Don’t Make These Hiring Mistakes!

By Jessica Wishart

dateWed, Dec 18, 2013 @ 09:30 AM

As you are planning for next year, you are probably also thinking about your organization’s needs as you grow and possibly budgeting to hire new staff.  As Peter Drucker once said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  Hiring the right person for your company and your culture will make a tremendous difference in your organization’s success—not just for this year, but on an ongoing basis.  This is why using your core values to inform your hiring decision is so critical.  

Along these lines, I recently watched a webinar by Geoff Smart (Who: The A Method for Hiring: that really stuck with me.  Geoff offered several very practical tips and outlined his approach for hiring, promotion and career management.  According to Geoff, hiring mistakes are every manager’s #1 problem.  He brought up these common hiring mistakes, and I thought I would share them so you can avoid costly missteps in shaping your organization:

•Never hire based on a gut feeling or “chemistry” or convenience.  

Just because the person is there and does not immediately raise red flags does not mean that they will be a good fit for the company or for the specific role.  There are lots of nice people out there, but you certainly should not hire them all!

•Never hire the wrong person just to fill a role.  

It is better to have nobody in that position than bring in someone who is not a good fit.  Think about it - bringing in the wrong person could be toxic for the employees you have already.  If the person is not a good fit for the team, you risk creating discord or an environment that turns people who used to be A players into B players, or worse still, sends your A players packing!  This could be a very costly mistake.

•A tough interview isn’t necessarily a good interview.  

Watching the person squirm by putting them on the spot with a barrage of tough questions doesn’t actually help you get to know the person.  You need to create rapport with the person to see their personality and learn if they are a good fit for your culture.  You have a better shot at this if the person feels more comfortable in the interview.

•Never make the mistake of hiring without a process.  

You have to be clear about what steps you plan to take in the hiring process (phone screening, individual or group interview, etc.) and make a plan for which questions to ask during the interview (and who should ask them).  You should ALWAYS be crystal clear upfront about what role you are hiring to fill and what results are expected from the person in that role.

•Don’t forget to sell the candidate on your company and the role!

If you’ve gone through a thorough screening/interviewing process, you should be interviewing candidates that you really want to come to work for your company.  So, be sure to make it clear to the person why coming to work for your company is so great.  If they are truly a match for your culture, sharing your core values and selling your company should be very appealing to the candidate.


To learn more about the Who method for hiring, including where to find great people to hire, how to create a scorecard as a blueprint for hiring success, and how to conduct 4 different types of interviews to spot A players, pick up a copy of Geoff’s book or check out the webinar I watched (  Our Job Scorecard tool dovetails nicely with Geoff’s content in that it also will help you clarify the role you are looking to fill and integrate your company’s core values into the hiring process.  Happy Hiring! 


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Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images