Are You Making A Great Hire or A Huge Mistake?

August 10, 2017

Isn’t it a great feeling when you find one or more promising candidates for a hard-to-fill position? Or for a role that matters a huge deal to your organization?

It surely is. But along with all of those good feelings tend to also come some feelings of anxiety, or fear of making the wrong decision on the hire. Because the last thing you’d want to do is to make a bad hiring decision if there were ways that you could have prevented it.

This is exactly what I want to talk about today – making sure you’re making a great hire vs. a hiring mistake.

When it comes to hiring, the only thing worse than never finding the right candidate to fill a job is hiring a candidate that turns out to be totally and absolutely wrong for the role and / or your company and either 1) suffering through the consequences out of necessity, or 2) having to start the hiring process all over again.

Let’s assume that your favorite candidate(s) fulfills all of the technical skills needed to do the job well. Here are some things beyond that to consider, to make sure the decision you make is a great one rather than a huge hiring mistake:

Signs You Are Making a Great Hire

Here are a few things you should look for to ensure you are making a great hiring decision:

  • They show longevity in their prior roles. You want to find someone that shows they can stay in the same place, even if they hold different roles, for at least a few years. If you are looking at someone that has just graduated from school, this can be more difficult to determine but you want to possibly find someone who interned at the same company for at least two summers in a row. When looking at these factors, you can also consider if they followed a manager to a new role or if they were rehired at the same company at a later date. This is a good quality to have and shows they were respected as well as wanted with that manager or company.
  • They hold the same values as the company. You want to find someone that will fit in within your company and while this is never guaranteed, your mission during the hiring process is to assess their values and compare them to the values of your company. If these values mesh, it is a good sign that they will fit in with the company. You want to find someone that you can ensure will be happy in the role and this is a good way to gauge that before you give them an offer.
  • They clearly show enthusiasm about working with you / your team / your company. Sometimes a candidate can be awesome on paper and even fulfill the last two signs we just mentioned (showing longevity in the career and sharing the same values) but still not be a great fit for the position. Because as the saying goes – “passion can’t be taught” – and a candidate’s enthusiasm is their way of conveying their passion about working with you. Not feeling the energy? Then think twice about moving forward.

Signs You Have Made (Or Are About To Make) a Hiring Mistake

On the flip side, there are also some ways you can determine that the person you want to hire will definitely not be a good fit. Along with job hoppers and those that do not hold the same values of your company, these are some things you want to look out for:

  • They are overly confident. While it is true that you want to find someone that has a lot of confidence in their abilities, there is a limit to that. No one can do it all, even if they say they can during the interview. Every person has a limit and if they say they don’t, you have cause for concern. You do want someone to be confident in their interview and in regards to their skills but you also want someone to be honest with you and tell you what they are not able to do. Find someone with a good balance and with the proof to back up their claims made during the interview.
  • They are more focused on the role after this one. When you are hiring for a role, you want to hire for that role. Of course, you want someone who will grow into better roles within the company but you do not want someone who makes that their only focus. If you are interviewing someone and most of their questions are about growth and not about this specific role, it is a red flag. Not only will they grow tired of this role quickly, but you may find that they start looking outside of the company for a better role quickly as well. There is a fine line between these two ideas and you want to make sure you find the right person who can fill this role now and for the next one to two years and then move on to a better role within the company. Otherwise, you may find yourself looking to fill this role again within a few short months.
  • There is uncertainty about how their personality with mesh with other team members. Similar to what we were talking about with passion and how it can’t be taught, you could think almost the same way about core personality traits like assertiveness, sociableness, and ability to be a team player. These things aren’t exactly “unteachable”, but they’re the types of things about an employee that, if it really clashes with other members of your team, would cause more damage and resentment than anyone would want to deal with.

We said it once, but we’ll say it again – the only thing worse than never finding the right candidate to fill the job is hiring a candidate that turns out to be totally and absolutely wrong for your company.  And while it’s difficult to draw the line between picky and overly picky, keeping these signs in mind will make the decision that much easier.



Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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