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27.06.2022 Hiring process

The top 10 common hiring and recruiting mistakes (and how to avoid them!)

The top 10 common hiring and recruiting mistakes (and how to avoid them!)

Hiring a team is no easy task. It requires a lot of planning, patience, and time. So, understandably, it can be incredibly frustrating if one small hiring mistake ruins all of your time and effort.

Luckily, plenty of people have made mistakes when it comes to interviewing, recruiting, and hiring in the past. In fact, some hiring mistakes are so common that we’ve managed to put together a list of the top 10 common hiring and recruiting mistakes below. 

From hiring based solely on ‘culture fit’, to having too many people involved in the process, there are plenty of places you can go wrong. So, check out our list of hiring mistakes to avoid, and you can be aware of what to watch out for when starting your next recruitment process.

  1. Having too many people involved in hiring
  2. Hiring solely for ‘culture fit’
  3. Having a narrow recruitment pool
  4. Putting too much emphasis on education and industry experience
  5. Not providing enough information about your company
  6. Going overboard on your list of role requirements
  7. Not having a structured interview process
  8. Ghosting candidates
  9. Lacking flexibility
  10. Using unethical recruitment processes

1. Having too many people involved in hiring

Having too many people involved in your hiring process is one of the most common hiring mistakes people make.

It’s all too easy to assume that the more people that help to screen candidates, interview possible hires, and make the final decision, the better the quality of the hire. And, in theory, it makes sense! However, realistically, involving many people in your decision-making will make for a bad recruitment process.

The saying ‘too many cooks’ applies here. Each person you involve in the decision-making will slow the process down. And a slower process results in a bad candidate experience. Not only this, but it will impact the time to hire, and increase the chances of the candidate receiving another offer in the meantime.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

This common mistake can be avoided by setting a maximum number of people that should be involved in recruiting for each role.

Usually, an HR Manager and someone from the department that is taking on the new role will need to screen CVs. And, it is good practice to have a group interview at some point, involving a couple of other team members. Therefore, the hiring process should ideally involve two to five employees. This way, the team and the candidate can get a good feel for each other, without slowing the process down.

2. Hiring solely for ‘culture fit’

Hiring for culture fit is a common technique used by companies. And, the appeal is understandable. Having an employee join the team and instantly fit into the culture can save a lot of time, and avoid a lot of challenges.

However, as we’ve discussed in our article ‘the culture fit controversy’, avoiding these challenges isn’t always a good thing. One of the most common recruitment mistakes a team can make is to search for people just like them. This leads to a whole team thinking the same way, and therefore creating an echo chamber of sorts.

Hiring for culture fit also hinders the diversity of a team, usually meaning that you end up with one team full of people with similar backgrounds. Again, this leads to less thoughtful and productive work.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

If you’re beginning to notice a team is made up of extremely similar personality types, or who seem to be having trouble challenging each other’s ideas, it is time to act. This can be done by checking what personality is missing from the current environment and actively recruiting for this. This is known as hiring for culture add.

3. Having a narrow recruitment pool

In line with the above point, a common recruitment mistake businesses fall into making is having too narrow of a recruitment pool.

We’ve talked at length before about why a diversity recruiting strategy is important. And, a big part of ensuring that is the case is by casting a wide net when recruiting. Sticking to one or two job boards when recruiting for your role will mean the applications coming in aren’t as diverse as they could be. Meaning, less diversity in your team.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

Luckily, the solution here is quick, simple, and free! Using a handy ATS tool like JOIN means that you can multipost your job to multiple recommended job boards with one click. This means you are casting the net further and encouraging a more diverse recruitment pool, with the same amount of effort.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what one of our customers has to say:

“JOIN helps us to hire from other parts of Europe easily. Since using JOIN, we have received nearly double the applications and I’m generally happy with the quality of applicants! ”

Simona Marano
HR Manager at Shayp

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4. Putting too much emphasis on education and industry experience

In a time when recruiting great talent is becoming more and more competitive, one of the biggest hiring mistakes you can make is putting too much emphasis on education and experience.

In a world that is continuously growing more and more digitalised, classic routes of education and experience are becoming less and less crucial. Of course, for some roles, such as in healthcare or education, this isn’t the case.

Certain roles such as developers, marketers, or designers may have learned their skills through unconventional methods. They may be self-taught, gained through an online course, or other similar routes that leave them without a traditional degree. Not considering these for your role means missing out on top talent, due to a formality.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

This common recruitment mistake can be avoided by changing the way you hire for certain roles. Taking a skills-based approach to hiring will mean you can more easily find candidates who fit the requirements for your position, without disqualifying people based on their educational or experience background.

