These three commonly-held beliefs about hiring have been around for a long time. They might have been good advice to someone, at some point in time… but if they are part of your unconscious belief systems, you’d best revisit your assumptions.

The thing about ‘conventional wisdom’, is that all too often it relates to things we’ve been doing a certain way for so long we don’t even remember the original assumptions any longer. It’s kinda like autopilot – you set it and forget it. There’s an awful lot of ‘autopilot’ in our lives. Sometimes that’s OK – and sometimes it can hurt you.

Here are three areas where you may be on autopilot without realizing it… and where you may want to consider taking back the controls and charting a different course:

1. The ideal candidate will possess X years’ experience in the job/function/industry.

How often, in your advertising and in your mindset, to you impose the ‘experience required’ rule? How critical is that previous experience, really, or would you be better off to hire someone with a great attitude, a diversity of experience they can bring to bear in a creative way, and a track record of learning quickly and figuring things out? In many cases, that experience that people bring to the table may actually be a liability, in the form of bad habits and narrow beliefs.

2. Hire the very best you can afford at all times.
This may seem like sacrilege, but think carefully for a moment. You have a certain amount you can afford. Stretching financially to hire a rock star can sometimes backfire on you in a couple of ways – one, it can starve you of talent in other areas (think baseball – are you better off hiring an expensive home run hitter, or three far less expensive players who consistently get on base?) – and two, they can sometimes be high maintenance. Are you and the rest of the team up for the challenge of managing the chemistry?

3. Referrals from your existing employees is your best source of quality candidates
Again, there is a nugget of truth here. Yes, referrals can be your cheapest source, and they can yield some of the very best candidates. Generally speaking, though, the very best referrals will only come from your very best employees. That’s because of the old birds of a feather thing – we all tend to surround ourselves with people who share our standards, attitudes and values. Top performers tend to hang out with others who share that standard, and poor performers – well, you get it. So be careful whose network you ask to tap.

There you go – a little unconventional wisdom for a change. It can be fun and useful to flick off autopilot once in a while to take a closer look at the terrain.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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Giving people the opportunity to opt in on the basis of knowing the reality of your environment sets a firm foundation and reduces the risk of buyer’s remorse. Thinking about putting your own recruitment video online? From our experience creating our own video, here is our tip list;

Keep it Short
2 minutes is the magic number. After 2 minutes most will move on to something else on your site or leave it altogether. We know. Our 5 minute video gets watched on average for 2 minutes.

Let Employees Say What They Want
You can’t edit reality. Your employees need to be allowed to say what it is really like. On our Culture page we asked each participant these questions and then asked them to use part of the question in their answer.

  • Why did you decide to apply with us?
  • What was it like going through the HiringSmart process with our company?
  • Why do you stay at HiringSmart?
  • In one word how would you describe working at HiringSmart?

If you were to ask these questions to your people today, what would they tell you? If it is something that you would be scared to put on the internet then you may have just uncovered your biggest attraction problem.

Show, Don’t Tell
Bring in a video camera to the office and let people just pick it up and make their own video of co-workers throughout the day. Take a run through the building and show what it looks like. This is more effective than telling prospective recruits that you have a laid back atmosphere.

Know Your Message
Do you want to emphasize a fun atmosphere, lots of advancement opportunities, or promote particular groups, such as women or minorities?

Do It Right
The cost of a good quality video is cheaper than you think. We used Duncan Moss at Moss Media Productions for putting together the final edited version. A little professional lighting can do wonders for the final look.

Promote it Everywhere
Create your own YouTube Channel, attach the videos into your company’s FaceBook group, link to them from your company website, provide links everywhere.Your video will be part of the employment brand promise that is out there on the web just like your product brand is out there. Some will see themselves in your world and others will decide it is not for them. That is the goal – to have candidates self-select themselves out of the process before you hire the wrong fit.



Jan is the co-founder and president of Fit First Technologies, a company that applies its predictive analytics to the task of matching people to roles. Those algorithms drive platforms such as TalentSorter, FitFirstJobs and, which are relied upon by organizations to screen high volumes of candidates for “fit” in their open positions.


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