Avoid These 5 Common MENA Hiring MistakesPosted on May 27, 2012

In the war for talent, hiring top talent in the MENA region can be difficult. However the acquisition of top talent is definitely a secret to success.

In the search for top talent in this large pool of MENA candidates it can become easy to stick with what you know. Relying to heavily on any one of these 5 common mistakes can set your organization up for hiring failure.

1. Weigh advanced degrees & certifications too heavily

The MENA region is very focused on certifications and advanced degrees, often times to the detriment of the hiring manager. Simply put, advanced degrees listed on a candidates CVs are not proof of business acumen, they are only proof that is candidate is capable of getting advanced degrees.

Many hiring managers see a list of degrees and certifications and just assume they are the best candidates. Look past the certifications and ask your candidate to discuss real business successes they have personally accomplished.

2. Too rigid in your experience requirements

Experienced is highly valued across the globe. However in the MENA region experienced is viewed as an absolute requirement of candidate experience.

Recently a friend was interviewing for a new position in the UAE. Being highly qualified he was called by the company for an interview. The interview when very well however because he only had 6 years experience rather than the required 8-10 he was dismissed.  Needless to say he was disappointed. But since the hiring manager was being rigid in required experience they ended up missing out on hiring a top talent.

Bottom line: don’t hire someone only because they have a huge amount of experience. Maybe they have so much experience in that job because they were never good enough to get promoted! You are always better off judging and hiring for smarts and future capability than past experience — because the problems and opportunities are always changing. Look for advancement on a resume over experience.

3. Admire a past accomplishment too much

Many times you will find candidates with experience in their past that are truly exceptional. While this is great simply judging on this single merit along can set you up for a hiring failure. Never assume this spectacular accomplishment can be repeated for you. Often times in our work, success is a team effort. So a strong team, a dynamic manager, and even outstanding market conditions can help create success but you cannot be sure it can be replicated.  To assure this candidate can get the job done, you should always check to make sure the candidate is exceptional in other aspects as well.

4. Pass over people who are too smart

Unfortunately this is all too common in the MENA region. Managers are intimidated by underlings and potential hires who are smarter.  This stifles both the growth of the young leaders and the company itself.

It is never a bad thing to hire a really smart employee. The best leaders only hire the best people. It makes the business stronger and makes your entire organization more capable.

5. Fail to check references

A no brainer, yet MENA hiring mangers get burnt consistently. Due to the diverse cultures and transient natures of MENA workers it can be costly and time consuming to fully check references. Yet, you MUST CHECK REFERENCES. You can save time, money and energy simply by doing the most basic of reference check to ensure you have made the best hire possible.

I am sure this is not an exhaustive list of common hiring mistakes. What is the worst mistake you have ever made when hiring?

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