We’ve already talked about mistakes that hiring managers often make in job interviews, but we want to look deeper at hiring mistakes that companies tend to make. We point these out not to shame anyone, but because highlighting these common issues can prepare hiring managers to avoid making them in the future.
So here are five hiring mistakes that you should avoid whenever possible.
Ignoring social media and online presence
A person’s online presence says a lot about them. Before hiring anyone, you should do a quick Google search of their name. See if you can find their social media profiles and try to get a feel for this person’s personality and behavior. If you talk to someone who seems like an outstanding candidate, but then learn that they have a long history of badmouthing employers on Facebook, you might want to think twice before giving that person the opportunity to represent your company in an official capacity.
Of course, there’s a huge caveat here: A lot of potential employees have very common names. Make sure you’re not getting them mixed up with someone else who shares the same name. You don’t want to blow a major hiring opportunity simply because this amazing candidate happens to share a name with someone who is clearly bad news.
Still, it never hurts to do a little bit of snooping before you welcome someone new onto your staff.
Being overly vague
In every step of the hiring process, from the first interview to the last day of training, you should be as clear as possible. Being vague about essential concepts will only cause confusion, and eventually resentment. It can also cost you a lot of money (not to mention headaches) if it results in a lawsuit.
Be transparent about every detail. Explain expectations. Lay out your hiring process to potential employees. Talk about what your company values and back those things up with clear, concise examples. Give candidates (and employees in training) as many opportunities to ask questions as you can, and nurture an environment in which asking questions is encouraged rather than scoffed at.
Whatever you do, make sure potential employees never feel lost or confused. Being as clear as possible will help your new hires acclimate to your company more quickly and with less stress.
Relying too heavily on “gut feelings” and first impressions
Sometimes, you get positive vibes from someone during an interview. Afterward, you might not remember anything specifically about that candidate besides the fact that they gave you a good feeling. In these instances, you have to be very careful to use your head and not your emotions. Keep in mind that your feelings often have nothing to do with reality, and a good candidate can be passed over for a bad fit simply because a hiring manager had a “gut feeling.”
When you’re conducting an interview, it’s very important to take detailed notes about what specifically you found appealing or unappealing about a candidate. These should be objective things, such as “This person does charity work” or “This person displays a great level of confidence when speaking about work experience.” When you have a checklist for each candidate, you can compare them rationally without asking your “gut” to do the thinking for you.
“Ghosting” your candidates
It seems like it’s becoming more and more common for companies to “ghost” their candidates. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, basically it means that an employer will cut off communication with a person entirely without explanation.
When someone has sacrificed their time to come in for an interview, it’s rude to leave them hanging, even if they’re not the right person for the job. Keep in mind that a person who you bring in for an interview likely knows a lot of other people who do the same type of work. If they get ghosted, perhaps they will let their friends know, and you might miss out on a great pool of candidates because they’ve heard bad things about your hiring process.
We know it can be awkward to deliver a rejection, but it’s the polite and professional thing to do. Don’t leave your candidates hanging or you might be closing future doors for your organization.
Forgetting about training
As we mentioned in the introduction to this article, hiring a new employee is an investment. What we didn’t mention was that this investment is a continual process that will last for as long as that employee remains with your organization. It’s very important that you begin nurturing this investment immediately.
Even the best hires can show poor work performance if they’re not trained to meet the specific expectations of your organization. This means that you need to be clear about expectations, then give the employee all the tools they need to meet those expectations.
Don’t ever just tell someone, “This is just how we do things around here.” That’s unhelpful, and statements like this are oftentimes symptoms of a failing workflow. Explain why things are done in a particular way, and match those reasons with the company goals.
As a generic example, if you tell someone, “We don’t use the copier between noon and 2 p.m. because that’s just how it is,” that almost sounds like a challenge. If you instead say, “We don’t use the copier between noon and 2 p.m. because our most lucrative client needs special attention during those specific hours,” that actually makes sense. Instead of just making a rule (that at first glance feels like overkill), you’ve made a compelling case for why this rule exists.
Now, that’s maybe not an example that applies to what you do specifically, but we hope you can at least see how the general rule applies broadly. Make a case for why things need to be done in a specific way rather than just assume compliance.
These were just five mistakes that we commonly see among employers. Be mindful of each one, and if you notice that you’ve fallen into any of these habits, try to break free. If you can stop making these mistakes, you’ll see an improvement in your hiring process overall.