Management June 22, 2016 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,849 Reads share

7 Ways to Avoid a Terrible Hiring Choice

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There aren’t many feelings worse than calling somebody into your office to explain to them that you are going to have to terminate their employment. Not only do you dread delivering such awful news to your employee, you are also faced with the time and expense of recruiting, hiring, and training their replacement. Likewise, while it may not be as emotionally wrenching when an employee quits before they have added any value to your organization, you’re left in the same position.

Obviously, there is no cure-all for this. However, you can reduce employee turnover bad hiring choices by modifying your methods of recruiting and screening applicants. Here are 7 ways that you can avoid making disastrous hiring choices.

#1. Carefully Craft Your Ad And Be Very Detailed in Your Description of Duties

The more explicit you are when you write your job ads, and when you provide interviewees with a description of their duties the less likely you will be to hire somebody who turns out to be a bad fit. Too many employers make the mistake of selling up all of the great aspects of a job while downplaying all of the required duties that aren’t so fun. The result is often a frustrated employee who feels as if they accepted a job under false pretenses.

You might also end up with an employee who is simply unable to carry out the duties that are assigned to them. For example, somebody who is a bit on the shy side might be okay with spending 10 percent of their time working directly with customers. However, if that 10 percent turns out to be 60 percent after they have accepted the position, that might be more than they can handle.

#2. Don’t Allow Unconscious Bias to Impact Your Hiring Decisions

When you post a position for hire, you might receive anywhere from a handful to several dozen resumes in response. In order to get through them all, you have to do some quick skimming to determine which resumes go into the recycling bin and which will be set aside for callbacks. It would be nearly impossible to go through each one thoroughly. However, as you are eliminating candidates from consideration, it’s important to know why. If not, you are in danger of cheating yourself out of great employees because of unconscious bias.

If you find yourself eliminating somebody from consideration, and you don’t have a concrete, business reason for doing so, stop and think. Are there any ingrained biases that are impacting your decision? Are there any patterns that emerge? For example, is there an unconscious bias that you have regarding the leadership abilities of people under the age of 25? You might not intentionally look at a resume, notice the applicant’s age and consciously reject them for that reason. Instead, you might just ‘feel’ as if they are a bad choice.

#3. Implement a Support And Mentorship Program For New Hires

Ask new hires what their major complaints are about their new jobs, and you will likely get two answers. The first is that they have been thrown to the wolves and expected to function with little to no guidance. Then, on the opposite extreme, are the employees who sit at their desks doing mundane tasks while they wait for somebody to find the time to bring them up to speed. Neither of these situations is good for morale or retention.

Have a plan of action for new employees, and consider teaming them with another more experienced employee for mentoring. Then, be sure that you have something valuable for them to do once they have completed all of the usual HR paperwork. Even shadowing their mentor for a few weeks is more valuable than sitting in a cubicle farm waiting to get started.

#4. Ask About All Employment History Not Just The Most Recent

Don’t make the assumption that a potential hire’s last job is representative of their career development. Instead, take the time to ask them about every job on their resume. Ask them questions such as:

  • What projects did you work on?
  • Which mistake caused you to learn the most?
  • How would your coworkers remember you?
  • What part of the job did you enjoy most?
  • What skills did you learn that you still use today?

In many cases, feedback about earlier jobs can tell you much more about clients than their current positions.

#5. Use Video as a Recruitment Tool

Video is a great social media recruiting tool. Not only can you use video to convey the benefits of working for you much more effectively than you can with words, you can use video to paint an absolutely clear picture of your company’s culture and values. Use video to give applicants a behind the scenes look at where they will be working, who they will be working with, and what an average work day might look like for them. Encourage department heads, immediate supervisors, and coworkers to get involved with the production of these videos to really provide a true representation of your company to others. You’ll attract people who are more likely to be a good fit while giving those who are not a good fit the information they need to walk away.

#6. Source Employment Referrals From Your Team

Headhunters, staffing agencies, even your local unemployment office are all great resources for finding and recruiting applicants. However, the most valuable source for leads on new recruits is most likely the people who already work for you. Remember that people in similar lines of work tend to associate with one another. This is especially true among people who have worked or gone to school with one another in the past. Ask your current employees for recommendations, and you won’t just get names and email addresses. You’ll also get great information about abilities, accomplishments, and work habits.

#7. Don’t Sell Potential Hires on Money And Benefits Only

If you throw enough money at somebody, they will take the job. Unfortunately if compensation is the only thing that excites them, they will quickly move on as soon as somebody else offers more. Sure, you will have to discuss money, but there are other things to bring up as well. Talk about advancement potential, autonomy, training opportunities, leadership development, and future projects. If these topics get your potential hire excited and engaged, there’s a great chance that you have a dedicated and loyal future employee in front of you.


Careful planning along with conscientious recruitment methodologies can go a long way towards helping hiring managers avoid making regretful mistakes. The result of this is less time and money spent replacing employees, and a workforce that is happy and motivated.

Images: ” Bubble speech with cut out phrase “we are hiring” in the paper. /


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