Common Hiring Mistakes by Firms

Hiring the right person for the right job and at the right time is a challenging task since it requires thorough evaluation on the part of the interviewer(s) in order to be spot on while selecting the best candidate for the vacant position. Employee Selection
However, we often see firms making wrong selections, perhaps (at times) they put too much emphasis on evaluating applicant’s personality and sometimes they are more concerned with the technical expertise. Ideally, it has to be a blend of both.
For this reason, firms can formulate an appropriate interview plan in which they can devise certain sets of questions, both technical and non technical and then put forward to the candidates appearing in the interview. This way, the interviewer can make note of the responses given against each question therefore this can facilitate them a great deal to evaluate the candidates on similar grounds.
Other essential characteristics that could be considered in this regard are; preparing the correct job description and job specification, doing necessary reference checks, evaluating candidates impartially, giving them reasonable time to express themselves.
Kindly share your opinions on what can be done to minimize the hiring mistakes usually made by firms in order to achieve better results without consuming a lot of precious time and resources?


  • I think a big common hiring mistake is not taking into consideration that even the most qualified applicant that is hired has to have a training period and acclimation to the job and the way your company does business. It seems that in the current business climate it is to expect to hire someone that has all of the qualifications for the job and expect instant perfect employee from day one. Sorry folks to cut down on employee turn over you have to orientate the new employee to the organization, provide them with actual successful material they can use as a model for your job expectation

  • Here’s a blog post I wrote that will be added to my website in the next month:
    Hope this helps,
    Anyone who has ever held a job has met an employee that is a poor fit for his or her job. How does this happen? We have more HR professionals than ever before, we have more possible vocations than ever before, we have more job training than ever before and yet we keep sticking square pegs in round holes. Why? The answer is simple: character.
    The typical hiring process looks something like this:
    1)Post an ad
    2)Receive 173 replies
    3)Screen all but three based on:
    a.Experience – Do they have the skills
    b.Education/Accreditations – Do they have the training/schooling
    c.Emotion – Based on their resume, do I feel like they’d be a good fit
    4)Have them in for interviews
    5)Make the decision to hire one of the three
    6)Call references to confirm the decision
    7)Offer the job
    The typical firing sequence (no pun intended) looks like this:
    1)Notice counterproductive or inappropriate behavior
    2)Do nothing
    3)Repeat the steps 1) and 2)
    4)Fire them
    This sequence is what occurs when someone is hired based on his or her skills & education alone. Nowhere in the hiring process were character attributes evaluated; yet it was character flaws that got this person fired! (I’m talking specifically about firing, not laying off due to a legitimate downsizing or slow down in the economy.)
    An effective hiring process needs to evaluate character traits and should look like the following:
    1)Develop a list of character attributes required for the position
    2)Post an ad that mentions some of these characteristics
    3)Receive 173 replies
    4)Screen all but three based on:
    a.Ability to write a cover letter that relates to the ad (not a canned cover letter)
    b.A demonstrated ability to learn a new skill or task
    c.An interest in growing and learning
    5)Have them in for a lengthy interview. Include questions that get beyond skills and begin to look at character
    6)Call references to further determine if the necessary character traits are present.
    7)If none of the people are the right fit: DON’T HIRE THEM! BE PATIENT!
    8)Offer the job and train the new employee to develop any missing skills
    Remember: character traits can’t be learned on the job. If they aren’t present when you hire the individual, they never will be. The interviewees are presenting themselves in the finest possible way in order to have a chance at the job. If you have any concerns about character, don’t hire them. Be patient. Hire right. Hire once. Character counts.

  • I’m partial to many components of Bob Langworthy’s methodology. A good way to measure some of the intangible qualities of “fit” can be found by utilizing assessment tools such as Gabriel Institute’s “Role Based Assessment” tool. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process once you’ve identified a candidate pool with the prerequisite “hard skills” necessary to fill the position. From that pool, you evaluate the type of charater traits each candidate brings to bear based on the results of the asessment.
    I hope this helps.

  • Hi Salima,
    I think hiring a person after only one interview is always risky business. Two different interviews – one on the candidate’s curriculum and one competency-based interview, f.ex. using the STAR-method – seems a minimum to me. Furthermore, I would strongly advise providing the time during the recruitment procedure to let the candidate take an assessment centre. As such, it is not only the technical competencies of the person that matter for a specific job, the candidate also has to fit in with the company culture. Therefore, it is important to establish the critical competencies, not only for the function, but also on the organisational level, in order to diminish the risk of a wrong hiring. These competencies are consequentley thoroughly investigated during the assessment day. Although this seems more time-consuming and more expensive at first sight while hiring a new employee, having to get rid of a wrongly hired employee yields a much higher cost for the company.

