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5 Common Hiring Myths Debunked

Nicole Fallon

Hiring a new employee is a big decision for businesses of any size. Whether it's your first hire or your hundredth, there are numerous factors that need to be considered before sending a job offer to a candidate.

This monumental task is made even more difficult by the conflicting advice hiring managers receive. Are job hoppers bad hires because they're disloyal, or should they be hired for their well-roundedness? Should you ignore résumés without any direct industry experience, or give those individuals the chance to start their careers? Do you set aside a decent candidate in the hope that your perfect employee will apply for the job?

In today's fast-paced, tech-driven world, the hiring and recruitment processes are changing, and old beliefs about job candidates are changing right along with them. Hiring and HR experts discussed five of common myths about hiring, and why you shouldn't believe they're true. [8 Tips for Hiring the Right Person for the Job]

Loyalty is judged by the candidate's employment history. Moving around from job to job every couple of years may not have the stigma it used to, but some hiring managers still raise an eyebrow at a "flaky" candidate who only holds jobs for short periods of time. However, organizations are starting to let this stereotype go: Sandy Mazur, a division president at Spherion staffing firm, noted that today's companies are more open to bringing in job hoppers, as these candidates are perceived as having the initiative to seek new challenges.

"Only eight percent of employers consider ... employment status the most important factor when making hiring decisions, indicating a greater interest in performance potential and cultural fit than recent work history," Mazur said, citing Spherion's 2015 Emerging Workforce Study. "Additionally, 63 percent of employees define loyalty [by] the contributions they make to their company, rather than the amount of time they work there."

For more information on why job hoppers actually make good hires, visit this Business News Daily article.

Candidates without related work experience shouldn't be considered. Employers tend to favor candidates with field experience for entry-level jobs. Robert LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, a "career matchmaker" for entry-level positions, believes hiring managers shouldn't discount candidates who don't necessarily have internships and other industry-related jobs under their belts.

"Employers should be hiring based on identifying the transferrable skills possessed by candidates that match the skills required for success in the position," LaBombard told Business News Daily. "[These] include attributes like critical thinking, time management, effective communication, interpersonal relations, leadership, etc."

Well-rounded candidates with a variety of experiences in areas like athletics, performing arts, student government and even nonprofessional service or retail jobs can bring a lot to the table, so LaBombard advised developing marketing strategies that sell your mission, culture and the types of skills that your company values.

"Your goal should be to attract as many candidates as possible that are interested in your company regardless of major or work experience," he said.

Interview answers will tell you everything you need to know about a candidate. A face-to-face or video interview with a job candidate is one of the most important tools you can use to evaluate a person's potential. But don't assume that a candidate who interviews well is automatically the right fit.

Dave Weisbeck, chief strategy officer at workforce analytics company Visier, said that compared to the magnitude of the decision, the amount of time spent speaking with a candidate in an interview is relatively small. Business decisions like developing a new product or entering a new market would never be trusted to an hour or two of questioning, he said.

"The problem is that even the best interviewers are prone to be influenced by things that aren’t important — the human brain is wired to misjudge talent," Weisbeck said. "The right approach to choosing a new hire includes not just interviews, but also assessments, tests and reference checks. [You should] seek to answer the question, does the candidate share attributes with our top performers in the same role? The result is a more balanced view of the candidate, based on both qualitative and quantitative data."

External hires are best for taking over the roles of retiring baby boomers. With the increasing number of older workers reaching retirement age, employers are finding themselves with a lot of leadership and management positions to fill. Spherion's study found that 82 percent of organizations do think recruiting millennials is essential for their future success, but nearly a quarter of all employers consider this their most challenging talent planning issue.

Mazur said that employers are hesitant to promote their own younger employees because of a lack of confidence in their job skills, and instead set their sights on external candidates. However, developing existing talent is often the better choice, both for the employer and the employee.

"Businesses are often forced to look outside of their own organizations for top talent, requiring greater investment in recruiting, onboarding and training than it would take to nurture existing employees' career development," Mazur said. "[There is] a need for more guided training and succession planning. As a result, companies can promote more capable and confident workers to higher levels internally instead of searching for and training external candidates."

LaBombard agreed that many employers underestimate the career-readiness of millennials, particularly due to concerns about their lack of work ethic and sense of entitlement. Mentor- and peer-based training can help younger employees acclimate quickly, and learn the required skills to perform well and move up the ranks, he said.

The perfect candidate is out there if you look hard enough. Some companies make the mistake of holding out for the "perfect" job candidate — one who meets every single criterion in the job description and is a flawless fit with the company culture. It's nice to think that your ideal employee is out there, but Weisbeck said that even if that person does exist (which he or she may not), he or she might not even be looking for a new job.

Finding the best person for a given position is almost always going to be a trade-off against quality, time and cost, Weisbeck said. By following smart hiring practices and recognizing a good fit when you find one, you won't waste your time — or the candidates' — and accidentally pass up a talented person just because he or she wasn't perfect.

Image Credit: Nenov Brothers Images/Shutterstock
Nicole Fallon Member
Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and briefly ran's copy and production team. Follow her on Twitter.