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10 Mistakes to Avoid in the Hiring Process of Employees

Having a recruitment process in place and a selection plan for hiring employees is an essential part of being the hiring manager when owning and operating a business. Whether hiring your first employee, or a hundredth, you want to ensure you wind up with the perfect candidate.

Here are 10 common hiring mistakes and how to avoid them when recruiting employees.

1. Only Looking at Hard Skills Instead of Soft Skills

Possessing a desirable skill set is a crucial part of what makes a potential candidate a hired employee. There are always going to be necessary skills required for various industries and positions. However, many businesses end up looking at only the hard skills of a person, instead of their soft skills.

Hard skills refer to teachable qualifications, such as writing, customer service, certification in computer programs, and other industry-related topics. On the other hand, soft skills focus on the foundational qualities of an individual, such as communication and listening, politeness, and teamwork. Both hard and soft skill sets are necessary for any job, and as such, should both be taken into consideration during the recruiting process.

Hard skills examples

  • Technical skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Management skills
  • Computer program skills
  • Microsoft Office knowledge
  • Google Ads certification

Soft skills examples

  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Work ethic
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Flexibility/ adaptability

Candidate A has a great work ethic and communication skills but lacks knowledge in a certain computer program language. Candidate B has knowledge of the computer language yet lacks basic communication ability and politeness. Which of the candidates should you hire for your organization?

It can be easier for managers to teach hard skills to new hires than it would be to teach them soft skills. Since soft skill sets support individuals in everything they do, they should be regarded with the same importance as their hard-skill counterparts.

2. Basing Your Decisions on Experience Alone

One of the most common hiring mistakes that companies can make during the selection process is determining new employees based on experience alone. It takes more than a resume to create a cohesive team. You need to judge candidates on how well they fit within your organization’s work culture and how you think they will connect with other employees and staff members.

Experience is a necessary part of a person’s career progression. It's important to take into account the length of experience in a field or discipline; however, it shouldn't be the only thing that matters. Determining what candidates know about your business and brand and how well they would fit within the company culture are just as important.

Therefore, when interviewing individuals, get a feel for them as people and whether or not they agree with your company values. Consider how they would mesh with your current staff and weigh that against their experience and skill set.

3. Skipping a Phone Interview

Before an in-person interview, a quick phone call can help hiring managers get a feel for the potential employee in question. In many hiring situations, business owners will use the candidate’s application, resume, and cover letter to decide if they make it to the interview stage of the hiring process. But sometimes candidates sound better on paper than they do in real life.

Implementing a phone call interview during the recruitment process can help save time, effort, and money when it comes to hiring the right people. The call can be a quick 15-minute chat, but the importance of this chat is to get a feel for the candidate and determine if talking with them gives off the same feel as their written credentials do.

If the call goes well, invite them to come in for a full interview. If the call does not go well, let them down gently and inform them you will not be going ahead with the next stages of the hiring process. In either instance, both parties will save time and energy as it negates the need for a further interview, or cements the chances of hiring a fitting candidate.

4. Conducting Interviews Without Other Staff Members

If you are conducting a hiring process for a specific department, you should have the head of that department with you during the ongoing interviews. Adding other, relevant staff to the interview panel allows them to ask questions and get a feel for potential employees.

As these current employees will be the ones working closely with the individual, they should have some say in the hiring decision. It does not bode well to hire someone, only to find out they are not a good culture fit and do not work well with the current employees with whom they must work alongside.

Having other relevant team members in the room will also help you gain another perspective on the potential hire, and they may ask questions that you yourself did not think to ask. Overall, having another set of eyes and ears with you in the interview room, especially one that would end up working closely with the new hire, is always beneficial to the business.

5. Asking Bad Interview Questions

Interview questions make up a significant part of the hiring process, as it allows recruiters and managers to get a feel for each of the candidates. Mull over what you want to ask when interviewing someone, as they should be planned out before the interview takes place.

There are some question pitfalls you must watch out for when conducting interviews. Certain inquiries are good questions to ask candidates, allowing the interviewee to expand on them with detailed answers while illustrating their experience and skill sets.

On the flip side, certain interview questions are illegal to ask, and as the business owner and interviewer, it is up to you to familiarize yourself with these government guidelines. Stay away from asking anything that has to do with race, religion, gender, age, ethnic background, or marital status. Instead, focus on inquiring about and obtaining work experience and skill-related answers.

6. Failing to Contact References

When hiring employees, always contact their references to corroborate the individual’s resume. References are an important part of the recruitment process, as they help to paint a full picture of the candidates and how they perform in a work setting. By contacting past employers, you will gain insight into their previous experience and current work ethic to help determine how they would fit within this new opening.

References should be checked only after the interview process has taken place. It is during the interview, or subsequent contact, that you as the employer, must gain consent from the applicant to contact their references.

Create a list of questions to be used during reference checks that will help you gain a better understanding of the candidates and how they might perform within your business. Just like the interview process, all reference questions must be legal and job-related only.

7. Hiring Through Connections

Your selection plan for hiring employees shouldn't revolve around other people’s connections. Networking is an important part of the current work environment and industry landscape. However, too close of a connection between a candidate and current employee, and there could be some doubt as to whether or not it’s in the business’s best interest to hire said individual.

Sometimes hiring through connections will work out, and other times it will not. At the end of the day, you don’t want to have to trust other people to make this important decision for you. Therefore, take hiring suggestions on board, but don’t let others be the deciding factor when making your final choice for recruiting employees.

8. Ignoring Whole Groups of Workers

The Canadian work landscape has been making greater efforts to recruit a more diverse set of workers. With a focus on hiring immigrant groups, working with Indigenous populations and disabled workers, there are entire groups of people who offer a wide range of skill sets that tend to go unnoticed.

Diversity in a workplace should be seen as a strength, rather than something to avoid. If your business possesses a diverse workforce, you have varying skill sets, experiences, and personalities working for you to greater effect. Hiring foreign employees can help your company grow and progress, attracting a more diverse workforce to you in the long run. Keep this in mind when posting openings on job boards.

9. Not Taking a Proactive Stance

Another significant yet common hiring mistake is being passive with your efforts to find the right fit for the job. You can’t expect to wait for the perfect employee to come to you, you need to actively seek out the talent you wish to bring into your team by advertising the job opportunity.

When recruiting employees, go where the quality candidates are. Make your job opening known to them by posting on industry-related and reputable publishing platforms or a relevant job board. Or scope out new talent by partnering with universities and academic institutions to find applicants within their relevant programs.

Posting on multiple job sites, and online boards can help you reach a greater and more diverse set of candidates during the recruitment process. There are numerous paid and free job posting sites in Canada that can be used for great effect. You can even hire a recruiting agency if you feel like you can’t do it alone.

10. Posting Vague Job Descriptions

How can you attract the right applicants when your job description doesn’t go into enough detail about the position? Don’t waste your time and others with a short, non-descriptive job posting. Many highly skilled job seekers won’t apply to positions that offer little in the way of information on duties, required, skills, length of experience, benefits packages information, and work culture descriptions.

Learn how to write a job description that will get your business noticed by the right people.

Overall, having the right selection plan for hiring employees in place will help your business succeed and the new hire thrive in their position. Don’t let these hiring mistakes deter you from finding quality employees for your small business.

Get your employment off to a good start by using software to help you with your accounting payroll needs and internal processes. Join the millions of users who use QuickBooks Online to help them run their business. Try it for free today!

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