The selection process for hiring can be long and complicated, which means there’s a whole lot riding on your ability to select the most skilled job candidates for your available positions. If you find yourself second-guessing your hiring decisions, you might want to take a closer look at your selection process for hiring. 

A recent Robert Half survey revealed that 77% of senior managers polled said they've recruited the wrong candidate for a role. And more than half (56%) said the negative impact is more severe today than it was a year ago.

To help avoid making a bad hire, keep the following advice in mind:

Anchor yourself to the hiring criteria

Think of the hiring criteria that you initially establish as your ground rules. In general, that's what should guide you through your evaluation process. Anchoring yourself to the hiring criteria helps prevent two of the most common pitfalls during the selection process for hiring:

  • The halo effect: Becoming so enraptured by one particular aspect of a candidate — such as a particular credential or technical skill — that you allow that aspect to influence all your other judgments
  • The cloning effect: Hiring someone in your image, even though that candidate's particular mix of skills and abilities might not align with the open position

​Of course, you have the option to adjust the hiring criteria at any point. But make sure you aren't doing so simply to accommodate a specific candidate. That kind of change can certainly skew your selection process for hiring.

Think strategically

When you're under pressure, you're more likely to rush a hiring decision. And that can increase your chances of hiring someone who isn't the most suitable choice — or who you end up letting go, with all the disruption that entails.

If you're worried about finding someone right away, see whether you can bring in a temporary professional to keep projects on track while you continue the selection process for hiring.

Look at the entire picture

In general, you can never have enough information about candidates — or enough different sources. So, try not to rely solely on any one source, whether that's the resume, cover letter, interview impressions, reference checks or skills testing. Cast a wide net and pay careful attention to any discrepancies.

Get input, but avoid having too many cooks

Getting input from others before making your final choice is a smart practice, particularly when filling a key position. But involving too many people in the final decision can be a mistake. When too many people have a say, the process can slow, and you risk losing in-demand candidates to other companies.

You're also more likely to end up with a compromise choice. That means you're hiring the candidate who's the least objectionable to everyone — instead of getting the most skilled employee. 

Don't force the issue

The recruiting process sometimes uncovers a dream employee — except for one problem: The candidate's skills and attributes don't match the hiring criteria of a specific role.

In that case, consider scouting around for another job within the company that better suits this particular candidate. You don't want to end up putting a good worker in the wrong job.

Keep your focus

Do your best to stay alert to any extraneous factors that may distort your selection process for hiring. For instance, are your top candidates really the most skilled? Or were they simply interviewed later in the hiring process, which means their credentials are fresher in the minds of interviewers? To avoid any distortion, always remind yourself to come back to the hiring criteria.

By following this selection process for hiring, you're much more likely to end up with candidates who are likely to thrive in your organization, and have the skills and experience you truly need.