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What Are the Most Common Hiring Mistakes? (and how to avoid them)

Amanda Price
5 min read

If you’re a hiring manager, you know how difficult it can be just to find a good employee, let alone retain them. Almost 50% of all hires are deemed unsuccessful by the 18-month mark. Maybe you’ve found yourself in this boat quite a few times. What are the most common hiring mistakes, and how do you avoid a bad hire? Let’s take a closer look.

The most common hiring mistakes

If you’ve struggled to make strong hires in the past or fear that you might make mistakes in the future, here are some of the most common hiring mistakes to be mindful of:

Your hiring process lacks structure

If there’s no structure to your hiring process, the way you hire someone is likely to be different every time. Without knowing and executing what works best for your business, you become vulnerable to hiring mistakes along the way—whether it’s failing to screen a resume correctly, overlooking qualifications, or rushing the interview stage.

Being unclear about the job description

A weak, vague, or incorrect job description often attracts the wrong candidates, or worse yet—causes some of your best prospects to pass on your job opening.

There’s a potential danger in either excluding details or including too many rigid job requirements. You’ll need to strike the right balance with your job description to attract more of the right candidates.

Ignoring discussions of company culture

Some candidates meet every last qualification on your job description, but they may not be the right fit for your organization. This is because culture plays a significant role in determining whether or not a candidate is a strong, long-term fit.

During discussions with candidates, don’t neglect to paint a clear picture of your company’s culture—including your goals, values, expectations, talent development programs, and what kind of attitude and approach you expect from each of your employees.

Your hiring is too homogeneous

Although you may be hiring employees that fit your company culture, you may be hiring the same type of person over and over again—maybe even those who are just like you! As a result, you neglect your business’s real hiring needs.

Diversity is vital for success in business, as considering different perspectives improves decision-making.

Not listening to the candidates

While candidates may inflate their qualifications, some candidates will disclose important information that might disqualify them from your job search. The problem is—you may not be listening to what they’re saying.

Similarly, not listening to candidates and their expectations for an employer and a work environment can deter them from pursuing your open position.

Limiting your recruiting pool

Because you may not have the time or the resources to lead an exhaustive search for job candidates, you may be tempted to limit your overall talent pipeline

You may even be limiting your recruiting pool unknowingly by sourcing candidates from only one or two sources. Every time you narrow your search, you eliminate talent from your pool of options.

Taking too long to make a decision

Particularly if you’re interviewing active job seekers, hiring is a time-sensitive task. Many candidates are looking for work and need to secure an employment opportunity quickly.

Indecision will deter a candidate, as it suggests that you might not be confident that they’re a good fit for the role. What’s more, they may already have another offer that they can’t pass up.

Not communicating or following up with candidates

If a candidate doesn’t hear from you, they assume the worst—that you’re no longer interested in hiring them or that you’ve found another candidate. At this point, they continue their search for other opportunities.

While you may still have an interest in a candidate, failing to communicate or follow up with the candidate could cause you to miss your opportunity to hire them.

Related read: How to Hire a Salesperson (...without botching it) 

How to avoid major hiring mistakes

While there are many different ways to make mistakes throughout the hiring process, there are also quite a few ways to avoid major hiring mistakes:

Get feedback from your candidates

One of the most proactive methods to avoid future hiring mistakes is to get feedback from your candidate. You can achieve this by asking them directly or by generating an anonymous survey for them to fill out.

Streamline your hiring process

You want your entire hiring process to run like a well-oiled machine so that you’re consistently delivering a great candidate experience. This will go a long way towards attracting the right candidates and keeping them engaged.

Diversify your hiring sources

If you use a single source or only one type of network to find candidates, you’re going to limit your talent pool severely. Branch out and search for candidates across a wide range of networks. 

You can easily expand and diversify your overall search by leveraging some of the following networks and sourcing methods:

  • Job boards
  • Career sites
  • Social media networks
  • Employee referrals
  • Networking events
  • Career fairs

Make sure your whole team is involved

If you want to make the best possible hire and avoid any hiring mistakes in the process, you need to make sure there are checks and balances in place. 

While you might see a particular candidate as an exceptional option, another team member might sense the opposite. Gaining your team’s approval of a candidate is key if you hope to integrate your new employee into a team-oriented environment.

How much can a bad hire cost your business?

Do you know the actual financial impact of making a bad hire? For many businesses, bad hires can cost thousands, if not millions, of dollars. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that bad hires can cost 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings.

And that’s just the beginning. Time, money, and resources are lost in onboarding and training. Not to mention, the negative impact of a bad hire can reach far beyond money as well. It only takes one bad hire to affect your company culture and morale negatively.

How to spot a potentially bad hire

There are several warning signs that a candidate could potentially be a bad hire. Some are uncovered early on in the process, while others may appear in the eleventh hour. Here are a few red flags to keep in mind:

Vagueness in interview responses

The purpose of a job interview is to provide insight into a candidate, their personality, their experiences, their skill set, and their tendencies. A lack of detail in interview responses suggests that a candidate may be inflating their qualifications for the job.

Choosing the right interview questions—questions that require specific answers, test the candidate’s technical knowledge, and encourage them to open up about their qualifications and experiences—will help you spot vagueness in their responses.

Poor follow-through on pre-interview communication

Communication is perhaps the most important job skill and is one you should assess in any potential hire. If your candidate can’t communicate well during various points in the hiring process, what makes you think that their communication will improve once you hire them?

Not following through with your requests or failing to respond to emails, calls, and texts should signal a red flag.

A lack of understanding about the intricacies of the position

Again, candidates can inflate their qualifications on their resumes and lead you to believe that they have the skill set the position requires. But a lack of understanding is quickly brought to light when you dive into the intricacies of the position. Perhaps they simply don’t have the expertise or experience that you’re expecting from your next hire.

Use a recruiter to prevent hiring mistakes altogether

If you can’t afford to make bad hires, it might be time to hire a recruiter who can help you avoid hiring mistakes.

Recruiters take the guesswork out of hiring, as they know exactly what to look for in top candidates. This starts with the experience that comes from sourcing candidates every day. 

What’s more, recruiters have access to resources and talent pools—often including their internal networks that yield candidates you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.

Say goodbye to costly hiring mistakes

Tired of hiring the wrong people and costing your business thousands of dollars in the process? 

Wouldn’t it be easier to delegate hiring responsibilities to those with the expertise, experience, time, and resources to get the best possible result for your business?

When you work with a professional recruitment agency, you leave the hiring process to a team of experts that have successfully sourced and placed candidates in a variety of roles across multiple industries. 

Why do brands like G2, Cars.com and ShipBob trust Hunt Club to make the right hires? 

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