Avoid a Costly Hiring Mistake: 3 Helpful Ways to Find a Candidate’s Hidden Easter Eggs

Can You Spot Your Candidate's Easter Eggs?Easter is over for another year and with it those colorful Easter eggs that are so much fun to decorate and hide. However, Easter eggs also have another meaning. They can be a secret feature or hidden message. Movies, video games, or software often have this kind of Easter egg. Small businesses can make a hiring mistake when they forget to search for these hidden messages and secrets. Did you know your candidates can also have Easter eggs? Some may be exactly what you need while others may have been left out in the sun too long and are starting to stink. There are several ways you can find your candidate’s Easter eggs.

Hiring Mistake #1: Ignoring your bias.

When you interview people for your business, look and listen not only for what you want and don’t want, but also for your own biases. We all have unconscious biases formed as we grow up that we learn from parents, teachers, community leaders, and friends. Based on our individual experiences, we form opinions and make judgments that may not always be correct.

I hated Brussels sprouts until I was forced to eat them in a social situation. Then I discovered properly prepared Brussels sprouts are delicious. Because I’d never had good ones, I decided that they were not for me. Because of my bias, I’d been missing out on this healthy food for years.

In business, we have preconceived ideas about people. We hear Millennials described entitled, lazy, and lacking a good work ethic. We Baby Boomers sit back and feel superior because we are hard workers who understand we must work our way up the ranks. Your bias may cause you to overlook some of the most talented people or to hire someone who just doesn’t fit in.

When you interview, be cognizant of your biases. This self-awareness is hard work; however, you will be better equipped to spot those Easter eggs.

Hiring Mistake #2: Failing to ask the right questions.

Discovering the truth about candidates requires strategic thinking about the information you need to make an informed decision. Strategically crafting interview questions is an art form that anyone can learn with a bit of time and effort. Interviews are the single most important piece of the hiring process, and yet, many of us fail to do them effectively.

Most small business owners ask traditional interview questions that have been used forever. Those questions don’t work. Savvy candidates have researched all the “correct” answers, and they have learned to tell us what we want to hear. We think we’re smarter by asking behavioral-based questions. Unfortunately, most of those questions give the candidate clues to the answer you want to hear.

The answer is to ask Insightful Interview™ questions to reveal a true picture of what a candidate is really like. One of my favorite Insightful Interview™ questions is “Could you tell me about a time when you lacked the knowledge or skills to complete a task?” This question requires more than a canned answer. We’ve all been in situations where our knowledge and skills were lacking. A candidate’s answer to this question reveals more substantial information than the canned response to the weaknesses question.

Find your candidate’s Easter eggs by asking Insightful Interview™ questions that reveal their values and behavioral characteristics. You can download my favorite question here.

Hiring Mistake #3: Getting a reality check.

A common hiring mistake is focusing only on your candidate’s skills and ignoring the more important attribute—cultural fit. Consider the mindset, personality traits, and behaviors your most successful employees possess because these are reflections of your company culture. If you were honest and examined the traits of the unsuccessful people you’ve hired in the past, you would probably find those traits were missing. You may even find a few Easter eggs you missed.

We listen to candidates answer our questions and wonder where the truth is. Most candidates have rehearsed answers to common questions and try to dazzle us with a lot of jargon and buzzwords while giving us little substance. When you strip away all the jargon and buzzwords, do you have an answer? Or do you have only words that lack substance? If you find something that doesn’t seem to fit, explore it further. You can ask more insightful questions and carefully consider whether the red flag can be overcome through mentorship or training.

Some of the worst hiring mistakes I’ve seen involve failing to see what’s right in front of you. The good news is that if you take the time to identify your perfect employee and apply some strategy to your recruiting process, you will find your candidate’s Easter eggs.

If you’re ready to find all your candidate’s Easter eggs, you may want to grab a copy of The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business. It’s packed with tools, templates, and step-by-step instructions to find your ideal candidate. Purchase your copy here or on Amazon.

Or, you might need some personalized insights. Click this link to schedule a complimentary Insight session. It’s an investment of 20 minutes of focused coaching that will pay huge dividends.