The top 10 recruiting mistakes employers must avoid

Let’s face it. Recruiting today takes guts. The job market can be brutal, especially in industries that are desperate for great candidates. The life of a recruiter, and nearly every other person who’s in charge of hiring, can be stressful and difficult. Sometimes mistakes are made, leading to poor hires who do more harm than good to an organization while costing precious time and money.

That’s why I’ve compiled the Top 10 Recruiting Mistakes Employers Must Avoid. Take it from one recruitment pro to another.

Mistake #10. Voting “no” on the overqualified candidate

Rejecting the so called overqualified candidate out of fear the employee won’t stick around for the long haul, will become bored, will become too expensive, and so on can be a short-sighted error. Companies may find it easy to vote no on an otherwise great candidate because they don’t want to over hire, but what isn’t being taken into account is that a better skilled candidate could lead to more business and growth for the organization sooner rather than later.

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Mistake #9. Failing to hold hiring managers responsible

By hiring just a “warm body,”  hiring managers only bring candidates on board for the short-term without recognizing problems that could arise in the long-term. Instead, recruitment must be focused on long-term benefits to the organization. Holding managers accountable to this standard will produce the best results.

Mistake #8. Over-relying on the behavioral interview

Of course it’s important to understand the nature and personality of a candidate. Many times, however, past behavior won’t predict how the employee will perform in the future.

Mistake #7.  Using a team of votes

Consensus isn’t always a good thing. A consensus vote, for example, might cause a company to hire the most popular candidate instead of the most qualified one or to NOT hire the best candidate because a single but influential member of the group didn’t warm to the prospect. However, effective recruitment is about placing the best candidate in a job, not the most good looking or charming candidate or the one liked the most by the more vocal members of the group.

Mistake #6.  Ignoring first-impression bias

When interviewers equate “like” with competence, problems can ensue. Believing someone must be good at his job because you like him—or that he can’t be good because you don’t—creates troubling situations. Again, recruitment isn’t a popularity contest.

Mistake #5.  Offering below-market compensation

Poor compensation packages can cause employers to lose good workers. Companies should regularly benchmark wage data before settling on a compensation package for a new hire. Use trusted sources, like Payscale, to determine fair compensation so candidates don’t run to the next competitor for more money.

Mistake #4.  Hiring a “like image” candidate

There’s nothing wrong with hiring people who are like those already employed at your company, but too much of a good thing can cause problems. Hiring people with different ideas and fresh perspectives every now and then will keep the company going strong.

Mistake #3. Insisting on generic competencies

You don’t  want to clone employees at your office, but when you insist that candidates all present with generic competencies, you run that risk. This practice also hinders diversity efforts.

Mistake #2.  Filtering out “less qualified” candidates without discretion

Some of the best employees succeed more at work with less skills than those better qualified for the job on paper. That’s because these employees work hard to meet deadlines and provide high quality work, and they’re prepared to receive promotions. Hire based on potential and traits, not metrics.

Mistake #1. Depending on a poor marketing strategy

A poor marketing strategy, which can include sourcing candidates on forums or job boards, tops the list as the #1 mistake recruiters make. The top third of talent finds jobs through referrals, so try to earn more referrals to hire smartly.

Does your company make any of these common recruitment mistakes? If so, change your practices immediately to prevent bad hires and bring on great ones!


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4 Comments on "The top 10 recruiting mistakes employers must avoid"

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Tatiana Vicol

Behavioural interviews are becoming more popular because past performance is the best indicator of future performance. Sticking to a situational interview is tricky because it mainly relies only on the candidate’s imagination and the job which he/she does or does not know enough of. How do you predict future performance in a role that is critical to the organization without assessing accomplishments and learned experiences from the past?

Tatiana, we also use the behavioral interview, but that’s not the only thing we rely on. We look at experience as well as how the candidate presented himself/herself during the interview. While past performance is a good indicator of future performance, it might not be the best. People grow and learn and how they handled something in the past may not be how they would handle something in the future. For instance, my first attempt at supervising was many years ago and I didn’t have any training or education preparing me for the position. A few years down the line,… Read more »
Crystal Spraggins

Tatiana, I have to admit I raised an eyebrow when reading that line about behavioral interviews as well, but Lee makes a good point.

Maya Rutherford

I think these are great points. I am more curious on the last comment made by Tatiana. Tatiana, do you have any recommendations?