10 Most Common Hiring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
HR Management and Recruitment Tips and Resources

10 Most Common Hiring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Manasvi Pawaria
Manasvi Pawaria

Table of Contents

The Human Resource department is the backbone of any organization. Being an HR professional means understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a company better than anyone else and striving to fill these gaps. But oftentimes, it is hard to find the right people to fill those voids.

It is like a massive jigsaw puzzle, of sorts, with the HR department busy fitting it with the correct pieces.  Mismatched hiring can lead to the loss of money and manpower both.

Wrong hiring lead to an average loss of $4,129 per job in the United States alone.

To err is human, to forgive divine, but seeing the hefty cost of hiring an ill-fit professional makes it tough to take the divine stance. It is estimated that a wrong hire can cost you 2.5 times the salary.

Common hiring mistakes

Forty-one percent of businesses say the cost of a bad hire is about $25,000. It is a substantial hit that many small businesses cannot afford, which is why 50% of small business owners report that hiring a new person is their biggest challenge.

Since a majority of them are just starting out, they sometimes compromise on getting the right skills or experience for the job due to many constraints.

Small business owners hire just out-of-school graduates or people willing to work at much lower rates. What they don't realize is how much this gamble costs in the longer run.

Bad hire brings down your productivity astronomically and creates a work environment that does not reflect your company values. It has been observed that 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions and over 39% of businesses report a deep decline in productivity due to the same.

The process of hiring itself has undergone a stark change. We have moved from newspaper ads and interviews to online application submissions and Application Tracking Software (ATS), which screen candidates by filtering through hundreds of applications looking for relevant keywords.

Only the ones that pass the keyword hunt are forwarded to hiring managers. This process has its own pitfalls as a lot of people tend to lie and manipulate their resumes - so they can get jobs.

With the Pandemic changing how we work, one of the biggest challenges faced by employers is hiring the right people remotely. Once hired, the distance makes the task of effective virtual onboarding difficult.

There are issues with clarity of the role, challenges meeting the new company's goals and expectations, handling matters of change, and personal transition.

Top 10 Hiring Mistakes That Recruiters Make

hiring mistakes

According to Harvard Business Review, 95% of the companies hire to fill the existing positions. The most prominent issue companies face these days is employee retention. The job market may seem tight, yet a good job opening receives hundreds of applications.

The one-job-for-life is an old notion and long passed. Young and old professionals, alike, are looking to migrate to places with a better job environment and pay package. So one of the most significant mistakes employers make is hiring new staff without investing in retaining the existing staff.

1. Avoiding Technology

We talked about possible ATS pitfalls, yet you cannot deny that using technology makes the task of getting suitable recruits a lot easier.

Instead of sifting through a bulk of resumes, use affordable technology to make the work easier. Only 40% of employers actually put their applicants through IQ and general ability tests.

You can also up your game by using AI and gamification in hiring, as Google has. Google makes all job seekers play a game version of their real job. The idea is to check whether the applicant's expectations match the reality of the job.

This eliminates any chance of unhappiness among the employees arising later due to unhealthy job expectations. Marriot has adopted this as well and uses it even for hiring entry-level employees.

A lot of recruiters have the habit of getting star-struck when they see resumes of people from big, reputed companies. However, there is always a possibility that a person with fewer qualifications will be more skilled than the ones with tons of degrees to back them up.

Use Fireflies to record your interactions with future employees. Conduct job interviews and one-on-ones with ease. It lets you interview better by recording and transcribing all your sessions.

Fireflies AI notetaker to avoid hiring mistakes

Fireflies can join all meetings which have a video-conferencing URL. You can go back to the transcripts later and match the compatibility of the applicants to the requirements with selective keywords, and share important interludes with colleagues for their inputs too. To learn more head on to Fireflies for recruiters.

You can integrate Fireflies with your Google or Outlook calendar and have Fred (our AI assistant) auto-join all your meetings. Or, you can send an invite to fred@fireflies.ai.

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2. Underestimating The Power of Referrals

Some of the hiring managers make a habit of asking for referrals. As per research conducted by Jobvite, it is an excellent practice, as 70% of employers feel that referrals fit the company more than others. They also tend to give high job satisfaction and stay longer with the company.

However, a study conducted by Emilio Castilla and the team suggests that their better performance is attributed to referrers taking them under their wing and personally onboarding them. Whatever may be the case, at the end of the day, you are getting good hires after being vetted by your current staff.

3. Not Conducting Attitude Assessment

Apart from assessing the required skill set, it is also crucial to know whether the person has the right attitude to fit in with the team. This may have nothing to do with applicants personally but just who they are and whether they align with what you hold to be the company's core principles.

For example, if an applicant prefers to work alone, s/he might not be the right choice if your company works more collaboratively.

They, too, might feel uncomfortable working within a team. If a company insists on working by the rules and strict protocol, a more relaxed personality might not fit in.

