Hiring mistakes that (almost) all leaders make

Apr 20, 2023
Apr 20, 2023 Adriana Blazej

It’s said that making mistakes helps us develop. We emerge from a given situation wiser, with lessons we can use in the future. But there are mistakes you don’t want to make.  

Hiring mistakes can be remembered for a long time. First of all, they’re costly: statistics show that the cost of unsuccessful hiring can reach thousands of dollars. Usual mis-hiring cost reach from 5 to 20 times the amount of the person’s actual salary. Secondly, they reflect on the quality of a team’s work – tasks aren’t performed as they should be. The team, which was supposed to perform better thanks to the new hire, instead focuses on implementing someone who should be able to find their own way in the organization. Thirdly, hiring the wrong person can uncover gaps in the recruiting process, or a complete lack of structure and strategy for hiring new people.

We’ve prepared a list of the most common mistakes in hiring so that you can reduce the number of failed hires to a minimum.

  • You spent too little time defining the candidate’s profile as a hiring manager

On average, those responsible for mapping competencies and creating a candidate profile spend no more than an hour on it. This definitely isn’t enough to analyze exactly who we’re looking for, what deficiency the new person will fill, and what competencies and qualities they must possess to fit with our company’s values. This is a very important stage that’s definitely worth going into in-depth as well, in order to build a sense of complete security.  We know who we’re looking for, we know what questions we’ll be asking this person to check exactly what we’re interested in.

  • Candidates are not evaluated according to clear and unambiguous rules

We don’t know what we’re looking for. We ask questions and judge the quality of the answers very intuitively. We reject a person from the process, but we’re not even able to give them feedback on why such a decision was made and what they could do next time to perform better. We don’t have a formula by which we can evaluate all interviewees in the same way. In doing so, we risk losing those candidates who may have been a good fit for the role but didn’t have the opportunity to show it during recruitment. We prolong the whole thing, dilute the structure, ultimately making a decision not by virtue of finding someone right, but on a hunch or simply out of fatigue.

  • You want to dump the hiring decision on the headhunter/recruiter/agency

Yes, it provides the best (see point 1) candidates. Yes, it provides market analysis and advice on how to direct the recruitment path. If you decide to outsource the recruitment process, don’t give all the decision-making to someone who coordinates the process, but won’t work with the new person. You will. 

By handing over the hiring decision to someone, you are taking away the manager’s agility and inviting someone into your organization who you’re not convinced will be a good fit.

  • You have a “better any candidate than no candidate” mindset 

This is a common pitfall for those involved in recruitment. The process is prolonged and the quality of applications leaves much to be desired. We invite a person who fits our profile with a little proclivity to interviews and….we make an offer. “They will adjust, learn and somehow it will be done. Let’s give them a chance, after all, we won’t recruit indefinitely.”

Making an offer to anyone just to complete the process can be a costly mistake. Again, the question is whether we’ve defined our criteria well for the person we want to hire – here we return to the first point. If the quality of the application is low, perhaps we should look at the whole process – from defining the ideal candidate and offer, to the copy of the recruitment ad, to the channels and reach of its distribution.

Stopping at the first person who performed moderately well in the process, only to close recruitment as quickly as possible, is a quick way to need another recruitment process very soon. Along the way, there will be a few more not-so-pleasant conversations with a person who isn’t a good fit for the organization, and a lot of time spent giving feedback that makes little difference. In the end, we’ll have to say goodbye anyway.

It doesn’t have to be that way!

A recruitment process conducted intuitively, without a specific structure and profile of the person we’re looking for, is simply a recipe for wasting time and money. It doesn’t have to be that way. The time spent preparing the process, interviewing each candidate in a consistent way, specifying whether it will be online or offline, how many meetings the whole process will take, and who is involved, is an investment that pays off. Mistakes will still occur, but as an exception, not a rule.

Read here how to prepare a Hiring Plan that works >>

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