8 common hiring mistakes that could cost you big

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It has never been more important to nail your hiring decisions. Employers are dealing with higher levels of change and uncertainty than ever before.

Political elections both here and overseas are also adding to the challenge of plotting a course for the future.

All the more reason for avoiding some of these common hiring mistakes that could have a big impact on your ability to succeed in the fast changing world we work in.

Not being prepared

Getting a hiring decision right is crucial but it’s rarely the only crucial decision on your plate so it can be tempting to scrimp on your own interview prep. Don’t do it.

‘Winging it’ is not an option.

You will need to develop a good list of questions in consultation with your recruiter, HR advisor and the team to test the technical proficiency, soft skills and culture fit of each candidate.

Also think about hiring decisions you have made over the years that have worked and others that have fallen flat in the past. What question do you wish you had asked that could have made all the difference?

Hiring in your own image

It can be tempting to hire someone you understand – someone just like you. However, you need new and different thinking in the team and to have your own thinking challenged to help you solve the problems on the horizon as well as those you can’t yet see.

With robust screening processes and good preparation, move beyond your comfort zone and seize the opportunity to add to the problem solving fire power of your team.

Actively hire in difference – academic background, hands on experience and diversity whether that is gender, age, cultural background or business background. Shake it up.

Don’t hire yourself into a corner

There have been clients that have badly wanted to hire a great candidate but feared how that person would “fit in” with the rest of the team because they were pretty much all younger or older or one particular gender or of a single degree background.

Your next hire has to be a cultural fit but be careful you are not then creating a sub culture that severely limits the type of candidate you can hire in the future.

Diversity has a great number of advantages including flexibility to hire that amazing candidate who just happens to be someone out of the box to your norm.

Not consulting the team

Whether you run an entire department or just a team, the people who report to you have a ground level view of the skills, knowledge and temperament needed to succeed in the role on offer.

You don’t want to delegate responsibility for decisions you need to make but you do want to consult staffers who have valuable information you need.

Just ensure you communicate clearly how much influence team members will have on hiring decisions and how and when they will be consulted. Having team members meet short listed candidates offers both advantages and disadvantages depending on how you manage expectations.

Hiring on the fly? Don’t settle for second best

You’ve got FTE budget and a hole in the team to fill but none of the candidates you are interviewing are hitting quite the right note.

When you are under the pump to deliver a project or fill a gap in the team it can make be tempting to go with second best.

Take the pressure off by creating a contract role or temporary assignment so you can test out a candidate or at least go back to market at a later date to find the talent you want.

Not reimagining the role to suit a great candidate

Sometimes the opposite is true. You find a dream candidate but he/she is not an exact fit for the role on offer.

Rather than let hard to find talent slip through the net, invest some time in reimagining how else work could get done.

Can you create a new role that will deliver results you need but also suit the candidate sitting across from you? Could you reassign some of the tasks in your traditional role to create a stretch goal for another staff member or a part-time role or temp role to take on some of the duties while building up a role your preferred candidate could fill?

Great talent is hard to find so don’t limit yourself by sticking to the script.

Hiring based on the best interview performance

Job interviews are stressful for all parties. Both candidates and employers have a short time to make an assessment that will inform a decision with long lasting consequences.

It is the job of the interviewer to put the interviewee at ease so you get to see the real person.

Being impressed by a great interview performance is human but it is vital to not be dazzled by the confident candidate and overlook someone that may struggle with interviews but who may ultimately be a better fit.

You have to hire the best person for the job – not the candidate best at job interviews.

Ignoring the red flags because you like the candidate

Likewise, it can be easy to swat away a doubt or the concern of a colleague co-interviewing candidates with you about someone you had instant rapport with.

An important gap in a career history, a seemingly funny joke with an inappropriate tone or body language at odds with the answers being given are red flags you should pay attention to.

Sure the candidate may appear to be charm personified or share your love of a sport or hobby or have a similar business philosophy but that bum note deserves further investigation.

No matter how much you like a candidate; he or she needs to be assessed against the same objective list of criteria in the same way as your other potential hire.

About this author

A professional profile of an employeeNick Deligiannis, Managing Director, began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

Follow Nick on LinkedIn

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