Avoid These Common Hiring Mistakes – or they can kill your business

If you’re in any type of management role or you run your own business, then one of the most crucial decisions you make is to ensure that you hire good people  hiring good people

In fact, according to Larry Bossidy, who was CEO of some of the biggest corporations in the U.S, when you’re running a business “You’re betting on the people more than the strategy“. And this means you’ve got to avoid the common hiring mistakes which even experienced managers can be guilty of making.

Over more than 20 years of consulting in recruitment and staff selection, I continue to come across hiring managers who tell me with conviction that they know within the first two or three minutes of meeting an applicant whether that person is the right one for the role.

Well, maybe that is indeed possible. But at least some of the time, these same managers who have made this claim to me also admit that they are having to re-hire less than 12 months later. So,  “gut-instinct” isn’t working for them all of the time ….. And they need to learn to approach the selection process with a little more method to enable a more measured assessment of candidates (less heart or gut and more head and reasoning).

Poor hiring costs your business

hiring mistakes waste moneyHiring the wrong person can be costly – it can be poisonous for your teams and your business..Some of the negative effects can include

  1. The extra time involved with having to supervise the employee more closely
  2. Conflicts and strains within the rest of the team
  3. Mistakes, missed deadlines or poor quality service delivery – potentially creating loss of goodwill with customers, or a loss of business
  4. The costs associated with re-hiring

Common recruitment mistakes

So, how do managers get it wrong with recruitment and selection – and miss out on hiring good people?  Having worked in this area for more than 20 years, I would say some of the most common mistakes include –

  1. Neglecting to clearly identify the requirements of the role

Hiring apples not orangesIt all begins with being clear about the scope of the role, the responsibilities which must be performed – and therefore the type of skills, knowledge and attributes an ideal candidate requires in order to perform the role effectively. There’s no point recruiting a terrific apple, when you’re really needing an orange.

  1. Not attracting sufficient candidates

It is often tempting to pick the best candidate out of a poor field. It doesn’t mean the person is right for the job – but simply they were better than anyone else that you interviewed. So try to promote the vacancy through the right channels and even use your network to help with this promotion. The greater the pool of candidates to select from, the more likely the right choice can be made

  1. Neglecting to plan and prepare how the interview will be conducted

In the absence of some prepared questions that will be uniformly asked of all candidates, the interview can too easily become an unstructured conversation that can meander all over the place, without purpose.  It’s also far too easy to get seduced by the charming candidate – and to end up doing more talking than listening!!

  1. Relying too much on first impressions

common hiring mistakesOften we find ourselves unconsciously liking others who are similar to ourselves.  And there are other unconscious biases that can affect our early opinion of people – whether those biases are based upon gender, race or age. So the key is to with-hold judgement until we have collected a solid base of data upon which to form a more measured assessment

  1. Mistaking confidence for competence

A bit like the need to avoid the allure of first impressions, confidence and good looks and charm are all very appealing but definitely no guarantee that this will equate with competence in the role. This is where having an interview plan becomes so important – it forces you to look beyond the surface and gather job-related information for assessing capabilities. And by the way, any true assessment of a candidate’s job-related ability must also include being able to verify what they’ve told you is true! …… Unfortunately, there are many instances where applicants confidently misrepresent or embellish their skills, experience and / or achievements. The checking of credible referees is integral to any sound hiring decision.

  1. The belief that experience is what counts

In the past, many managers suffered from the illusion that the person with more experience would be the superior candidate. But eventually these same managers realised that sometimes the person with ten years’ experience hadn’t learned or improved their abilities during that period. It was often a case of the person repeating the experience of their first year ten times over.  So, sometimes you might find a candidate with less experience but they would bring a drive to succeed and the hunger to grow and learn, that may make them a better bet.

  1. A lack of care for unsuccessful applicants

In the same way an aggrieved customer will tell at least ten other people of their poor or unsatisfactory experience with your business – so too will a candidate who feels they have not been treated with courtesy and respect. And these ten people can each tell another ten people that story. So as soon as possible, let applicants know when someone else has been appointed and thank them for taking the time to apply.

  1. A lack of proper induction and training for the new employee

Quite often hiring managers can overlook all of the little things that a new employee needs to learn – in terms of procedures, systems and how some customers and even co-workers need to be handled.  All too often new employee’s report they fail to receive job training that is presented with any plan or method. The new employee who is “thrown in the deep end” is more likely to develop poor habits that become harder to correct as time goes on.

In closing, if you or any of your staff are going to be hiring a new employee in the future, then be willing to invest sufficient time in the preliminary planning and preparation. Perhaps even consider taking some recruitment training

Hiring good people begins with having a clear definition of the job requirements, combined with a plan for promoting if not advertising the vacancy, and a plan for conducting the interview with some structure and method. The ability to assess, develop and retain talented staff is one of the foundations on which the success of your teams and business will be built. For more tips on hiring effectively, you might like to also check out “How to conduct the job interview”

About the author

Brian CarrollBrian Carroll is the founder of the corporate training company, Performance Development

He is a psychologist by background and has more than 20 years experience working  in the field of management development

His passion is to help people develop the mindset and skills they need to achieve their full potential.