Mama Knows Best: 4 Hiring Lessons Learned from Mom

Hiring Lessons from the Mommy Club

As Mother’s Day approaches, you might be busy searching for the perfect gift to show mom you care. Last year alone, 4.1 million women became mothers and 81 percent of women in 2010 had children by the end of their childbearing years. With so many women entering the mommy club, from high-profile professionals like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to stay at home moms, it’s not surprising mothers have a lot of wisdom to offer.

This May, let’s take some time to remember the great advice and life lessons mom has imparted throughout the years. When it comes to hiring the best people for your organization, sometimes mother really does know best.

So in honor of Mother’s Day, here are some common lessons from mom and how you can apply them to your search to find and hire the best people:

Mama said: “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”

This mom-ism is a classic, and for good reason. When it comes to interviewing candidates, whether in-person or through online video, a positive applicant is going to make a much better impression than a negative nelly. Asking about a former job or employer is a great way to gauge not only a job seeker’s former experience, but also their level of discretion.

If they go off on a 10-minute rant about their former company, their useless coworkers, and their terrible boss, you know to steer clear. It’s likely your applicant has issues at their former place of employment, but those who spend the interview complaining about their former workplace might end up badmouthing your company as well when they’re ready to walk out the door. Mom was right, you get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Mama said: “Birds of a feather flock together”

This old saying implies we can judge others by the company they choose to keep. With the increasing role social media plays in our daily lives, this is more relevant to the search for great candidates than ever. A candidate might be great on paper and they may wow you in the video interview, but what are they saying to their friends on social media?

If your candidate has an unlocked social profile full of profanity, inappropriate pictures, or controversial statements, this person is a PR disaster waiting to happen. Plenty of employees have been fired for posting inappropriate messages and images without thinking on social media. Before having your candidate sign on the dotted line, see how they interact with their friends in the digital public sphere.

Mama said: “You’re wearing that?!”

Mom wasn’t always worried about our fashion sense, but she was worried about us leaving the house in inappropriate outfits. Before candidates leave the house to interview with your company, or even just turn on the webcam, they should really ask themselves, “Would mom approve?”

If your potential employee shows up wearing something better suited for a day at the park than a day at the office, you should pass on their candidacy. Great candidates know to show up for the interview looking professional, poised, and put together. It’s about respect for your company as much as it is about the inappropriateness of wearing flip-flops.

Mama said: “Money doesn’t grow on trees”

When it comes to the hiring process, I think we all wish there was a money tree outside we could pick a few hundreds from whenever we needed the extra cash. But the truth is money is tighter now, thanks in part to the troubled economy. This means you need to work harder to make your lean hiring budget go further. You still must hire the best people, but you need to look into cost-saving ways to do so.

Maybe this means cutting out the travel for top-tier candidates and connecting in a video interview instead. Maybe it means skipping out on campus recruiting to focus on social media campaigns. Whatever works best for your company’s hiring needs, remember there’s no such thing as a money tree to bail you out if you overspend. So focus on frugal (but smart!) hiring practices.

Mom knows a thing or two about life, and listening to the lessons bestowed by our mothers can even lead to better hiring practices. So this Mother’s Day, be sure to thank mom for all the wisdom she’s imparted.

Mama Inspired Lessons?

What are some lessons from mom you can apply to the hiring process? Share in the comments!

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Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

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