Common Hiring Mistakes & How To Avoid Making Them

Every organisation aims to hire the best employees possible. However, the hiring process is often full of mistakes that can lead to bad hires. This results in decreased productivity, morale, and higher turnover rates. Here are seven common hiring mistakes to avoid.

Asking predictable questions that lead to canned answers

One of the most common hiring mistakes to avoid is asking predictable questions that lead to canned responses. These questions do not provide insight into the candidate’s skills, abilities, or potential.

For example, questions such as, “What are your strong and weak points?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” can be quickly answered with prepared responses that don’t provide any real value.

Instead, ask questions specific to the job role you are hiring for. You could ask, “Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.” This will give you a better idea of how the candidate would handle a situation specific to the job.

Equating education and experience with skills

Another common hiring mistake is equating education and experience with skills. Just because a candidate has a degree from a prestigious university or many years of experience in a particular field does not mean they have the skills needed to excel in the role you are hiring for.

For instance, a candidate may have a degree in marketing, but if they have no experience working in marketing, they may not have the skills to be successful in the role.

Instead of focusing on the experience and education of the individual, try to assess a candidate’s skills by asking them to complete a task specific to the job you are hiring for. For example, if you are hiring a web developer, you could ask them to complete a coding exercise.

Not staying in touch with candidates

This is arguably one of the most common hiring mistakes to avoid. After a candidate has been interviewed, keeping in touch with them and updating them on the hiring process is essential.

If a candidate does not hear back from you after an interview, they may assume you are not interested in hiring them. There is a possibility that they will move on to another opportunity. Even if you are unsure if a candidate is a proper fit, staying in touch and letting them know where they stand is still essential.

Relying on external candidates only

Many hiring mistakes are obvious yet overlooked by organisations. One of these is relying on external candidates only. While it is important to consider external candidates, it is also essential to look at internal candidates.

Someone within your organisation may be a perfect fit for the job but has not been considered simply because they are not actively looking for a new opportunity. Hiring internal candidates can often be quicker and easier since you already understand their skills, abilities, and work ethic.

Focusing on culture fit or the beer test instead of culture add

One of the hiring mistakes to avoid as an organisation is focusing on culture fit or the beer test instead of culture add. The beer test is when a hiring manager only hires people they would want to have a beer with. In other words, the trial aims to hire people who easily fit into the existing culture.

While this may seem an excellent way to assess a candidate, it is relatively superficial.

Instead of hiring for culture fit, try hiring for culture add. This means hiring people who bring new perspectives and ideas to the organisation and help contribute to a more diverse and inclusive culture.

Automatically passing on overqualified candidates

Hiring managers often make the mistake of automatically passing on overqualified candidates. Just because a candidate may be overqualified for the role does not mean they should be immediately ruled out.

Overqualified candidates may be interested in the role for reasons unrelated to pay or title. For instance, they may be looking for a change of pace or a more flexible schedule.

Don’t automatically rule out overqualified candidates; take the time to learn more about their motivations for applying for the role.

You never know; they may be the perfect candidate.

Failing to follow up

The last of the hiring mistakes to avoid is failing to follow up. This can be both with candidates and references. It is not only rude but can also cost you suitable candidates. Candidates who do not hear back after an interview may assume you are not interested in hiring them and switch to another opportunity.

The same is true for references – if you do not follow up, they may be less likely to provide positive information about a candidate in the future.


So, there you have it – seven hiring mistakes to avoid. Keeping these in mind can help ensure a smoother, more successful hiring process. You will also be more likely to find the best candidates, which is a win-win for everyone involved.

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