Hire right the first time: 3 mistakes to avoid

HIring mistakes to avoid making a bad hire

Hiring mistakes cost you. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, a single bad hire can cost a company upwards of $17,000, and can also cause reduced productivity, compromised work quality, negative employee morale, and wasted time.

In short: making a bad hire is a huge mistake that should be avoided at all cost. Whether you own a business, or manage the hiring for a company, it’s important to get it right the first time.

The surprising thing is that the biggest hiring mistakes are easy to avoid. A little forethought can increase your changes of success exponentially. Step one is writing a job posting that attracts the right candidates – learn more about that here. Next, you need to make sure you’re not falling prey to the biggest hiring mistakes.

With that in mind, here are the three most common hiring blunders – and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Getting backed into a corner

This is incredibly common, particularly in small businesses: you need to find someone fast but you can’t find the candidate who is quite right, so you settle. Giving in to the pressure to find someone quickly is a big mistake. A candidate that is OK in a number of areas does not combine to make for an overall excellent option. Hiring someone because you need a body in a chair will often lead to a higher turnover rate later, which puts you right back in the original position (but with your resources depleted).

How to avoid it: Take your time. If you’re getting pressure from hiring managers or executives to find the right candidate faster, remind them that the right hire takes time, but it means you won’t be doing the same thing again six months later.

Mistake #2: Forgoing skill testing

It seems logical that if a candidate says they have expert-level skills, they would actually have them. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In the survey mentioned above, 37 per cent of respondents said that their bad hire was caused by a candidate lying about their qualifications. There’s nothing wrong with asking people to show you what they’ve got to ensure there are no surprises on start day.

How to avoid it: Remember that actions speak louder than words. It can be beneficial to do some on-the-spot skill testing to verify a candidate’s claims. Editing, coding, or using some kind of software program are fairly easy to test, while other positions might require you to get more creative. If hiring a sales rep, for example, set aside time to see how they fare with cold calling. For a marketing position, ask for them to prepare creative ideas on how they would increase a metric of interest for your business. A trending option is bringing them in on a contract basis for a test drive, which allows them to show off their skills while meeting the team (more on that below).

Mistake #3: Not meeting the team

Not all experts will agree that this should be on a list of hiring mistakes. However, increasingly, team interviews are becoming an integral part of the hiring process – particularly in situations where members work together very closely. After all, who would know better if a candidate will or won’t mesh well? Obviously, whole team can’t be part of the final decision, but getting them involved at some point in the screening process is a great way to catch any red flags.

How to avoid it: If you can, schedule a team interview with your top candidates, and then solicit feedback from each team member. Even if the team can’t be in the formal interview, having them at least meet your top candidates, and watching how they interact, can produce informative results. Another option is the test drive mentioned above – have your top candidates work in-house on a contract basis for a short period of time, then interview the team members they worked with to see how they fit in.

Want more hiring mistakes to avoid? Check out our SlideShare on the topic:

See also:
Eight interview mistakes hiring managers make
What you need to stop asking in interviews (and what to ask instead)


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