4. Speeding Through The Selection Process

Another big reason for hiring a wrong employee is the mindset that somebody is better than nobody. This sentiment is stronger with start-ups. They are often in a rush to fill all positions without evaluating the job requirements or if the person is the right fit.

Selection process to avoid hiring mistakes

PwC's 2017 survey reports that CEOs fear that the biggest threat to their company is the unavailability of talents and skills. However, the problem is not a shortage of talent; but the unwillingness to invest time and effort in finding the right talent and then investing in retaining the same.

Take your time in vetting applications, spend some time interviewing the candidates and checking whether their skillset aligns with the company. Go for a second round of interviews, if needed.

The more you base your choice on these factors, the longer you extend their stay with the company.

5. Not Upgrading Your Interview Techniques

Some big companies prefer to have all their managers sit during the interview stage, draw as much information as possible, and then decide on hiring or not based on consensus. This can work well in some companies while it might become a case of too many cooks in others.

If you do prefer the first way of interviewing, then it is advised you divide it into two rounds – first, with one manager, and the final one with some others sitting in. The first one will check the initial fit. The second one can double-check their suitability to the company’s culture and ethos.

Sociologist Lauren Rivera's study reveals that being interviewed by just one person might result in the formation of an unconscious bias. You are more likely to hire those with similar interests as yours. With others in the room, the playing field gets leveled.

For remote hiring, you can turn your interview into a one-on-one zoom meet for the first stage and a group zoom meet for the final. Structuring your interview will also help you hire the most suitable employees.

6. Outside Hiring Vs. Internal Hiring

Companies tend to undervalue their existing staff and look for external hires, which turns out to be much more expensive.

According to Matthew Bidwell, Management professor at Wharton, outside hires take three years to perform as well as the internal hires in the same job. He also discovered that it takes internal hires seven years to earn as much as the external hires.

This causes the internal hires to turn into flight risks and also burdens the current staff with onboarding and helping them fit in. Always try to circulate job openings internally first, and if you fail to find a decent fit, then opt for external hiring.

7. Misleading Job Descriptions: Too Little Or Too Much

Another primary reason why you are having a problem keeping your employees happy is the lack of transparency when you first hired them.

Job description - hiring mistakes

Always set sensible, balanced expectations. If you oversell, they will feel underwhelmed; if you undersell it, they might feel pressured.

The essential thing is that the HR needs to study and understand what precisely the requirements of the job are before you go on a hiring spree. A good job description would include the following information:

  • Primary Responsibilities – What your daily work would look like? What are the tasks and roles you will have to perform as part of the job? What are the relevant skills required to do them efficiently?
  • Secondary Responsibilities – This section is for the subsidiary part of the role. These are the additional responsibilities that you might have to do on all days, or occasionally. Be specific.
  • Company Culture – This is a basic but important part. Tell the candidate what the environment in the company is. How this role fit in the bigger picture at the company.
  • Growth Potential – Tell them if this role has room for personal and professional development. How this role will help them grow and what are the future prospects this job can lead to.

8. Talking Instead Of Listening

Interviews are your chance to get to know who your applicants are. This is why it is counterproductive when you don't give them an opportunity to speak.

You might not do it intentionally, but your questions may be framed in a way that only requires simple answers about their skill, background and experience without giving much insight into their problem-solving capabilities or world-view.

For example, you might ask, "This job requires a knowledge of XZY software. Have you worked with it before?" Here, the candidate can answer your question with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

However, if you ask, "Describe how your experience working with XZY software was.” The candidate will have to give a detailed explanation. Ask open-ended questions and allow them to fill in the silence. This gives them an opportunity to think more and come up with a more elaborate response.

You may have become too comfortable with one set of platforms to advertise your jobs. When you promote on the same platform, the talent pool also remains the same. Understand the role and your audience.

Staying restricted in job search

If it is a small role, publish it in the local paper; if you need a highly skilled professional, post on LinkedIn or trade magazines.

You can also use social media for better and farther reach. This enables you to hire rigorously and with more diversity in applications. Make the most of the abundant platforms available on the internet.

10. Hiring Oversellers

50% of the applicants lie on their resumes. They tell you what you want to hear. Interviewing them will help you weed them out. The chances are that with oversellers, you might end up with a "yes man," which may sound great, but it is always better to hire people who are honest and eager to learn instead of those faking that they know everything.

Look for people who ask you the right questions because later, they will help you find the right answers.

Plan Your Recruitment Well To Avoid These Hiring Mistakes

The key is to know that you have made use of all the tools and technologies available to hire the best professionals that you can. Instead of looking for people with experience, it is recommended you look for people with relevant skills.

You can also give a chance to aspiring professionals looking to gain experience by mentoring them and building talent from the baseline.

Also, having a better grasp of the latest hiring trends will keep you on top of your game and updated on hiring mistakes to avoid.

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