Why You May Want to Think Twice About DIY Hiring
Sponsored by Robert Half International

Even in a job market with plenty of strong candidates, hiring the right one may not be as easy as you think.

May 2, 2011

Many projects may warrant a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, such as mowing the lawn, painting a room or starting a vegetable garden. But DIY hiring may not be such a good idea.

At first glance, hiring would seem to be a breeze in the current environment. After all, the job market is flooded with candidates eager to become gainfully employed. It's just a matter of placing an ad and sorting through the many résumés that flow in right? How hard can that be?

Like a lot of DIY projects, it can be a lot more difficult than you expected. Here's why:

  • Even with many job seekers on the market, finding the right person can be challenging.

    Thirty-seven percent of executives surveyed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report for the second quarter of 2011 said it is challenging to find skilled professionals today. Executives at companies with 250 or more employees reported the greatest hiring difficulty, with 46 percent of respondents in that group saying it is somewhat or very challenging to locate skilled candidates.

    Here's why: High unemployment and the ease of applying for positions online have encouraged desperate job seekers to hit "send" for just about any opening in their field. So, while hiring managers may be awash in résumés, it isn't easy to effectively screen such a large quantity of candidates. Worse, a large percentage of these candidates are likely not qualified for the position.

  • Hiring for even a single position is extremely time-consuming.

    The hiring process can eat up a lot of time even before managers reach the interviewing stage. They have to size up their needs, revisit the job requirements and description and develop a job ad. Then comes the really time-consuming process of screening résumés. According to an Office Team survey, a subsidiary of Robert Half International, executives spend 6.7 minutes, on average, screening each résumé received.

    After completing the process of screening applicants, the DIY manager still has to conduct interviews, decide on a candidate and negotiate an offer.

  • The best candidates may not answer your ad.

    Many employers are seeking accounting and finance professionals who can hit the ground running and handle a wide variety of responsibilities. But locating these candidates isn't easy. Professionals with in-demand skills may not respond to the typical employment ad posted online or in the newspaper. They know that finding the right job through an ad is akin to finding true love on a blind date — possible, but not likely. Also, the candidates you're trying to reach may already be employed full time or working as consultants. They may need to be persuaded to consider a new opportunity.

    It takes creativity and a combination of strategies to locate the right person for your opening and many hiring managers simply don't have the time or resources needed to conduct a thorough search.

  • Hiring managers often succumb to common pitfalls.

    Some managers believe only they can pick the right candidate for the job, but often they lose sight of their own requirements. They may not be as objective as an outsider would be, perhaps because they're also trying to envision applicants as colleagues.

    As a result, they often succumb to the "halo effect," the tendency to favor one candidate over another for the wrong reasons. Managers may be so impressed by one particular aspect of a candidate — appearance, credentials, interests and so on — that it colors their overall perception of the individual and causes them to possibly overlook a person's deficiencies in other areas. Also, they may rely too much on "gut" feelings and general impressions. These pitfalls are more likely to arise when a manager feels rushed to complete the hiring process. It takes less time, after all, to make a gut decision than to methodically rank each prospective hire against your predetermined requirements.

Know When to Go Pro

Like many DIY projects — that half-painted room or the deck that's still under construction in the backyard — go-it-alone hiring initiatives often drag on as other, more urgent priorities take center stage. And what may have initially seemed like a smart or thrifty decision ends up costing you a lot more than you envisioned in time, money, lost productivity and sheer aggravation.

If recruiting is on your agenda this year, know what you're getting into before joining the ranks of do-it-yourselfers. Assess the local job market and talk to other hiring managers about their recent experiences and the pros and cons of the DIY approach. And recognize when you could use help. Whether you want to outsource the time-consuming early stages of recruiting or you need access to a hidden pool of financial talent, a specialist staffing firm can get the job done right the first time and help you avoid the hassle of doing it yourself.

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