Don't Make These Mistakes When Hiring

Category: Primitive Social digital marketing Business Growth and Sales

Written by: Leisa Redmon

Posted on: September 11, 2019 recently conducted a report showing how the turnover rate in the U.S has increased steadily since 2014, reaching nearly 20% in 2018. With employee turnover increasing, so do the costs associated with bad hires, and the numbers might surprise you.

Based on information gathered by recruiter Jörgen Sundberg, the expenses associated with hiring, compensation, and retention of a new employee can cost a company upwards of…$240,000. Instead of throwing precious time and money out the window, let’s take a look at some common mistakes you can avoid when hiring top talent for your company.

Lack of preparation

Benjamin Franklin is most often quoted as having said, ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This quote has found its way through multiple iterations, but the truth has fundamentally remained the same. When you don’t prioritize time, discipline, and in this case, preparation, your hiring practices risk diving into the deep end of a pool of failed processes.

Do you know the job requirements for the position you’re looking to hire? (And, no, I don’t just mean the job title.) Have you taken the time to learn the ins and outs of what makes the position tick, and what characteristics will yield a successful employee? Sure, there will always be outliers, but would you hire a self-declared shy introvert to handle accounts with gregarious stakeholders? Probably not.

By taking the time to study the job description, requirements, and needs of the position your company is hiring for, not only will you place yourself at an advantage in the hiring process, but you’ll also be more skilled at answering questions about the position that the interviewee might ask.

Too many cooks in the kitchen


Even if you intend to create a warm and inviting culture, you should limit the number of people involved, at one time, in the interview process. Having people from all over your company engaged in the process can backfire and cause the interviewee to feel overwhelmed and pressured to both be and say anything that isn’t true to themselves. (Pro tip: You don’t want that!)

Adding insult to injury, by having people involved in the hiring process that don’t specialize in interviews, you could open your company up to risks and liabilities, the effects of inappropriate, or even illegal, questions.

Example: Asking a potential candidate if she is pregnant and how far along she is might seem like an innocent icebreaker, but for HR, it could prove to be a legal nightmare.

Undervaluing the almighty referral

Minimizing the importance of referrals can prove to be a two-headed beast if you are not 1) accurately assessing the actual value of employee referrals and 2) checking new hire references.

Employee referrals have a proven track record of providing considerable benefits to the greater majority of businesses. Let’s take a look at a few statistics. 

  • 82% of employers say employee referrals have prompted huge returns on investment.
  • Companies who have adopted referral programs have a 46% average retention rate compared to 33% for businesses that use career sites.
  • Applicants who are referred through current employees are generally found to be a better culture fit.

If a new hire is not the product of an employee referral, don’t fret! It’s still important to do your company and its culture a solid by vetting new talent appropriately. Some people are gifted with the ability to present a stellar first impression; however, they find themselves getting bored and detached from their responsibilities, quickly. On the other hand, some individuals are shy when first meeting strangers, yet end up being an explosion of positivity and good vibes once they fall into their groove.

Asking references about the character of a new hire can help you weed through eager individuals who have exaggerated their experience, or even upper-level talent who have overextended their achievements. Are your new hires truly as impressive as they seem? Will you be disappointed by absenteeism, or will you rejoice in their blossoming personality?

Not highlighting your culture

Even small businesses have valuable benefits, and regardless of the size of your company, it’s crucial not to minimize all that your business brings to the table. Don’t undermine your stellar culture just because you aren’t rubbing elbows with tech giants like Google. If you can’t offer catered lunches every Monday or free 15-minute massages every Friday, that’s ok! Whatever you choose to provide, make sure you do it well. And don’t shortchange your culture by not speaking on it.

Time and money are two of three extremely important pieces of currency for any company. The third? Your people. In order to become the most efficient and effective business in your industry, it’s critical to analyze all aspects of your business and that includes your company’s hiring processes. 

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