The 5 Most Common Hiring Mistakes

22 August by Miriam Heale


Hiring someone is one of the most important decisions any single person can make in a business. The choice of candidate A over candidate B could mean the difference between success or failure of a project.

A great hire can add to a team, generate revenue and go on to excel. A bad hire can shatter a team, drive valued employees in to the arms of your competitors and even impact on your bottom line.

Needless to say the extremity of this impact depends on the role you’re hiring for, but a bad fit is bad for business.

Here are our top 5 most common hiring mistakes to avoid.

1. Not Knowing What You Want

It’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for. Recognising that you need to grow a team is very different from knowing what that team needs to grow.

Whenever you have a requirement, make sure you know exactly what you want from your new employee in terms of their skills, qualifications and the role you want them to carry out.

A common practise is to also break this list into required and preferred. This will help you focus in on the core attributes needed to accomplish the task.

It is also important to recognise whilst the perfect candidate does exist, they may not be on the market, so be flexible when drawing up your lists. You don’t want to miss out on someone incredible because they only tick ninety-nine out of a hundred boxes.

2. Rushing the Placement

Whether your requirement is the result of a member of staff moving on, moving teams, being promoted (maybe you’re filling your old role) or the team has grown, it’s easy to feel a sense of urgency about filling the role.

Even if that urgency is real and the expectation by your superiors is to fill that role so there can be hand over or minimal downtime, there is a real risk to rushing a placement.

The obvious pitfall is settling for someone that can probably do the job.

Another is choosing the weaker candidate because they can start sooner.

Or, hiring someone who has minimal experience and the hope is they can be trained up, which rather counters the argument for rushing things through.

Occasionally you do find the perfect candidate first time and the process is not only quick but easy but that is the exception, not the rule. It is far better to hold out for the candidate who is the right fit and will stay and grow with the business.

3. De-Prioritising Culture

Company culture gets talked about a lot but with good reason. Attracting great talent is predicated on the ability to retain them and the data suggests that employees would rather have a competitive package, great perks and a positive, supportive working environment over a pay rise.

With this in mind, maintaining the integrity of the company culture and health of the team you’re hiring into is paramount. Sacrificing the harmony of high performing teams for the sake of a quick hire is a guaranteed way of seriously damaging the team.

Making sure the person you’re hiring, whatever their level, is the right fit for the culture is as important as making sure they’re the right fit for the role.

4. Going on First Impressions Alone

There aren’t many clichés that get banded about as often as ‘you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression’. Although clichés often exist for a reason, we try to avoid them like the plague.

A first impression does matter, but this should be measured on the respect the candidate is showing you and the business. Their ability to wear a suit, deliver a firm handshake and make regular eye contact does not, in any way, mean they can do the job.

Similarly, do not hire someone purely because you like them. Whilst personality, likeability and interpersonal skills are all very important, how much you get on with the candidate shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Unless you’re recruiting for a golfing partner to play 9 holes on a Sunday afternoon.

5. Hiring Yourself

A by-product of hiring off the back of first impressions, although not exclusively, is the compulsion to hire someone just like us. Someone we get on with, who thinks like we do and echoes our approach is appealing, even flattering.

Creating a team of people who are all very similar can prove a costly mistake. Whilst they have the same approach, all get on famously and have great office ‘banter’, the team eventually stagnates.

In the absence of people who challenge perspective, foster new thinking and introduce fresh approaches, the team will be out performed by more dynamic teams elsewhere in the business.

Teams of similar personality types can also prove intimidating for others to approach causing a widening ripple of disharmony in the office as colleagues will actively avoid dealing with them.

A good cultural fit in a company is the same as the wider world. The greater the diversity, the more enriched the company becomes.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements and how we can find you industry leading talent. Call now on 01202 888 986.