Top Hiring Mistakes And How to Avoid Them

Posted October 15, 2013 by Guest Writer in On the Ladder

CGN is delighted to host Shanna Mallon, a writer for Straight North, a Web development company with headquarters in Chicago for this week’s guest post.


It doesn’t matter if you’ve been hiring employees for decades or only started last week: When you have the task of finding new staff members for your firm, you’re likely to make some typical mistakes.

Do you know what those mistakes are? Do you know how to avoid them? To help answer those questions, let’s take a look at some of the most common blunders companies make when expanding their workforces—because when you know what mistakes are common, you know what to avoid.

Do any of these behaviors sound familiar to you?

  • Making Assumptions: Having an Ivy League education doesn’t make someone a good employee, but if you’re like a lot of managers, you might assume that’s the case. Likewise, spending 10 years in the industry doesn’t make someone an expert, but it might be easy to assume it’s true. Assuming something about a potential employee is never smart, and it increases risks to your firm. So instead of making assumptions, do research. Ask open-ended questions that reveal more of what’s going on. Check references. Search for information about candidates on Google and social media. Sure, in some cases your original assumptions could be right—but in others they could be wrong. At least after you’ve done some research, your decisions will be backed with better information.
  • Digging for Dirt: On the flip side of assuming someone will make a good employee is assuming someone won’t. Managers with this problem are obsessed with finding the fatal flaw in every applicant—and never find someone suitable as a result.
  • Talking Too Much: When applicants come to your office, listening is your greatest asset. Don’t waste it! Your job as an interviewer is to interview—not to lecture or sound off. Let the applicant talk. Pay attention to his or her answers. This is one of the best ways you learn about the person you may hire.
  • Ignoring Intuition: If your gut tells you something’s wrong — listen to it. You can’t tell a good employee based on the resume alone; many other factors, from attitude to work ethic, affects the way people perform on the job. That’s why proper vetting of candidates involves all your faculties. When something seems off about a candidate, dig deeper to either confirm or rule out those concerns.
  • Rushing a Decision: It’s hard not to rush hiring decisions when you’re on a deadline, but rushing decisions is a recipe for disaster. When you don’t take the proper time to find and vet candidates, you often end up rehiring sooner rather than later.
  • Lacking Respect: The candidate isn’t the only one on trial in an interview—you’re also being observed and studied. And while you shouldn’t be the only one talking, you should be aware that you are representing your company. Good candidates may be turned off when you lack respect—when you are late, distracted, or taking calls in the meeting, for example.

Your Thoughts

How do your hiring practices hold up to this list of mistakes? Do any of these behaviors describe you? If so, it’s time to do something about it. Avoid these typical errors and improve the way you staff your firm.


Connect with Shanna on LinkedIn, Google +, and Twitter.


About the Author

Guest Writer

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