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hiring mistakes

7 Common Hiring Mistakes to Avoid  

The hiring process isn’t as simple as it may seem; finding the right fit takes thought, time, resources, and effort. When you’re filling a position, skills and qualifications aren’t enough. It’s important to find someone who can also fit into your culture, uphold your company values, and work efficiently and amicably with your other staff members.  

A bad hiring decision can be costly. The Undercover Recruiter estimates that a bad hire can cost a company as much as $240,000, accounting for the costs of the hiring process, salary, and retention. Aside from monetary costs, poor hiring choices also waste company time and can slow the progress of your business.  

Avoid the most common hiring mistakes and streamline your hiring process to find the best candidate for your business.  

Learn more about hiring post-pandemic in our free eBook, Post-Pandemic Talent Acquisition. 

Common Hiring Mistakes: 

      1. Vague Job Descriptions
      2. Narrow Search Parameters 
      3. Neglecting Modern Technology 
      4. Interview Mistakes  
      5. Failing to Check References 
      6. Forgetting to Account for Culture 
      7. Rushing the Process 


Vague Job Descriptions  

Writing vague job descriptions is one of the first mistakes you can make when you begin the hiring process. A job description should succinctly explain the role, responsibilities, and qualifications needed to get the job. It should be direct and to-the-point, so that it is crystal clear what candidates fit your requirements. Highlight the most important skills and any necessary knowledge. For example, if knowledge of a certain tool is essential, include that in the job description.  

When writing your job description, use keywords relating to the position and the industry. This will make it easier for the right candidates to find the job on job site search engines like LinkedIn and Indeed.  

Writing vague job descriptions with fluffy but unclear language will attract the wrong candidates. To avoid sorting through dozens of unqualified applicants, use transparent language and be direct about what skills are needed on the job. Write a job description that defines your ideal candidate so that the applicants match what you’re looking for. 

Job descriptions should also reflect your employer brand so that candidates can get a feel for your company values and if the company, not just the position, would be a good fit for them. Writing good job descriptions is another aspect of a good recruitment marketing strategy, and will lead to better applicants who match your company’s values as well as the position’s needs. 


Narrow Search Parameters  

Using narrow search tactics will result in fewer people seeing your job posting and limit your reach. While fewer applicants are easier to sort through, it’s better to reach more people and potentially find better candidates. Cast a wider net and you’ll get more qualified, diverse candidates. 

Don’t just use one strategy to reach candidates. Post your job description on your Careers page, on job sites like Indeed and LinkedIn, and use a referral network or talent network to find more candidates and spread the word further. Keep an open mind about who your candidate will be. Considering candidates of different ages, races, genders, and backgrounds will bring a diversity of thought and perspective to the position and your business.  

While you may prefer someone with one type of experience, it may be better to consider a candidate with a diverse skill set. For example, you may be looking for someone with 5+ years of sales experience, but find a candidate with 3 years of sales and 3 years of marketing. Their marketing background could be an asset that sets them apart; don’t exclude a good candidate if they can bring something more to the position.  


Neglecting Modern Technology  

If technology is not a part of your hiring process, it should be. The days of posting a job listing in the newspaper are long gone, so at the very least you should be taking advantage of social media. Use social networks, LinkedIn especially, to share and promote your open positions to bring in more talent.  

Social media is also important for your employer branding. Modern candidates are likely to check your company’s social profiles to learn more before applying. If you haven’t posted anything since 2014, it won’t look great for your brand. Use social media, even when you aren’t actively hiring, to showcase your culture, mission, and overall brand.  

Aside from social media, there are other tools that recruiters and HR professionals use to streamline hiring. Applicant tracking systems are one essential tech tool for keeping applicants’ information organized. Some of these tools can even screen candidate resumes for you as well. Research other technology to improve your hiring process and consider it an investment to better your business. 

Interview Mistakes 

Interviewing is a fundamental step in the hiring process, but many employers fail to make the most of interviews. There are a few common interview mistakes to avoid. 

First, don’t underestimate the value of phone interviews. Many employers use a short, 20-minute phone interview to screen candidates. If you have narrowed all of your applicants down to a smaller group, a phone interview can help narrow that group more before formal interviews.  

This can help avoid another mistake: giving too many interviews. If you give your top 10 candidates an in-person interview (or video interview in light of COVID-19), it can be easy to mix up candidates and their answers. To save time and to make it easier to set candidates apart, try to narrow down your finalists before the interview stage.  

Once you’re in the interview, avoid common pitfalls like asking the wrong questions or talking too much. Don’t ask questions that only require a yes or no answer – ask leading questions to get the candidates talking. Ask candidates specific questions about their experience to get a better understanding of their skills. Rather than asking “Do you have experience with AB, and C?” ask, “Tell me about your experience with AB, and C,” to get more information and to evaluate how well they understand the topic. 


Failing to Check References  

References can give you even more insight into a candidate’s abilities. Ask for references and actually check them. This can help you better understand the candidate’s experience at former places of work, their preferred working style, and root out any red flags. It can also reveal if they’ve been honest about their experience and capabilities. 


Forgetting to Account for Culture 

You might find a candidate with all of the skills and experience you’re looking for, but it’s important to account for cultural fit and personality as well. While it is about the job, it’s still important that employees can work well together and work towards a common goal.  

Ask questions about their preferred style of work, how they like to be managed, how they work in teams, and other questions about culture. Ask about their values and how they want to further the company mission. Try to get a feel for how they would fit in with your current employees before offering the job 


Rushing the Process 

Rushing through the hiring process is probably the most common hiring mistakes an employer can make. While everyone wants a short time to hire to get the position filled, it’s better to slow down and make sure you’re making the right decision for your business. If you interview three people and don’t feel confident in any of them, it may be better to look for more applicants rather than hire someone you’re not sure about.  

Rushing through hiring will only hurt your business if you have to re-do the entire hiring process again after making a poor decision. It’s also important that you don’t rush through the onboarding process. Onboarding is one of the most important factors in employee retention; if you do a bad job of training your new hire, they are more likely to fail to perform or to leave the job entirely.  


Avoid Hiring Mistakes 

Avoid these common hiring mistakes so that your company can grow with the right talent. Hiring is a complex process, and it’s easy to succumb to these common pitfalls. If you need help improving your hiring process, contact us at ORS Partners. 

At ORS Partners, our professional recruiters know the ins and outs of the hiring process, so we can help your company grow and save you from making a poor hiring decision. Learn more about hiring post-pandemic in our free eBook, or contact us to discuss your talent acquisition needs.  

You know your business. We know talent. Let’s scale together.

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