How to Avoid the Biggest Hiring Mistakes

Hiring the perfect candidate is no easy task – especially in today’s hyper-competitive, fast-paced recruiting environment.

Recruiters have a lot at stake every time they fill an open position because a bad hire can hurt a business in a number of ways. Consider these statistics from a CareerBuilder survey:

  • 53% of bad hires brought a negative attitude to the workplace.
  • 37% of businesses report a decrease in productivity due to a bad hire.
  • Companies lost an average of $14,900 on every bad hire.

As you can see, hiring the wrong person can be extremely detrimental to your organization. For this reason, it’s important that you recognize and correct any errors or bad habits that currently impede your hiring process.

The Five Biggest Hiring Mistakes and Better Alternatives

Today we break down some of the most common hiring mistakes and offer you some helpful alternatives. So, if you’re ready to hire better candidates and improve your recruiting process, keep reading.

Hiring Mistake #1: You rush the hiring process.

Companies hire new employees for a variety of reasons. But, more often than not, they do so because there’s a void they need to fill– an employee leaving the company, an increased workload, etc. Recruiters and hiring managers naturally want to fill roles as quickly as possible to keep productivity on track.

But, rushing the hiring process can leave your company in an even worse predicament. When you rush the hiring process, you forgo strategy for convenience which often leads to confusion and ultimately, low-quality hires.

Solution #1: Build candidate personas.

Candidate personas serve as a recruiter’s blueprint throughout the entire hiring process. If you aren’t familiar, a candidate persona is a profile of your ideal candidate for any given open position. Candidate personas, sometimes called career personas, include data points such as work history, education, and both soft and hard skills.

These profiles help you get ultra-targeted with your candidate search so that you know exactly what you’re looking for in a hire. Among other benefits, candidate personas help you:

  • Write and place more effective job descriptions
  • Improve your employer brand
  • Source passive candidates
  • Decrease employee turnover rate

Even though creating candidate personas can seem like an unnecessary use of time—especially when you have positions to fill—they’re a much-needed resource for modern recruiters. So don’t just go through the motions, really put effort into your candidate personas and you’ll see this effort pay big dividends.

To learn how to create detailed candidate personas, read the following blog post: Job Candidate Personas: A Guide for Recruiters.

Hiring Mistake #2: You overvalue industry experience.

Experience is a good indicator of a qualified candidate– but too many recruiters consider it a “make or break” factor when filling an open position. If you disqualify candidates who don’t meet a specific experience threshold, you may be overlooking some high-quality candidates.

For example– let’s say you’re hiring a marketing copywriter. One candidate has four years of relevant experience. Another candidate has only one year of experience, but has better writing samples and fits your candidate persona more accurately. Who would make the better hire? The answer is easy.

Solution #2: Prioritize skills and attributes over experience.

Look beyond a candidate’s work experience and identify the characteristics that indicate a strong employee.

Hiring Mistake #3: Interviews are your last step of candidate evaluation.

Let’s face it– some candidates are more naturally gifted than others when it comes to interviews. A candidate can come into your office and say all the right things. But, how do you actually know the candidate can actually perform the job?

The short answer is, you can’t. Yet, many recruiters consider interviews to be the final stage of their hiring process. Your intuition tells you you’ve found a great candidate, but in reality, you may have just found a great interviewee.

Solution #3: Put your candidate to the test.

Give your candidates a quick assignment—during the interview or after—that forces them to back up their claims. For example, give a copywriter candidate a quick writing or editing assignment.

Hiring Mistake #4: You mislead candidates about the role.

Hiring is a two-way street– although you’re in charge of finding the best candidate,  the candidate is the one who ultimately decides if they want to work at your company.

When you encounter a high-quality candidate, you may be tempted to oversell the role. But, no matter how badly you want to win a candidate, overselling the role during the interview process is a big mistake. The candidate you hire will quickly realize that the job isn’t what they expected. Before you know it, they will leave for a better opportunity – and you’re back where you started, with a vacant job to fill.

Solution #4: Be transparent.

Job descriptions and conversations with candidates should accurately represent the role in question. Set realistic expectations, even if it means a good candidate decides your company isn’t the right fit for them. Always be clear about the following aspects of an open position:

  • Primary job functions: What does the day-to-day look like in this role? What are the main tasks the candidate will be responsible for, and what skills are required to perform these tasks? Are there any specific challenges that this employee should expect to face?
  • Growth potential: What future opportunities can this role lead to? Is there room to explore interests beyond the role’s main requirements?
  • Company culture: What kind of work environment can the candidate expect? What benefits do you offer? How does this role fit into the big picture at your company?

Although losing a great candidate can sting, finding the perfect fit through honest and transparent recruiting tactics is better for your company in the long run.

Hiring Mistake #5: You stick to a narrow set of candidate sourcing channels.

If you consistently post job openings on the same handful of channels, you will continue to bring in the same types of applicants. While that may have worked for you in the past, the recruiting landscape is always evolving– and there is now a huge variety of candidate sourcing tools and recruiting platforms.

If you are struggling to find the right candidate, it’s not because they don’t exist– it’s because you’re not looking in the right places.

Solution #5: Experiment with new platforms.

Recruiters always benefit when they cast a wider net. Continue to use job boards and LinkedIn recruiting tactics, but you should also get creative and expand your efforts to platforms you may not have used in the past. For example, newer social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram may not seem like the place to find candidates– but they can be effective recruiting channels if you use them correctly.

If you want some ideas to expand your candidate sourcing strategy, check out the following blog post: 4 Outside-the-Boxing Sourcing Techniques That Actually Work.

Key Takeaways About Common Hiring Mistakes

No matter how successful your recruiting efforts are, there is always room for improvement. Just like any other profession, recruiters are human, and thus subject to making mistakes and developing bad habits.

So, before you jump into your next candidate search, take a step back and analyze your recruiting strategy. You will almost always find areas you can improve and hiring mistakes you can correct. Make the necessary changes, and your next hiring process will be more efficient and successful than your last.

Learn more about ZoomInfo’s recruiting platform today! We can help you source high-quality candidates quickly.