What to look for in new candidates

10 Recruiting Mistakes To Avoid In The Hiring Process

Posted September 4, 2015 by Adrienne Smith in Hiring and Onboarding
Recruiting the wrong candidate is a costly mistake for small businesses. Avoid these mistakes and find your next new hire.

Leilani Lucero, head of recruiting at Justworks

Leilani Lucero helps Justworks find and hire exceptional people as our head of recruiting. She brings a wealth of experience in recruiting in the tech and startup industries.

Here, Leilani shares tips and tricks from her experience to help your small businesses grow. If you have any hiring questions for her or us, tweet us at @JustworksHR.

Avoid These Common Recruiting Mistakes

Not Recruiting Strategically

Don't jump into recruiting without determining what resources are most needed within departments or the organization as a whole. This failure to plan can lead companies to make hires that aren’t in line with the business’ needs - which eventually can lead to company downsizing.

Hiring any position starts big. Your small business needs to identify what you want to accomplish as a company. Build a road map for making that happen. Then, identify the specific needs you need to fill in order to make that happen.

Scaling Too Quickly

Whenever you rush to make a decision, you tend to make a poor decision. Don’t rush and hire too many people or the wrong person. Rushing can ultimately cost you more. Fixing your hiring mistake will cost your small team more money and resources than slowing down your hiring process will.

For a small business, it's imperative that you know exactly what you’re looking for. That way, you can make the right educated decisions even if you’re moving quickly.

Not Defining Your Culture And Values

Don’t focus exclusively on the job responsibilities in your job description. Aside from understand the role's responsibilities, this prospective candidate should also learn your company’s culture and values.

Make sure you’ve communicated your culture and what you value in your employees. Then identify your needs for the role. Put out a job description that encompasses both.

Failing to Put an Employee Referral Program in Place

Not setting up an employee referral program is a missed opportunity. Hopefully, you’ve built a team of employees that are in line with your culture and values.

Those employees will only refer people they believe fit with your company’s culture and values. By doing so, they’re weaning out poor cultural fits.

A warning: beware of repetition here by relying too heavily on referrals. You don’t want employees to incessantly bring in the same people within their networks.

Ignoring Intuitions And Gut Reactions

Hopefully you’ve recruited strategically, put a plan in place, and identified your company’s values by this point in the process. If so, your gut reaction about a candidate at this point in the process tends to be right.

If you don’t think a candidate is a fit for the job description or the company culture, that may be a strong indicator to take a deeper look into why not.

Sticking To What Looks Good On Paper

Top-tier schools aren’t always indicative of a candidate being the right hire. Especially now in the startup world, people are taking more unconventional journeys after college.

Look for candidates that have overcome adversity or worked hard for something they believed in. Sure, you want experience. But you also want grit and tenacity and character in a candidate.

Not Diversifying at an Early Stage

Don’t let yourself forget to diversity as you ramp up hiring. If you don’t do it quickly, it’s easy to forget as you continue with the hiring momentum you’ve built.

Look for candidates with varying opinions, backgrounds and experiences - all of which support the values of your company culture. You want to be challenged by new hires, and taught new perspectives.

Don’t Just Copy/Paste Older Job Descriptions

Job descriptions often fail to accurately reflect the open role or the company’s spirit. Don’t just reuse old descriptions or be redundant.

Make sure you job descriptions address what the heart of your company is. Identify what you value in employees, and then communicate that. Also make sure you go back to the needs you identified in the beginning of this process. Communicate those.

Not Following Up With Candidate

Every opportunity you have to speak with prospective candidates is a marketing opportunity. Value every applicant. Make sure you show the best side of your company through transparency and honest communication. 

You don’t want to unknowingly create a bad reputation. Who knows, that candidate might not be a right fit now. But they might be later.

Don’t Make The Process Too Long

A dragged-on process is bad on both ends.  You lose really great candidates that way. It’s a competitive market, especially for small businesses. The process costs the business money. Make the right decision, and don’t rush yourself. But avoid unnecessary steps at all costs.

Learn how to attract and retain top-notch employees.

Win the Talent War

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.