Hiring Employees? Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

By Robert Half on June 14, 2017 at 5:00am

If you’re a manager who recently got the green light to hire a new employee, we’ve got good and bad news for you. The good news, of course, is that you can bring in extra hands to help relieve your existing team. The bad news: Chances are that a lot of other hiring managers at competing companies are also trying to bring on additional team members.

Businesses continue hiring employees at a brisk pace. And as firms battle for top talent in today’s candidate-short market, it’s critical you become a hunter, not a gatherer.

Here’s what we mean …

Hunters take a proactive and multifaceted approach to hiring employees by using an array of tools and channels to identify and attract the best candidates. Those resources include cutting-edge technology, as well as internal referrals, specialized recruiters, social media, carefully cultivated professional networks and more.

Gatherers, on the other hand, rely on one tool at the exclusion of all others. They simply post a job online and then sit back and wait (and hope) to receive decent resumes.

The “if I post a job, the right candidates will apply” approach may have worked in the past, when employers had the edge. But we’re now operating in a vastly different hiring market; candidates are often the ones in the driver’s seat. Relying entirely on a job posting is unlikely to result in a stack of resumes, let alone a stack of resumes from people with the right skills and experience for the role.

As you shape your employment strategy to stay competitive, here are five common, costly and time-consuming hiring process mistakes — and tips to help you avoid them:

Mistake #1: Assuming the perfect candidate will respond to a job posting

Job boards and other posting sites reach only one segment of the market: people actively looking for work. Many professionals with hot skill sets in areas such as cybersecurity, front-end web development or compliance are already employed. They’re not searching for new career opportunities. That said, these people are often open to pursuing greener pastures if presented with the right opportunity.

Reaching these specialized workers requires a specialized approach. Thanks to their deep networks within the local business community, well-connected recruiters frequently know who the passive job seekers are and what types of opportunities would appeal to them.

Mistake #2: Focusing too heavily on the resume

The applicant with the best resume is often the best resume writer — or someone who is good at matching keywords in their resume to those in the job description.

By contrast, the strongest job candidates possess the ideal blend of technical and soft skills, fit with the corporate culture, and are motivated to move their career forward. None of these important traits can be determined by scanning resumes. Personal interaction is required early on in the hiring process to determine which candidates are truly promising and which simply know how to present themselves well on paper.

Mistake #3: Thinking technology is all you need

There’s no question that over-reliance on technology can slow down the hiring process. Employers may use technical tools to post ads, but it’s not unusual for it to take weeks or even months for these ads to bear fruit. Then there’s the time it takes to sort through and review the resumes received.

Smart recruiting involves both art and science; it’s high-tech and high-touch. Posting jobs online or using data analytics to better understand trends about your target candidate pool is smart. But so is using staffing experts, who can leverage their extensive networks and industry knowledge to quickly find professionals who will truly excel in the role.



Mistake #4: Recruiting only when you have a job opening

Wise employers are in recruiting mode day in and day out. They create a healthy pipeline of candidates through active networking. They also strategically use specialized recruiters to find top-notch candidates and keep pace of market and salary trends.

Savvy employers also make recruiting the business of everyone in the company by offering referral incentives. If you’re already doing that, take a step back and gauge the effectiveness of the program. You may need to make the incentives more appealing to encourage everyone to practice “always-on” recruiting. This type of preparation and approach will help you fill vacancies quickly with minimal negative impact on the business.

Mistake #5: Underestimating the costs of a hiring mistake

Some employers seem to have the attitude that, “If I make a mistake, I’ll just hire someone else.” If only it were that easy. Hiring mistakes can be quite costly. The consequences include a decline in team morale, a Robert Half study shows, and the time spent coaching underperforming employees can take up a quarter of your workweek, CFOs said.

When hiring employees for critical roles, connect with a specialized recruiter in your area who can help you find the right fit. The best recruiters also minimize your risk by offering a service guarantee if the new hire doesn’t stick for some reason.

Finally, when you do identify great people to interview, take special care of them and keep things moving. Make the effort to develop a rapport and stay in close touch throughout the process. Long timelines or lack of information can frustrate job candidates and cause them to question your company’s interest in them and ability to make business-critical decisions.

Hiring employees is easy. But bringing aboard the right employees requires much more finesse. The key to success today is taking a comprehensive approach to recruiting and then communicating clearly with your finalists.

Learn how staffing and recruitment agencies can help you save time and money during the hiring process now!

Ripple Effects of a Poor Hiring Decision infographic


CFOs were asked, “To what extent do you think making a poor hiring decision affects the morale of your team?”

Greatly 44%

Somewhat 47%

Not at all 9%

CFOs also were asked, “In general, what percentage of a manager’s time is spent coaching and/or supervising poorly performing employees?”*


Source: Robert Half survey of more than 2,200 CFOs from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas

*Mean response

© 2018 Robert Half International Inc. An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Disability/Veterans.

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