The Mistakes You’re Making Before You Hire and How to Fix Them

Hiring mistakes can be extremely costly for your business.  And though employers invest a lot of time and resources into finding the right person for a job, they can sometimes unknowingly set themselves up to fail before they even start. Here are some of the biggest mistakes you can make when hiring:

1. The Mistake: Reactive Hiring

When there’s no talent pipeline or long-term hiring strategy in place, employers can fall victim to reactive hiring.  For example, if a position opens up unexpectedly, you may have to scramble to hire someone and end up choosing the wrong person for the job.  Reactive hiring forces you to identify talent to suit your needs in the short term.  This means you can’t be confident you’re getting the best talent, and you may be negatively impacting your company’s long-term goals.

The Fix:

When it comes to building departments, do your best to plan your hires far in advance.  Unfortunately, sudden job openings can be inevitable, but regular reviews can offer a clearer view of whether there may be a vacancy in the future.  You may also want to create and maintain a talent pipeline, so you aren’t starting from square one each time you decide to start the hiring process.  An employee referral program can help your employees keep their own networks in mind, which can speed up the hiring process when you are ready to hire as well.  When you’re proactive with your hiring strategy, you give yourself the best chance of identifying and engaging with the best people for the job.

2. The Mistake: Hiring Without Context

Another common hiring mistake is failing to consider the company-specific requirements of a role.  Think of it this way: if you’re hiring a sales manager, a boilerplate “sales manager” job description might not fully reflect the actual needs of your particular company.  You decrease your chances of finding someone who’s truly a great fit for your business if you aren’t evaluating the specifics of what you need from someone in that position.

The Fix:

Work to build context around every role you’re hiring for.  Before you start looking for a new employee, consult with your hiring managers and relevant employees to get their input on a job description.  Ask yourself what their duties will be.  Do they need experience in specific areas?  What kind of personalities will they be working with and what kind should they have? It’s better to tackle these questions up front so that the hiring process moves more efficiently. By understanding the full scope of the role, you know exactly what you’re looking for and you set yourself up to succeed.

3. The Mistake: Weak Job Postings

Even with a solid grasp on what you want from a new hire, it’s hard to accurately convey that in a job description.  A job post is a candidate’s first impression of your company.  If it’s too vague, you’ll have trouble attracting the kind of candidates you’re hoping to hire, and you’ll end up wasting a lot of time reading resumes from people who aren’t a good fit.  Too specific and you’ll risk reducing the number of applicants.  A weak job description may also unintentionally make the position seem unattractive or even affect the diversity of your candidate pool.  All of these problems can prevent you from finding the right candidates.

The Fix:

Put thought into your job descriptions.  Include information on your company and an accurate list of the position’s responsibilities.  Separate your essential requirements for the role, or “must-haves,” from the traits and experiences that aren’t required but desirable, or your “good-to-haves.”  This helps makes your expectations clear.  It’s also wise to do some research on how to optimize your job postings so as not to deter any one group from applying.  Small changes in your word choice can have a huge impact on who applies to your positions.  In the end, an attractive, accurate, and concise job description is one of the best tools you have for finding quality candidates.