For more information on this hiring technique, check out our article on hiring for skills.

5. Not providing enough information about your company

A fatal recruiting mistake that is often made, especially by start-ups and small businesses, is not providing enough information about your company.

For small businesses, 50% of your job applications will come through a job board. Meaning, a lot of these candidates probably didn’t know about your company before applying. Therefore, the chances are that potential applicants will want to do their research on your business before sending their applications.

If you don’t have enough information available about your business, your values, and your existing team, potential hires may be discouraged to apply.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

Luckily, this is an easy fix. Updating your company’s LinkedIn profile, and crafting a career page with up-to-date information about your values, work, team, and more can build trust with potential hires and entice them to apply.

Check out our article on creating the best careers page for your website to get started.

6. Going overboard on your list of role requirements

Obviously, all job roles will have some requirements from the people who perform them. However, sometimes it is easy to get carried away when writing these down. While you may have an ideal candidate in mind for your role and want to make this clear in the list of requirements, you’re actually making a huge recruiting mistake if your list is too long.

The more requirements you list, the more likely you are to have talented candidates disqualifying themselves for the role.

Want to write a great job advertisement?

Get started with tips and tricks from our helpful guide.

Read our guide

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

When writing your job description, rather than listing everything as a solid requirement, consider having a few essentials, alongside some nice-to-haves. This will mean candidates with the desirable skills will feel extra inclined to respond to your advertisement, while those only matching the ‘essential’ parts of the role won’t be discouraged.

7. Not having a structured interview process

Once you’ve got through the advertising stage, and have selected candidates for interview, you might think it is plain sailing from there. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Plenty of hiring problems come from making interview mistakes. And, one of the big interview dont’s is not having a structured interview process.

It is all too easy to under prepare for an interview, and assume you can simply have an informal chat. While this can be a pleasant interview experience, it usually leads to you failing to find out some key information about the candidate. Also, it makes it hard to compare a candidate’s skills to their competitors’.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

Avoid this interview mistake by creating a structured process with set questions and interview scorecards for your upcoming interviews. Doing this means you’ll accurately assess a candidate’s skills, and be able to properly compare them.

Need inspiration for your interviews? Check out our example interview questions.

8. Ghosting candidates

This is one of the most serious, but sadly, most common hiring mistakes a company can make. A huge 75% of candidates have admitted to being ghosted by a company before.

We get it, it can be stressful to reply to dozens of candidate applications, and sometimes it is all too easy to let them slip through the cracks. However, not responding to them will have serious long-term consequences. Not only will this put the candidate off from applying to your company in the future, but it can lead to a detrimental impact on your employer branding.

These candidates can go on to tell their friends about their negative experiences with you, or even post an online review.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

In short, reply to each and every application you receive. This might sound time-consuming, but luckily there are tools which can help you.

Within JOIN, for example, you can set pre-written emails for different stages of the recruiting process. This includes rejecting candidates before an interview, inviting candidates to interview, and more. Visit our ‘Manage’ page for more information on managing candidates within JOIN.

9. Lacking flexibility

A lot has changed in recruitment over the last few years. And one of these changes is how much candidates appreciate flexibility from a company.

Especially since the pandemic, employees are more comfortable working from home. Gone are the days when they needed to brave a 45-minute commute every day or come to the office when they are feeling a little under the weather.

Of course, many employers still prefer their team to be present. But, if you can’t be a little flexible with this, you may risk being left behind.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

The solution to this is introducing hybrid working to your team. Hybrid working means having your team in the office for a set number of days a week, while allowing them to work from home on the other days.

Doing this means you can compete with other remote companies, and as a bonus, it looks like a great benefit when listed on your job advertisements!

For more information on hybrid working, check out our article: remote vs hybrid work.

10. Using unethical recruitment processes

It goes without saying that using unethical recruitment practices is one of the most serious hiring mistakes to avoid. However, we’re going to say it anyway!

These can range anywhere from providing candidates with unfair offers, to asking candidates questions that are not relevant to the role, such as those regarding marital status or class background.

Practices like this are not only frowned upon but can land you in serious trouble depending on employment law in your location.

How to avoid this hiring mistake:

The best way to avoid this serious error is to read up on the employment law where you are based. This can usually be found on government websites (such as the UK’s or EU’s resources).

It is also worth doing your research into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), as this can help you to sharpen your ethics and understanding of different diverse needs, which will filter into your recruitment.

Further perfect your hiring

Avoiding these hiring mistakes is a great start to forming an effective recruitment process. But, perfecting hiring is an ongoing process. If you’re interested in more advice and tips on hiring, the following articles can help:

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