerner said,

“First and foremost, I like to get them out of the standard environment and understand who the candidate is as a person,” he says. “Will they want to work for me? Will they work well in our culture?”

Conduct an Engagement Check

Josh Warborg, District President of the Robert Half Group, recommends looking for those who have a history of being engaged at work. A lot of successful companies have obtained their top talent by honing in on a history of engagement. Warborg said that references will give you great insight on their level of engagement,

“Those people leave a trail of people who are raving fans, and will cite things like their desire and drive.”

Incorporate Retention Issues into the Interview Process

Greg Rokos of GreenJobInterview talks about bringing known retention issues into the interviewing process. He suggests asking questions like,  “Are you able to be a self-starter in times when resources for assistance or guidance might be sparse?” This is a great question for a company at which management is notorious for not clearly defining goals or communicating expectations. This type of leadership is known to cause higher turnover rates. While a recruiter might not be able to affect management, they can certainly try to hire those who can work in that sort of environment.

Out of these 9 hiring hacks, I certainly hope that you find one helpful. These won’t work for every organization, but trying new things is how we grow in the hiring process. As the war for great talent gets tougher, our processes must evolve. Try something new and see how it goes!

photo credit: Robbie Grubbs via photopin cc