5 most common hiring mistakes and how to avoid them
Hiring 4 minute read

5 most common hiring mistakes and how to avoid them

Rise | July 28, 2020

Hiring managers are people too, and that means they can make mistakes. Here are some of the most common hiring mistakes that may be holding back your organization from finding, and retaining, top talent.

Replacing an employee can be costly. 

Research has found that “the typical (median) cost of turnover [is] 21 percent of an employee’s annual salary”. As an example, an employee whose salary is $60,000 a year will cost you $12,600 to replace—so it’s crucial to select the right candidate when recruiting and hiring for open positions. 

However, even the most experienced recruiter can make some common hiring mistakes despite their best efforts to attract the right talent. 

We’ve pulled together the five most common mistakes that might be hindering your hiring strategy. 

1. Writing generic job descriptions

If you’re not getting the volume of applicants you’re expecting, you may need to revisit your job descriptions. A job posting is like your sales pitch to candidates: you need to make it intriguing enough to grab their attention and inspire them to apply. 

When writing your job description, don’t just list out the prerequisites and duties of the position. Take the opportunity to describe your ideal candidate and how that person would contribute to your company’s culture and your mission. 

Post your open positions widely (on your website, on job boards, on social media) to reach more candidates and gain more qualified applicants. 

2. Falling in love with a candidate too soon

It’s easy to favour certain candidates before you even meet them because they look great on paper. If you’re the hiring manager, confer with your recruiter about candidates after the initial phone interview. Did the candidate speak well about their credentials? Did they sound distracted on the phone? Are there any concerns or hesitations that your recruiter has? 

Create a level playing field for all candidates by structuring your in-person or video interviews the same way, asking the same questions in the same order. 

Resist the temptation of comparing candidates to each other. This is known as contrast bias, the tendency to compare candidates or employees to each other rather than comparing them to a preset company standard. A candidate who looks good by contrast may not be your best hire—only the best from a mediocre batch. 

Once you’ve selected your final candidates, always do a reference check to better understand each candidate’s strengths and their working style. 

3. Not creating a timeline for the hiring process

When your recruiting process moves too slowly or too quickly, you might be increasing your chances of hiring the wrong candidate. How so? 

Rushing the process may cause you to overlook important items, such as checking references and performing background checks. If the hiring process takes too long, your ideal candidate may accept a job elsewhere. 

Create a timeline for your hiring process, including a desired hire-by date. Communicate your expectations with everyone involved in the hiring so that you’re all aligned on dates and interview availability.

4. Conducting inconsistent interviews

Without a prepared list of questions, it’s easy for an interview to lose focus. By consistently asking each candidate the same set of questions, you’ll ensure the integrity of your interview process by allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison of candidates. It will also give you more control over the conversation, ensuring that the candidate—not the interviewer—does most of the talking.

Interviewers should be focused on the candidate’s behaviour, style, personality and fit. Structuring your interview in advance will allow you to strategize how you will uncover these details while giving each candidate an equal opportunity for the role.

5. Not following up with applicants

It’s important that you follow up with all candidates after the job interview. Yes, even with applicants who aren’t going to be moved forward in the interview process. By replying to everyone, not just candidates selected for an interview, you help perpetuate a positive employer brand. If an applicant has a positive experience by receiving a thoughtful response to their application, they’ll share this positive experience with others—and one of them may turn out to be an ideal fit for your organization. 

Understandably, it can be time consuming to reply to every applicant. Rely on form letters or automated rejection systems to respond to candidates with very little effort on your part. 

Want more recruitment tips? Download our latest ebook: 10 Recruiting Hack Every Talent Manager Should Know

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