  • Yes, Yes, Yes…. to Bob L and Bob W!!!!!
    Did you know…….hiring off interviews has a 14% success rate in getting
    the best candidate?
    Did you know……. factoring reference checks increases the success rate
    to 26%?
    While not familiar with the Gabriel Institutes “Role Based Assessment Tool,” you need an assessment that looks at the “Total Person.”
    Learning Index- does the candidate have the math and verbal skills required? Do they have too much in terms of math and verbal reasoning skills? Can they be taught and groomed based on these skills?
    Behavioural- does the candidate’s characteristic make-up, suit that with the characteristics required for the position, ie; negotiator, multi-tasker, independent, performer under pressure, etc.?
    Interests- is the candidate’s interests consistent with that of the company’s industry and that of the position within the company?
    Once you get a true perspective view on the candidate, the success rate in hiring the best candidate available will increase exponentially. Results will be reduced turnover (voluntarily and involuntarily), increased production, reduced absenteeism amongst other benefits.
    The positive impact to the company’s bottom line are dramatic.
    Good Luck Salima!!!!
    Ralph Ingraham

  • I can only speak from an outsider’s perspective right now. I think I may have been passed over in favor of other candidates a couple of times because the decision makers failed to factor in my ability to adapt, learn, and grow. It seemed like they were screening for XYZ which we both had and then it was apparently a close call and I ended up being second choice (more than once). If the company knew my tenacity, problem solving skills, and track record perhaps I’d have been chosen over the other candidate. I don’t think their process and decision making factor in some of my best qualities as much as they do ‘fit’, ‘personality’, and ‘work style’.

  • Jason Croyle suggests this expert on this topic:
    * Charles Coker, PhD, SPHR
    For the past 17 years Chuck has worked both in – house and as a consultant on the development and implementation of proprietary Human Capital Management processes across a broad scope of Fortune Companies, regional organizations, educational institutions and theological based groups.
    Messages from Jason Croyle (1):

  • I think that in order to reduce or minimize the hiring mistakes company should go to the agencies to ask for qualify workers that your company needs to hire employees to work.
    For example, I am luck to work at the Japanese company of the SMIC for least three months.
    I went to the De Anza College career center asks for job.
    In that time, one of counselors tells me that SMIC hiring some students to work at the SMIC.
    I went to the SMIC to apply for the job when I fill the applications ask there are any references who prefer this job opening at the SMIC.
    I put one of my counselors name at the De Anza College; SMIC accepts my applications and ask for job interview.
    I got the job at the SMIC, but SMIC had a few orders from abroad.
    Therefore, SMIC had to lay off me.
    In addition, what I learned SMIC is that he never hires permanent employees?
    What I mean that he will look for employees performances for least two or three years.
    First, he will make two months contract to hire employees.
    Second, he will make another six months contract to hire employees.
    Third, he will make another six months contract to hire employees.
    Four, he will make another six months contract to hire employees.
    Finally, he will evaluate the employee’s performance to hire permanent employees to work at SMIC because SMIC pays pretty high salary employees to work at the corporation.
    SMIC is looking for quality employees that he likes to hire for long-term.

  • Salima:
    I think the biggest mistake companies do in hiring is not putting diversity in consideration or in contrast rely on affirmative action too much in fear of being sued for discrimination
    They dont check if the person can fit the corporate culture thet maintain or not, a technical person doesnt mean they are a good fit or a good team player or even a personable employee and vice verso so when hiring people a series of tests including some personality tests should be attested

  • Thanks Bob Langworthy for providing a process that many people should consider in enhancing the success rate in recruitment. I also agree, it is always better to wait for the right candidate instead of hiring someone to fill a need. In the long term, it will come back to haunt you. I’ve always used that approach in my recruitment strategies but there are often pressures against HR Practioners to fill the needs.
    I like that you list character as an important criterion that should be integrated in the job description process for recruitment. Not taking away the qualifications and experience, willingness to learn, grow, ability to get along with people, initiative, dedication, determination and commitment are all important criteria that contribute to great character and should be applied in a multitudes of jobs. I believe considering character provides a holistic strategy that can help avoid future disappointments and enhance the success rates in the recruitment quality.
    The challenge and where I believe this discrepency can stem from is in the over reliance on technology in the present recruitment processes. Technology is great and convenient but as long as we keep relying on technology in recruiting, never will it have the ability to assess the humanistic dimension. I’ve observed time after time that technology has unfortunately lost in the virtual space, some potential excellent candidates, great talents, that should they have been chosen and would have been a secure and profitable investment for organizations.

