6 Hiring Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Building a successful company is no easy feat; it relies heavily on the talent and skills of its team. Unfortunately, critical mistakes are often (and unknowingly) made during the hiring process that result in losing out on top-tier talent. 

During our tenure in marketing recruitment, we’ve watched some of these mistakes happen. These missteps can prove costly, causing businesses to miss out on impressive talent and hinder their growth and competitive edge in the market. By recognizing and addressing these pitfalls, you can better position your company to secure the best candidates, driving greater success and innovation in the long run. 

Dragging Out the Process 

Candidates may be turned off by a company if they feel their time and energy isn’t appreciated (or respected) during the hiring process. To avoid this, provide a clear, high-level overview of what to expect: the number of interviews involved, the types of interviews (one-on-one, panel, etc.), a proposed timeline for the process, and any other helpful details.   

Maintaining momentum is key. It’s important to minimize long pauses between interview steps and provide timely updates to the candidate when any delays occur. If a person appears to be as talented as they seem on paper, it’s possible they’re considering other companies, an internal promotion, or role change. A longer-than-average interview process could result in losing out on them.  

Don’t let more than one week pass between interview steps! 

Making Snap Judgments 

Relying too heavily on first impressions means you run the risk of reinforcing biases and missing out on great talent. Just because someone immediately appears charismatic and amiable or, conversely, stand-offish and shy isn’t a reason to hire (or skip) a candidate. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of evaluating candidates based on personal likability rather than assessing their alignment with the position’s requirements. Taking time to get to know candidates and gain a thorough understanding of their skillset is key. Find ways to address or avoid being influenced by your blind spots during the interview process. By doing so, you’ll be able to increase diversity, improve retention, and uncover your next best employee. 

Suspend judgment for the first 30 minutes of a first interview. Let the person settle in before drawing conclusions about their fit.

Forgetting It’s a Two-Way Process 

Hiring is a highly relational process that goes beyond a simple interview; it is a “mutual evaluation process.” Just as you’re assessing the candidate, they’re also gauging you, the role and your company. 

When conducted thoughtfully, an interview can become a platform to showcase your people, culture, and organizational vision. Ideally, candidates you’re excited about should walk away from your conversations enthused and full of possibilities, envisioning themselves working with the people they’ve met and excelling at the job.  

Failing to Clarify the Position’s Actual Needs  

Poorly defined profiles can lead to confusion, unrealistic expectations, and ultimately, lackluster interviews.  

Have you clearly identified the job’s responsibilities and requirements? Have you prioritized the “must-have” versus the “nice-to-have” skill and experience? Is that list staying consistent? Are you evaluating all candidates against those criteria? Are your expectations realistic? (Do people who check off your boxes actually exist? Or are you looking for a unicorn?) 

Developing a clear idea of what (and who) you need for a role makes it easier to sort through resumes, keeps everyone involved on the same page, and streamlines the process. 

Skipping Unique Company Policies  

If your company has policies or expectations that aren’t as common in today’s market, it’s helpful to communicate them before extending an offer. A few examples may include: 

  • + If you’re hiring for a hybrid role, are there specific days of the week when they need to attend in-person meetings? (i.e., everyone is in on Mondays and Thursdays)
  • + Can employees take paid vacation within their first year on the job?
  • + Is there a holiday shut down that requires using vacation days for it?
  • + Does a portion of each employee’s pay get withheld to fund the company’s benefits/pension program? Is it mandatory?
  • + Will a person’s salary be adjusted during a three-month probationary period?

It’s important to articulate these (and other similar) details before getting to the offer stage. While being open about such policies may deter some prospects, it ensures the right candidate is well-informed and less likely to be scared away when they decide to sign on the dotted line.  

Failing to Clarify Staff Roles in the Process 

Having the right stakeholders involved in interviews is crucial. However, if these individuals don’t know their role in the process – whether they need to be a decision maker, to provide feedback, or to romance a highly valued candidate – things can get messy.  

Outlining each person’s role is essential to avoid confusion and ensure a smooth, efficient hiring process. Without a clear delineation of roles, decision making becomes difficult and the process gets drawn out. (And, again, you risk losing out on fantastic talent if you hit major internal hiccups during your search.)  

Ultimately, avoiding these common hiring mistakes is all about putting your company’s best foot forward. Providing a high level of professionalism, transparency, and care in your conversations with prospective employees – it all matters. Taking a moment to evaluate (and adjust) your hiring process can save you time and money, protect your corporate reputation, and ensure you secure top talent for your team. 


Need Help Hiring?

Smart, Savvy + Associates is a recruitment agency that specializes in connecting companies with marketing, communications and creative professionals at all levels, from coordinators to C-suite. Based in Vancouver, B.C., our team of marketers-turned-recruiters have an in-depth understanding of the industry and work diligently to find best-in-class talent for each search. Get started today.