Common Hiring Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

April 1, 2014


No matter how hard you try to source and moderate your company’s recruiting efforts, the hiring process is a challenging one complete with lots of pressure and vulnerability to missteps along the way.  Some missteps are costly while others can be easily brushed off. However, the world of HR and recruiting is competitive as a bad hire can cost a company significantly in terms of both money and time.

No need to get frustrated or knocked back if you’re caught in one of these pitfalls though. With every misstep comes the opportunity to learn and better your overall hiring process.

A post on The Undercover Recruiter, 5 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make, outlines five of the most common pitfalls of the hiring process as well as some tips for how to avoid them.

1. Being Easily Impressed

Cover letters, resumes and CVs are all a part of the first steps in deciding who to interview. While these pieces are important to bringing an individual to your office and a great resource to form questions, they are not the end all be all. The reality is that these documents are the product of a candidate spending hours searching for the perfect words to make himself or herself look good. The even harsher reality is that 40% of applicants are lying on their resumes.

Looking more deeply into the candidate pre-interview is a great way to see what they have done and what they are capable of.

2. Bringing in Too Many Applicants

Having a small pool of applicants interviewed means that you aren’t giving yourself a great selection, but having too many people walk through your door is just as dangerous. After 20-30 interviews, it’s only natural that you may forget which candidate left their last job unhappy. Most hiring professionals look interview about 8 or 9 candidates. That’s not a lot, but think of the process as waves.

Related: What to Know before Making a Job Offer

It is okay not to find the right fit in the first few interviews. Take time to regroup, define what wasn’t working and reconsider some of the resumes that you were on the fence about before. This may all seem like a lot of time, but the cost of a bad hire can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. Doing a lot of interviews may make you feel busy but it doesn’t mean you will find the right candidates any faster. I was doing interview after interview and offering jobs to pretty much everyone I met, without a clear plan for filling voids in my organization.

3. Rambling about Your Company

When discussing your team, its mission, values and goals, the candidate is given a clearer view of what the entire company stands for. This is great and something every hiring manager should strive toward, but every moment you’re talking, your candidate isn’t. This is the time to really get to know the person who could potentially be working in your office.

Related: Finding the Right Cultural Fit

Consider finding a way to walk interviewees around the office during their time with you. Not only will the individual have a better understanding of the environment, but you will have a greater understanding of their ability to adapt, meet new people and handle different surroundings. I learned very quickly to just stop talking and listen. Candidates will very often reveal what kind of workers they will be in your organization if you give them time to talk.

4. Asking the Wrong Questions

Broad questions like “What should I know about you?” will lead to broad answers (i.e. a lot of what you already read in the resume). Give the questions you ask some thought. Consider what an employee in the job you’re hiring for needs to know or have experience in. Develop questions that every applicant can be asked. This will give each interview a standard, allowing for an easier time choosing who won’t cut it. Asking questions like: “Are you deadline oriented?” are ridiculous, what applicant would say no?

Give the applicant context by trying a question like this: “Our company works with a lot of smaller companies, which means both the budget and timeline are smaller than usual. Tell me about a time when you came in under budget and on time and really wowed a client!”

The Cure? Read more about the most important question you’re missing in hiring employees on the Overture Blog.

5. Not Trusting Your Gut Feeling

Chances are you have had a feeling when meeting a new person that was actualized later. For example, a feeling in your gut that a new employee was not right for the job and, sure enough, they didn’t last long in the company. While snap judgments are not okay or a good idea for getting to know someone, acting on a feeling after a few weeks of a not so stellar hire is better than waiting weeks to let that bad hire go. Likewise, be capable of admitting the mistake.

Related: 4 Personality Types and Recruiting Them

Read the full article on The Undercover Recruiter website here.

The Overture Group understands the value of finding the right hire for your company.  With each team member holding 10+ years’ experience, we bring the experience you need to find your next candidate. We believe in helping you improve your recruiting and HR efforts through tactical planning.  Contact us to see how we can bring our experience can help you.

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