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No Matter How Badly You Need to Hire Now, Don’t Make These 10 Hiring Mistakes


For all who have made a hiring mistake in the past, put your hands up.  I have made some embarrassing ones and in every case I reflect back to the hiring process.  Should I have seen something that would have given me a hint that this person would be a “bad hire”?  In the majority of cases, I can think back to one of the 10 hiring mistakes and know that I made at least one of them.

Even the most experienced interviewer has made some errors.  The key is not to achieve 100% in the selection process, since this is highly improbable.  The goal should be to increase the probability of finding the right candidate.  There are certain steps one can avoid to increase success during the selection process.


Here are 10 Hiring Mistakes to Avoid:


1.  Going into the Interview without Some Preparation:

When you are interviewing a highly qualified candidate, the interview process is a two-way street.  You want the candidate to explain why you should hire him, but you are probably not the only company he is interviewing with.  If the candidate eventually has two offers, he needs to be convinced your company will be his best choice.

You won’t do that if you don’t take the time to understand exactly what the role entails.  Also, take 5-10 minutes before the interview to review the resume.  Based on the candidate’s experience, you should be able to write out 2-3 questions that you would like to ask based on his experience.


2.  Not Listening to your Gut Instinct – Ignoring Red Flags

Sometimes, it is not about the experience or how perfectly the candidate answers.  Sometimes, it’s about listening to your gut feeling or paying attention to any red flags.  The few times I didn’t listen to my gut, I always ended up regretting it later.


3.  Ignoring the Attitude because of the Aptitude

Hire for Attitude and train for skill.  A candidate with a great attitude, determination, passion and potential will go further than a candidate with a toxic attitude, no matter the skill.  A negative attitude spreads quickly and will damage your team’s dynamics.


4.  Hiring Someone Because you are Desperate

I have been there before.  I needed to hire desperately and made compromises on taking the time to find the right person.  So I took a gamble on a “maybe”.  I finally learned that it is better to just wait to find the right person.  It saves you more time in the end.


5.  Focusing on the Short Term Hire vs the Long Term Employee

Similar to hiring because you’re desperate, hiring to fill a short-term urgency is a mistake.  Hiring the right person is not just about filling an immediate need.  The right candidate will also be able to meet your long-term employee needs as well.  Ask yourself, “Will this person be able to adapt and grow as the company does?”


6.  Not Inviting the Good Candidates for a Second or Third Interview

Don’t make too quick of a hiring decision.  Ensure you take time to reflect and put candidates through several interview processes.  Ideally, with different interviewers.  This will allow you to get to know as much about the candidate as possible.  What may have seemed like the ideal person during one interview, may not seem so ideal during the next.


7.  Talking too Much Instead of Listening

You will not be able to have an accurate picture of the candidate’s potential if you are doing all the talking.  Your primary goal is to get the candidate to reveal as much as possible about herself.   Behavioral based questions are a great way to get a grasp of past behaviors.


8.  Not Checking References – Validating Results

The ideal person should be able to find enough people who can validate the successes described during the interview.


9.  Hiring for Image or Cultural Fit

In retail, I have seen several hires done because the interviewer felt that the candidate would be able to represent the brand’s image.  While it is important to ensure the candidate will be a cultural fit, you should not hire for image but skill and attitude.  Hiring someone for the outside without focusing on the inside will not do any favors to your turnover rate.


10.  Hiring for Numbers

This is a twofold step; hiring to avoid paying too much and hiring based solely on numbers.

Hiring for salary:  I understand the importance of protecting your bottom line.  However, sometimes paying a little more for the right person will bring more to your company’s success and bottom line than choosing a candidate because he will accept a lower salary.

Hiring based solely on numbers:  An excellent salesperson with a solid track record can make a recruiter get starry-eyed.  But don’t let the lure of a candidate generating a lot of money be the sole basis of your decision.  Don’t rely on one person to be the savior to your numbers.  Attitude and the ability to integrate well in your team is essential as well.


Have you made any hiring mistakes in the past?



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