The Biggest Mistakes Companies Make When Hiring New Team Members

May 29, 2019

Have you ever reflected on your current or past employees and found yourself wondering, “How on Earth did this employee make it through our hiring process?” If yes, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that as few as 19% of hires achieve “unequivocal” success in their organizations and as many as 46% of hires are unsuccessful in the first 18 months. 

You might then ask yourself – “where are we going wrong in the hiring process?”

Here are the biggest mistakes employers make when hiring new team members and key takeaways to prevent them from happening in your own organization.

1. Not learning from past hires (successful and unsuccessful)

No matter how many questions you ask and how long you screen an applicant before hiring them, you’ll never really know what type of employee they’ll be until after they’ve been hired. Use that as knowledge for your hiring process by evaluating the people who are on your team now.

Maybe someone who you thought was under-qualified but passionate turned out to be one of your best and hardest working employees. Or maybe that one employee who showed signs of arrogance as an applicant actually did turn out to be a terrible employee due to poor culture fit.

Your past hires are a goldmine of information for your future hiring if you treat them that way. Look back at them often and use that information to drive future decisions as you grow your team.

2. Not offering enough information for interested job seekers

If you aren’t getting the volume or quality of candidates you expect, it might be because they simply don’t have access to enough information about the position or your organization in places that job seekers are looking. Some common places for them to be looking are your job descriptions, your career site, your company profile on review sites, and social media.

Give candidates the information they want about your company by activating your profile on employer review sites, keeping your website up-to-date with employee-centric information, and share as much information as you can about your open positions and company culture online and on social media.

3. Ignoring what their online reviews are telling applicants

Nearly 7 in 10 job seekers would turn down a job offer from a company with a bad reputation on employer review sites like kununu, yet the vast majority of employers haven’t taken the time to claim their profile, read and respond to employee reviews, and investigate and resolve complaints. Not getting involved in your company’s online employee reviews leaves a giant blindspot in your recruiting efforts, guaranteed.

4. Misrepresenting the company or the job

Low unemployment rates and long time-to-fill can drive hiring managers to desperate measures, including misrepresenting the company or the job. The most common lies hiring managers tell candidates involve the scheduling flexibility, opportunity for advancement, and earning potential. While these empty promises might seem harmless during the interview, relying on them to attract and hire new employees a recipe for disaster; when those candidates accept an offer and discover the truth, the sense of betrayal will ruin your company culture and even destroy your employer brand.

5. Spending recruiting budget on the wrong things

While most organizations are quick to overspend in job ads and slow to invest in branding, this strategy is costly and ineffective. Investing in your employer brand – that is, who you are and what you have to offer to prospective employees – can be likened to the gift that keeps on giving. It leads to employer-of-choice status, which means top talent comes to you before you ever post a job ad.

6. Ignoring the red flags for a quick hire

Looking for bodies instead of talent is a surefire way to bring risk into your organization. Never look the other way at job-hopping, confusing job history, poor references, bad attitude or other red flags just to get a candidate in the door a little quicker. Your pre-employment screening steps are there to protect you, so if red flags arise during that process, be grateful, screen the candidate out, and refocus your effort on the right hire.

7. Letting like-me bias guide hiring decisions

One of the most common biases driving hiring decisions is “like me” bias, or a tendency to hire the candidate who is most like you instead of being open to different personalities and backgrounds. Not only does this habit limit diversity and perspective on the team, but it can blind you to a candidate’s shortcomings, prevent you from recognizing the strengths of other candidates, and lead you to hire the wrong person for the job.

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Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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