  • reate accurate job specifications – some companies refuse to have job descriptions, thinking they will restrict what employees can do. A good job description is the basic requirement to creating accurate job specifications. You can’t hire the right person for a task if you aren’t sure what those tasks are or what skills and personal attributes are required. As well, be sure to include organizational culture attributes that are important.
    Involve the right people – sometimes a job search is confidential but, in most cases, you need to consult with the managers who will be directly working with the new employee. Seek their input on the selection criteria and specifically focus on the interpersonal skills versus the technical skills.
    Applying an appropriate search strategy – targeting and conducting your candidate search requires multiple avenues of advertising. Use a combination of newspaper, online job boards, social networking and employee referral processes so that you get the widest circulation of your message.
    Match resumes to skills criteria – make yourself a checklist and compare each resume to this list. Determine whether an 80 per cent match would work and/or if you truly need a 100 per cent match of skills and abilities.
    Train your interviewers – most managers do not regularly conduct employment interviews on a regular basis and so their candidate search and interview skills are typically quite rusty if they did indeed have them at all. Interviewers need to be trained in interview skills and must develop questions that are directly related to the knowledge and skills required for the job. Ask for specific examples or problems, challenges and accomplishments. Know the questions that are deemed illegal and avoid them at all costs.
    Prepare your candidates – share with your candidates as much information ahead of time as possible. Send them brochures, your strategic plan or any other document that will help them to assess your company and your job.
    Limit your talk – If you are doing all the talking, then you aren’t learning enough about your candidate. Give as many details as possible but avoid the “run-at-the-mouth” syndrome. If you are doing all the talking, you are wasting time.
    Create a multi-level assessment process – one interview will not do it. You need to create a multi-level process such as a plant tour, interviews with other employees or engagement in a business simulation that will help you to see the practical skills the individual offers.
    Manage the time lines – there is nothing worse than taking too much time to conduct your search. If this happens, you will lose candidates … they don’t want to wait, they want a new job. Prepare yourself for a process that takes approximately six-to-eight weeks.
    Conduct broad reference checks – involve people who will work with the new candidate. Ask for references from a boss, a peer and a subordinate to make sure you get a well-rounded response.
    Plan for effective orientation – under any circumstances, it takes a new employee at least one year to become accustomed to a new job. At the same time, keep in mind that within the first 30 days, the individual will be making his/her mind up about whether the job was a good choice.
    Hire an executive recruiter – last but not least, and in particular if you do not conduct a search process very often, consider hiring an executive recruiter. Not only are these professionals highly skilled in their work but they also have a broad network of candidates from which they can help locate an individual who will fit into your company.
    Replacing an employee can cost up to three times their salary in both direct and indirect costs. This makes it all the more important that employers who conduct the search are skilled in carrying out this important corporate task.

  • So many reasons are already listed. I believe, while interviewing, 99% HR forget the basic rule: Each individual is different from all other. It leads to an expectation that the hired person will have to adjust/ accommodate/ upgrade etc to the organization’s norms both in terms of KRA and behavioral.
    It’s never mutual. If an applicant is in need of a job, the reverse is also true. We deviate from truth.

  • First impressions take around 1/25 of a second to make, it is built in genetically and nothing we can do will change that, with that in mind it takes over 5 minutes to overcome those first impressions if you are able to, you may not like that person without knowing why and miss out on a great employee because you didn’t give them a chance. With handwriting analysis, it is easy to overcome the first impressions and be able to find out about the individual’s personality traits. If you know what you are looking for in a new employee, and you should make a list of the important traits and skills, you can find out if the person being interviewed has most of them pretty easily by having their handwriting analyzed. It isn’t like reading Tarot cards, it is a science and should be used more often, would eleminate a lot of bad hiring choices. Shouldn’t rely on gut feelings, a good con has already read all the books on body language.

  • Definitely Employment Pre Screening is the way to go. In my business, The People Link Corp ( I use a testing system that has a very high degree of accuracy in detecting a good candidate or a not so good one. I use a combination of Personality Test, Aptitude Test and IQ Test and those along with my finely tuned interviewing techniques, developed over 14 years in the business allow me to nearly always find the pearls. I offer the testing service to HR departments for a nominal fee. See link below.

  • I think that looking for what you had rather than what you need is very commonplace. I think that it is very common, and a perfectly obvious human reaction, to look for someone who is the same in all respects as the previous employee – this is a tricky path to go down and also has pitfalls as the previous employee is no longer there and presumably left for a reason which may also apply to the new appointee.

  • Ian MacDonald

    Your post highlights the fact that quality Pre Employment Screening is critical. Often, the warning signs for who is a poor candidate are missed and the evidence supporting the fact that a client is the best client is sometimes overlooked. Basically, education and employment verification, conducted the right way, in combination with a quick back criminal background check, will bring to light more details that will help a company make the right hiring decision. The U.S. Small Business Administration says that for every $1 spent on Pre Employment Screening $5-$16 is generated in increased productivity and decreased risk of liability due to the result of better hiring decisions. Also, $4 billion are lost by companies annually due to internal theft and embezzlement, and you are 15 times more likely to be stolen from by your employees than by someone else.
    Pre Employment Screening is our area of expertise and we can help you complete the process quickly at a very low cost; the results will be worth it. We have access to over 175 million records and we always remain compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If we can help your business make smarter hiring decisions, please contact us.
    Ian MacDonald
    Expert Background Screening, LLC

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