5 Common mistakes employers make during the hiring process

Hiring the wrong employee can cost the employer significant time and time and money. Employers who unintentionally make mistakes during the hiring process and can increase the chances of hiring the right candidate by avoiding these 5 common mistakes.

— By Debra Prentice, Market Development Director


According the U.S. Department of Labor, the cost of hiring the wrong person is estimated to at least 30% of the employee’s first year earnings; and according to Forbes, hiring the wrong person in a small business can threaten the financial viability of the company. Hiring the wrong person also costs the company a lot of time searching for a new candidate and will negatively affect the morale of your team. While hiring a trusted staffing company ensures that your company is not hiring the wrong candidate (saving you both time and money), there are 5 common mistakes to avoid during the hiring process so that you can ensure the best possible candidate is hired.


Waiting too long to hire in the hopes of finding the ‘perfect’ candidate

More than likely, no one candidate is going to completely fill the entire wish list of skills you desire in an employee. Additionally, if you are looking to fill a position from the previous well-seasoned employee, keep in mind your previous employee grew with your company and gained many skills specific to your culture over a long period of time. The ideal candidate is one who will fill most of the skill sets you are looking for, but more importantly fits well with your company culture.

The most attractive candidates that you want to hire are probably also candidates that your competitors would also like to hire.  Waiting too long to make your decision will give your competitor the opportunity to capitalize on great talent that was waiting for your answer.


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Making candidates wait weeks or months for your decision can also have a negative impact on the image of your company. It is understandable that as an employer you would like to avoid the mistake of hiring the wrong person but waiting too long to hire can have a negative impact on your company image.

According to a 2013 CareerBuilder study, 60% of interviewees never received an answer from the companies that they interviewed with, and as a result: 42% would not seek employment there again, 22% would tell others not to work there, and 9% would tell others not to purchase their products or services. Further, a 2017 CareerBuilder study revealed that 78% of people surveyed said that the overall candidate experiences they receive is an indicator of how the company values its people.


Bottom line: Waiting too long to decide and not following up with candidates who didn’t receive a second interview can result in a negative image of your brand, possible reduction in customers, and missed opportunities in finding the right talent.


Hiring only people who are ‘just like you’

Many 20th century models of implementing change within an organization consisted of innovative ideas climbing up the leadership ladder where those ideas promptly got stuck in middle management. Ultimately, most change was implemented from top down with little or no communication between the levels. The people who were closest to the problem with the best ideas had little chance of getting their ideas implemented.


While 20th century business models were primarily product driven and linear models for change were adequate, change management models in the 21st century is more organic. Yesterday’s linear models for change will not keep up with competitors and consumers who want an instant, personalized experience in the products and services they purchase.


With consumers expecting a personalized experience, companies today must innovate and implement change at a rapid pace.  Additionally, many companies find that they are now competing on a global scale and hiring people who are ‘just like you’ may mean missed opportunities and result in an inability to compete.

people working togetherMany companies are turning towards a design thinking approach to brainstorm ideas for innovation vs. the linear approach of the 20thcentury. Design thinking works best when a collection of diverse individuals with varying perspectives come together to resolve problems or create innovation.


Bottom line: It is human nature to seek out like minded-individuals, but doing away with internal bias and hiring a diverse work force is good for modern business and good for innovation.



Unintentionally giving the false promise of employment

Sometimes ending a conversation is awkward. Interviewers have mistakenly given false hope of employment to candidates with phrases like, “I look forward to working with you.” or “We hope to see you as part of the team”.  While the intention of the interviewer was to be polite, the candidate may view this as an offer of employment. According to Workopolis, only 2% of candidates who apply for a position get an interview and candidates are placing a lot of hope that their interview will result in an offer of employment. Use extreme care to not imply an unintentional promise of employment.  Not only does perceived false promises discourages candidates, but it can harm the image of your business if that candidate shares their experience on social media.


Not giving the candidate your full attention

A good candidate has prepared for the interview, done research about your company, asked all the right questions, and has given you their undivided attention. Conducting employment interviews can be tedious and time consuming, and you may be distracted by more urgent business.  However, the impression your candidate has of your company should be your number one priority in that moment. The most qualified candidates should also be conducting a two-way interview: candidates in high demand are also gauging if your company is the right fit for them.

Bottom line: Approach every interview with candidates as a two-way interview.


Having an unrealistic list of requirements for the candidate

This is a mistake made (with good intentions) that many employers make. While it seems logical that listing every possible desired skill will gain you a large choice in more viable candidates, the reality is that this will severely narrow your candidate pool. A better option many larger corporations choose when listing job requirements is to have a section on required skill sets with an additional section on desired skill sets.  Again, hiring a candidate who is willing to learn and grow with your company that has most of the skill sets and fits well with your company culture is your most desirable candidate.


Another reason companies include an unrealistic list of skills sets is that they may not know exactly what they want or what is needed to fill the role, and this has contributed to nearly 75% of applicants who apply for jobs are not actually qualified to work those jobs.  Consulting with the right staffing company who is an expert in your industry can help you through the hiring process and help you avoid costly mistakes.


Bottom line: Consulting with a professional staffing company who is an expert in your industry can help you compile a realistic list of skill sets to fill your position, can save you time and money vetting candidates before the interview, can follow up with candidates who were not selected, and can significantly reduce the chances of hiring the wrong person