The 3 most common hiring mistakes

By Robert Half on 10 September 2021

You have set hiring goals at the start of the year. What progress have you made so far?

If you’re like many business leaders, you may have been so wrapped up with different projects that you’ve had no time to focus on the hiring process.

Now, you not only have to find staff for key positions, but many of your current employees may be feeling overworked as well. Unless you make some changes fast, you could be faced with even more open positions at your company.

Are you creating hiring process hurdles?

The fact remains that skilled candidates are in high demand and short supply. But there’s also a chance you may be partly contributing to the recruiting challenges your company is facing. Answering these three questions can help you determine if that’s the case. Here are the three most common hiring mistakes.

1. Am I looking for a candidate who doesn’t exist?

One of the most common hiring mistakes is setting bar to unreasonable heights when laying out your candidate requirements. This is one of the key reasons why the hiring process takes too long and you risk losing top candidates to competing organisations.

Many employers ask for everything: years of relevant experience, multiple professional certifications, knowledge of the industry, familiarity with several specialised software platforms, and exceptional soft skills. Few, if any, candidates are likely to meet these prerequisites.

Solution: Ask yourself this: “Have I ever encountered a professional who has all the skills, experience and credentials I’m looking for?” If not, you’ll want to be more flexible with your hiring criteria.

Decide on four or five must-have skills or attributes that a professional needs in order to perform the job well. Use these qualities as the basis for your candidate evaluations. If you come across an applicant who meets those requirements, and also has the right personality and interpersonal skills to thrive at your company, you’ll want to consider extending a job offer.

2. Am I making hiring a top priority?

Just thinking about the fact that you need to hire more people isn’t enough to actually fill your open positions. Of course you’re busy. Reviewing resumes and interviewing potential hires may seem impossible to squeeze into your already busy schedule. Not making the time is one of the most common hiring mistakes. You must make time. There are no two ways around it. Hiring will simply not happen otherwise.

Delegating the task to HR isn’t the answer. As a business leader, you need to be actively involved in the hiring process because no one knows the position and requirements better than you do. An HR representative doesn’t always understand the day-to-day workings of the role. Only you can read between the lines of the resume and accurately size up a candidate during the interview.

Reserve time on your calendar specifically for hiring activities — asking your network (and staff) for leads, creating a solid job description, meeting with specialised recruiters, reviewing resumes, interviewing, checking references, and more. It will be time well spent. You will see your hiring process speed up as a result.

3. Am I leaning too hard on my staff?

When business leaders think about hiring mistakes, they generally only think about finding staff. However, not making hiring a top priority can have a significant impact on your current employees as well.

You have great people on your team. Have you thought about what you would do without them — especially when you’re understaffed and workloads aren’t easing up? With that in mind, think about this: Is there a chance your team is doing such a good job at juggling several priorities right now that you don’t feel the pressure to accelerate your hiring process?

If you don’t provide them with some relief soon — by stepping up hiring and, perhaps, engaging temporary professionals to ease the burden while you search — you may not need to imagine what the office will be like without them. They’ll be gone, so don’t forget: hiring mistakes can impact employee retention.

So it’s time to take make hiring a key focus. If you invest the time and effort in the hiring process and hire right, you’ll reap benefits for your company immediately and over the long run.

Learn from Robert Half’s expert recruiters so you can build a talented team of employees or advance your career. Operating in over 300 locations worldwide and as a leading job agency in Melbourne, Robert Half can provide you with assistance where and when you need it.

More From the Blog...