May 8, 2015

8 Outdated Hiring Myths That Are Jeopardizing Recruiting in 2015 (Part 1)

ProjectorIt’s easy to think that with all our training and reading, we modern recruiters might know pretty much all there is to know about recruiting.

However, among all the great hires that we have made, there likely lurk a few sobering mistakes that help us keep our feet on the ground and remind us that our hiring practices can always be improved upon.

In fact, there are many myths in circulation today — which often go unchallenged — that may be deceiving recruiters and compromising our hiring processes.

That’s why I thought it would useful to outline eight modern hiring myths that may be jeopardizing recruiting in 2015.

Myth 1: Online Degrees Can’t Be Trusted

Lets face it: online degrees and Internet-based institutions have suffered from credibility issues for many years now. As a result, employers are often skeptical about online degrees, and they may frown on the candidates who possess them.

In all honestly, the idea that online degrees are poor quality is a myth. A report from the U.S. department of Education found that classes that incorporated e-learning — either blended with traditional, in-person learning or totally online — produce stronger learning outcomes on average than classes that only utilized face-to-face teaching.

It should come as no surprise, then, that top universities like Yale are beginning to offer online degrees. Online degrees are moving towards the mainstream, and they could soon be the norm. The idea that online degrees cannot be trusted is an outdated myth.

However, if you do find yourself feeling suspicious of a candidate’s online credentials, don’t dismiss your concerns outright. Simply use the information provided by the U.S. Department of Education to assess the authenticity of an online institution.

rainMyth 2: You Can Tell If a Candidate Is Lying by Their Body Language

Many recruiters and hiring managers believe that they can reliably spot a lying candidate just by assessing their body language and looking into their eyes.

Well, it seems that many recruiters have watched too many T.V. cop-show interrogations, as the truth is that people can correctly spot liars between 13 and 23 percent of the time, according to this University of Manitoba study.

The fact is that most people will not be able to spot a lie when it is happening. The study mentioned above also found that experienced professionals were no better at detecting lies than business and psychology students. It seems that even if you think you can spot a liar in an interview, research suggests that you probably can’t.

Myth 3: Past Performance Is an Indicator of Future Performance

This is one of the most commonly cited myths of modern recruiting, and the entire behavioral questioning model is based on this assumption. However, past performance is not always a reliable indicator of future performance. This was shown in a study by Franscesca Gino of Harvard Business School and others, which found that recruiters make attribution errors when they fail to factor in how supportive or challenging a candidate’s past work environment was.

For example, did the high-performing salesperson you see before you have more support and easier circumstances than your organization’s own salespeople, meaning they might actually be a mediocre salesperson in your company’s environment? Past performance is not always an indicator of future performance. It’s important to know how the context of a candidate’s performance compares to your own firm’s performance context.

Myth 4: Paying a New Hire What They Want Means They Will Be Happy and Engaged

CoinsResearch reported on in the Ivy Business Journal tells us that pay is important to workers, and they will be demotivated if they aren’t paid fairly. But once this side of things is solved, pay — an extrinsic motivator — is no longer the most important motivator. Actually, day-to-day motivation and engagement is driven by intrinsic rewards, such as a sense of meaningfulness about the work, having the freedom to choose the way of fulfilling work, feeling competent, and feeling like one is making progress. Paying new hires what they want may get them to sign on the dotted line, but unless these four intrinsic needs are also being met, there’s a real chance a new appointment could turn into a bad hire.

If you liked these tips, look out for the second part of this article, which will debunk several more hiring myths that may be jeopardizing your hiring process.

Read more in Recruitment

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.