Top Ten Hiring Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

New York City Manager, Desiree Murphy, examines the top ten mistakes that many staffing companies make - and how to avoid them. 

1. )  Not Knowing Exactly What You Are Looking For
It’s a good idea to review your job descriptions once a year before a busy hiring season. Has the position changed since last year? Are you looking for more experienced staff? Do you need to hire for more than one type of position? Just reviewing how the job description is worded can help attract more candidates and reinvigorate a candidate pool that you didn’t even know had gone stale.  

2.)  Relying on Job Posts to Explain The Position 
You’ve updated the job description and attracted a lot of candidates - great! But don’t assume that your job description will do all the talking. Part of a great introduction in the face to face interview is providing the candidate with an idea of what the job entails, thus ensuring that they have a clear expectation of the job they are accepting. 

3.)  Having HR Do The Interviews
Think about your HR Department. Is your HR department located in a completely different building or city than where the staff need is – if so, do they really know what exactly your department does on a day to day basis? It’s a good idea to have someone who would actually be working with the new hire to be the first person to communicate with them. Let them be the candidate’s first impression of the company. 

Asking yes or no questions will only get you so far.
— Desiree Murphy

4.)  Hiring Just to Have Bodies
You have a need to fill a position or multiple positions in a hurry otherwise an event will be short staffed or a project might be delayed. However, hiring in a rush just to fill a position is just a temporary fix that could have negative consequences in the end. Not taking the time to screen candidates, properly interview them and rush through training can lead to lower employee morale and a low retention rate.

5.)  Not Conducting Structured Interviews
Filling several open positions can be time consuming and mundane, but it’s important to have a timeline and organize your interview process so that it’s the same for all candidates. Having a set of the same questions for every interviewee will make the process fair for all candidates – and will guarantee that you know each equally well. 

6.)  Asking Too Personal or Illegal Questions
Most managers are aware that there are certain questions that are off-limits during the interview process, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of what those are, especially if you aren’t used to conducting interviews regularly. Questions pertaining to age, ethnicity, religion and other personal topics are illegal and should they be brought up by the candidate it’s important to inform them that they have no bearing on the final hiring decision. Sticking to the predetermined questions can help avoid this situation. 

7.)  Not Using Behavior-Based Interviewing Techniques
The interview is the time to find out how well you think that person is going to do in situations. Asking yes or no questions will only get you so far. For example: “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an angry customer and what you did to resolve the issue” will get you a better response than “Have you ever had to deal with an angry customer?” A person’s past behavior will indicate future performance. 

8.)  Hiring As A Favor To a Friend, Family Member or Co-Worker
Your friend/Your cousin’s daughter/Your colleague’s nephew all need jobs. But do they have the experience and qualifications for what you are hiring for? If they have the same qualifications as any candidate, great! Bring them in for an interview. It may work out but sometimes hiring someone just because you feel pressured from an acquaintance can turn ugly and ruin your reputation if they don’t work out. 

9.)  Improper Reference Checks or Not Reference Checks At All
They aced the interview and you are ready to hire them! But wait, wouldn’t it be a good idea to verify what they said on their resume or in the interview is actually accurate? Just like in the interview, make sure to have a set of standard legal questions to ask and arrange them during a time convenient for the person providing the reference. Be friendly, thank them and let them know you will keep the conversation confidential. Most times reference checks will be simple and reassure you that person is the right one for the job, but you never know.

10.)  Not Giving Proper Training
It is important to have a standard orientation and training program for all new hires within your company. This makes them feel welcome and have a positive impact on their development. It can also help the manager to understand the employee’s strengths and work styles. It’s a great way to ensure that the new hire is both properly trained and feels comfortable with the job they are being asked to perform. 

To work with Desiree and our NYC office, click here.

Posted on March 1, 2016 .