How To Avoid The 5 Biggest Hiring Mistakes

Making a hiring mistake is akin to making a costly impulse purchase, without having a receipt. The cumulative affect on your business, your department, your career even, of making one or two bad hires, can be expensive.

Quarterly targets can be missed, and depending on the size of your company there could be repercussions across the business.

Reversing that “they looked so good on paper” hiring decision takes time, then you have to go through the hiring process again, which takes more time and costs more money.

What are the most costly hiring mistakes, and how do you avoid them?

1. Trusting your gut

Most of us, with any amount of professional experience, will admit to trusting our gut on occasion. And why not? It’s served us well, to some extent. But hiring someone because of your gut, because of a “feeling” isn’t always the smartest way to go.

Despite more than half a century of data proving hiring has a 50% failure rate*, people still go with who they feel they could get along with at work — when presented with a plethora of equally qualified candidates.

Trust data, the value a candidate can bring, and the way they fit with your culture, rather than the vibe you got from their personality.

2. Failing resume due diligence

Some candidates look great on paper. They offer just the right combination of skills, experience and education. A lot of those same candidates could be bending the truth. Studies show that 70% of college students would lie to land that perfect job, 46% of resumes include false information, and 21% of people lie about their education.

In the same way you should always check when making a purchasing decision from a supplier, you should conduct due diligence on a prospective employee. Email or phone references to make sure that at least a couple of the statements on a resume are accurate.

3. Guessing on “cultural fit”

There are two kinds of ways a candidate can fit into a company’s culture. One is the right way, whereby psychological testing pre-screens candidates to ensure they’re suitable.

The other goes back to a combination of a gut feeling, a resume (which could easily contain false information) and you — as the one responsible for hiring — getting along with the candidate. Getting along, having a laugh, even seeing yourself as wanting to be friends with a candidate is a nice, safe way of supporting that gut instinct. Sometimes it works out well, too.

But from the perspective of a company’s culture, the value a candidate needs to bring is to the work they should accomplish. Being best friends isn’t going to drive bottom line growth. They might be a great fit in both respects, but any instinct you have for a candidate should always be supported by data.

4. Filtering too quickly

Depending on the position you might have a lot of resumes. Going through them on a lunch break, between phone calls and meetings, without any pre-screening or testing to verify the information, will set you up to fail. A hiring decision is costly, so ensure you take the kind of time required to do it well. Prepare probing questions that will show you’ve taken the time, thereby giving you further information on which to base your decision.

5. Not closing

Hiring is a two way process. Imagine if the tables were reversed: you’d gone through a lengthy interview process, taken psychological tests and had jumped through all the right hoops. Wouldn’t you want to feel valued, before signing on with this new company? Those responsible for hiring should make the successful candidate feel wanted and close the deal in the same way anyone in a sales role would close with a prospective client.

Sell them your company’s values, benefits, chances of career progression. Make sure that they want to work for you as much as you want them.

Do you recognise any of these mistakes? Chances are that you have already committed a few, or will do so again. It’s not your fault. Hiring is broken. We at Cream.HR are actively working to fix it. If you want to learn more about pre-employment psychometric testing, check out for more details.

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