10 Recruiting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Recruiting mistakes can become quite costly. Estimated costs for recruiting mistakes range from 30% of an employee’s salary up to $240,000. Hiring the wrong person has direct monetary costs: hiring expenses, overhead, salary, and benefits; indirect monetary costs resulting from wasted time with onboarding and training; and opportunity costs in what the right person could be doing for your organization. Hiring mistakes cost companies valuable resources which could be allocated more efficiently. Hiring Managers must avoid making hiring mistakes as much as possible.

Main Takeaways:

•Hiring the wrong person can become a costly mistake in terms of time, money, and lost productivity. These mistakes cost companies valuable resources that could be used more efficiently in other critical business areas.

•Filling positions from within is a great way to find qualified and vetted employees. They are already familiar with the company culture and can make an immediate impact.

•Rushing to hire can lead to bringing in the wrong people. Also, taking too long to find the perfect candidate may lead to unnecessary delays. The ideal candidate must have essential qualities while potentially lacking some secondary skills. Above all, it is best to focus on hard-to-find soft skills over teachable hard skills.

Here are the top ten recruiting mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Failing to provide accurate job descriptions

Job descriptions must provide a brief yet detailed description of what the company expects from a successful candidate. Failing to provide specific details leads to vague descriptions that may discourage good candidates from applying while potentially attracting unsuitable ones. For example, failing to disclose the need for a college degree may cause suitable candidates to pass on the opportunity. In contrast, unsuitable candidates may be encouraged to apply as they are under the impression that no degree is required.

2. Missing internal candidates

It may seem natural to consider hiring external candidates when open positions arise initially. The solution, however, may be right in front of the company’s proverbial nose. Failing first to post job opportunities to incumbent staff members may cause the company to overlook highly qualified candidates.

How so?

Hiring or promoting from within is considered a last resort for some recruiters. Unfortunately, the belief is that hiring from within does not solve the problem, as there is still a need to hire a new staff member. This rationale is profoundly misleading.

Think about it this way:

Promoting a current staff member from an entry-level position to one of mid-management one saves time, cost, and effort. After all, it is much easier to find a suitable candidate for an entry-level position than placing management.

3. Placing too much emphasis on interviews

Interviews are a fundamental part of the hiring process. They help recruiters get to know candidates better while allowing them to filter unsuitable prospects. However, placing too much reliance on an interview may ultimately become detrimental.

Consider this situation:

A seemingly suitable candidate has a bad interview, and the recruiters decide that the candidate is unsuitable despite having solid credentials. On the surface, this decision is justifiable, though, at a deeper level, the recruiter might be making a mistake. If a candidate has a bad interview, the recruiters should not dismiss them offhand. Instead, they should give the candidate another opportunity to show who they truly are.

Giving potentially suitable candidates the benefit of the doubt can go a long way toward landing the best possible candidates most of the time.

4. Allowing biases to interfere with decisions

Biases are an inherent part of the human psyche- everyone has them. Recruiters must avoid letting their biases get in the way. While major biases may not affect hiring decisions, subtle biases may block paths for applicants. For example, assuming a position is “male” or “female” can lead to a harmful bias. Believing that candidates must have a college degree to do a specific job may eliminate potentially suitable candidates from consideration.

Recruiters must strive to remove biases and maintain an open mind. In doing so, recruiters can spot worthwhile candidates much more effectively.

Recruter Interview

5. Disregarding overqualified candidates

One pervasive bias is identifying “overqualified” candidates, such as a job description stating that no college degree is necessary. So, applicants with college degrees are automatically removed from consideration.

This attitude will most assuredly cause an organization to miss the opportunity to hire highly valuable candidates. The rationale is that overqualified candidates may soon leave the organization once they find a better job. This rationale may ring true if the organization does not provide highly qualified candidates with a career path. Seemingly overqualified candidates can become valuable team members if given the chance to grow into positions more suited to their skill sets.

6. Looking for the perfect candidate

A common mistake among recruiters is trying to find the “perfect” candidate- one that checks off every box in the job description. Experienced recruiters know that finding the “perfect” fit for a job is virtually impossible.

People are perfectly imperfect. Recruiters must understand that some candidates check most of the boxes, but they may still lack some specific qualities. As a result, staffing professionals must differentiate between essential and non-essential qualities. Ultimately, the right candidate is the one that checks off the essential boxes despite missing some of the non-essential ones.

7. Rushing decisions

In the staffing world, time is of the essence. There are situations in which positions must be filled immediately, and it is natural to speed through hiring decisions, given the urgency of the matter. Rushing hiring decision, however, generally leads to poor choices. Racing the clock to hire candidates may cause organizations to hire less-than-suitable candidates. It is not that the candidates are bad. It is that the candidates themselves are not suitable for the company or the position.

The best way to avoid rushing decisions is to get as much of the work done in advance. Completing most of the legwork beforehand can drastically reduce the overall time needed to make sound staffing decisions.

8. Relying too much on or overlooking references

References are an essential part of the hiring process- they allow recruiters to double-check candidates’ information while ensuring their personality is the right fit for the organization. Nevertheless, placing too much emphasis on references may skew hiring decisions.

How so?

There are unfortunate situations in which a candidate has a bad experience at a previous job. This experience may lead to negative references scaring most companies away from hiring the candidate, and recruiters must take negative references with a grain of salt.

In contrast, overlooking references may cause recruiters to miss red flags. Bad references serve as major warning signs recruiters must take into consideration. Failing to double-check references may prove to be a costly mistake.

9. Failing to follow up

Consistent follow-up ought to be part of all recruiters’ due diligence. Following up with candidates, particularly following interviews, is highly useful to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Consider this situation:

You have found a great candidate who checks off your essential boxes. Their interview went very well, and interest is mutual. However, your final decision takes about two weeks to materialize. When you reach out to the candidate to move on with the hiring process, you learn the candidate has already accepted another job elsewhere.

Follow-up is also essential when pre-screening candidates. Once you have vetted candidates past the first or second filters, reaching out is always a good idea as you move along the hiring process. In doing so, you can be sure which candidates are interested and which ones may have moved on.

10. Not recognizing the need for help

Staffing is not an easy task. It requires dedication and attention to detail. There is a lot that goes into finding the right people for your organization, and there may be a point where filling positions may feel too intense. As a result, failing to recognize you need a helping hand may cause you to fall behind on crucial hiring decisions.

When recruiting gets intense, employing the help of a staffing agency may be the solution. A professional staffing agency can handle the heavy lifting (sourcing, pre-screening, and vetting candidates), allowing you to focus on the critical hiring decisions.

How Can TalentZok Help Your Company Avoid Hiring Mistakes?

At TalentZok, we know what it takes to find the right people for the right positions. We specialize in helping organizations find the most suitable candidates for their needs. The experts at TalentZok are prepared to work with you every step of the way.

Find out more about how TalentZok can become your trusted staffing partner today!


This post is made available for informational purposes only to provide a general understanding of the topics discussed herein. It is not intended to provide specific business, legal, or professional advice and should not be relied on as such. TalentZök is not liable or responsible for any damage or loss arising from any reliance placed on such materials.

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