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7 Common Hiring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Hiring signs pinned on a board outside a business.

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Every bad hire in a business costs the company time and money. As a result, many small companies take a hard blow when hiring wrongly and might not even recover from it. One of the biggest mistakes is looking for young graduates or people with low financial expectations. These candidates can decrease your productivity and disrupt your high-performing teams. However, there are ways to avoid common hiring mistakes, especially with all the tools for sorting and screening we have today.

For example, you can filter hundreds of candidates in minutes based on keywords and pass only the worthy ones. At the same time, the hiring process did become harder once the pandemic started. Keep reading to learn how you can avoid making common hiring mistakes.

Common hiring mistakes that can cost your business money

Below is our list of common hiring mistakes, both pre- and post-pandemic, that you should learn to avoid.

1. Moving too fast with the hiring process

Being in a rush to fill your position will rarely find you the right person. Sure, there are ways in which you can speed up the hiring process, but you need to know how to do it the right way.

For instance, you need to know that even if you put some recruiting steps on fast forward, some of them you just can’t rush. You still need to invest time and effort in finding the perfect candidate to ensure they are the right person for the right job. And not just the job you hire them for – but future responsibilities, too. (Jim Roddy calls this hiring for bench strength.)

So, spend some time with your applicants, examine their skill set to determine whether it matches the demands of your business, and request second interviews if necessary. The more effort you put into choosing your future employee, the longer they might be with your company, and the more they will accomplish.

A person looking over applications and choosing a candidate to hire.
Take time to look over your candidate’s applications but don’t take too long.

2. Spending too much time with the hiring process

One of the most time-consuming parts of the hiring process is sorting through all the applications. Furthermore, if you still receive most of the resumes on paper, reviewing every single one of them takes an even longer time. A common hiring mistake is to spend too much time sorting through resumes and reviewing candidates.

You can speed up the process by accepting and reviewing applications online, but you still want to avoid spending too much time looking over each one. Therefore, you should start by spending just enough time on an application to see if the candidate is worth your further attention, but not too much time. Almost all candidates apply for multiple jobs, so if you wait too long, you could miss out on the good ones because they accepted other offers that came in sooner. To avoid that, use tools like online skills assessments and rating systems to make your sorting process effective. With their help, your time-consuming reviewing process will become a piece of cake.

3. Overlooking your own team

Sometimes, you might have a reason for not giving a vacant position to one of your existing employees. You might need a fresh mind on the team, or the employee might lack the skills for the job. However, never forget that you might have better prospects for a job already in your company, just waiting for a chance. If that chance never comes, you might lose precious employees only because you didn’t allow them to grow. So, before looking for candidates outside the business, offer positions internally. Or post the job internally and externally at the same time. That way, your employees will still feel like they have a chance in the competition.

Working colleagues sitting around a table.
You might have the perfect candidate already on your team.

4. Hiring even if you don’t need it

Sometimes the worst thing you can do for your business is to bring new people on board when you don’t really need them. They might be great professionals that other companies are fighting over, but at the same time, they can be your downfall. You shouldn’t hire people if you don’t need them, just like you don’t need to fix something that already works. Everything has a time and a place, and you should be able to distinguish between your needs and wants. 

For instance, sometimes, instead of hiring new staff, maybe it’s the right time to downsize a business. And if you consider this option, you might save your business instead of burying it. Perhaps you don’t have as many orders as you used to, your staff doesn’t have enough to work on, and your workplace is far too big for your requirements. In that case, downsizing is not the end of the line. It is a safety net for keeping your business going until you find solutions to your problems.

5. Hiring because you can

If you’re at risk of this mistake, then you’re one of the lucky ones! It means your business is succeeding where many have failed.

Companies hire more and more people as their business starts to thrive. And this is one of the common hiring mistakes you should always try to avoid. Why? Unfortunately, managers don’t understand that having the money doesn’t mean you also have to spend it. And if you already have efficient working staff, you don’t need to bring in more. They will only add to the cost and can unbalance a team. As you may be aware, the larger the team, the more difficult it is to organize. So never hire people just because you can. Instead, analyze the situation and wait for the right moment.

Women talking while sitting at a table.
Having too many people on your team can be more damaging than beneficial for your business.

6. Overlooking the importance of referrals

Many hiring managers make a habit of asking employees for referrals. We can only agree that it is a good practice since many businesses have found their best personnel through referrals. Also, people that come through referrals are usually loyal employees that will provide high work satisfaction. Also, if they are brought under the management wing and integrated with care, they have a higher chance of success in the organization.

At the same time, if your workers like you as a manager, they will become your best ambassadors, recommending your company to other professionals. As a result, you will get good hires because of your current staff’s satisfaction.

7. Not trusting your gut feelings

Every business is half logic and half passion. Therefore, when you have to make a hiring decision, put both into balance. For example, follow your intuition if a candidate seems outstanding on paper but fails to wow you when you meet them. It doesn’t matter whether you went to a top school or worked in a high-level profession if you’re just not made for a particular job. What is on paper is significant, but it is not as important as how you feel when you assess the person on the other side of the table. Is it someone you’re willing to invest more time in? If you can afford to be picky,

How to avoid making common hiring mistakes

The trick is to use all available resources and technology to find the top professionals. It is also recommended you seek people with relevant skills rather than experience. That way, you can shape and train them from the beginning. With all this in mind, you will be more than ready to avoid common hiring mistakes when interviewing future applicants.

For more tips and tricks, see this article on applicant tracking systems and how they can help.

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