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Hiring mistakes it's worth being aware of!

Companies make hiring mistakes in every process I have ever run and as a candidate it's worth being aware of these. The is from a blog I wrote a few months ago, primarily as advice for hiring managers but I think it might resonate with all and as a candidate, it's hopefully useful to know.


Be flexible about the sector experience of your candidate – if they have the right skills, cultural fit and experience, the candidate doesn’t HAVE to come from your industry. If you can be even slightly flexible it opens up lots of interesting candidates. Some great examples this year have been when clients have said “which industry does that better than we do, let’s try and hire someone from there”.  

Be as flexible as you possibly can about location and remote working - If the best candidate lives an hour away and understandably only wants to do that length of commute three days a week while working at home for the other two, do you really want to deprive the business of recruiting that person, because they HAVE to be in the office five days a week? Also, don’t say no to meeting with a great candidate who lives 45 miles from the office because company policy is a radius of 40 miles!

Interviewing – Don’t be too harsh on someone you liked and who had all the right skills because they didn’t interview very well or had an ‘off’ day. Maybe they don’t like interviews, maybe they are having a tough week and didn’t want to cancel. Perhaps meet them for a coffee and a follow up chat, maybe meet them away from the office next time, you’re not recruiting someone for how well they interview.

Interviewing – It’s a two way process, they have to like you too; sell the business, tell them why it’s a great place to work, time them why you like working there. Not every candidate is unhappy in their current job and desperate to move, you need to present a compelling and exciting proposition.

Options – Try to give yourself options when hiring; focusing on one candidate and failing to recruit them while not having other options is demoralising for everyone involved. You probably will have a favourite after the first round, but try to keep other good options in the process, your favourite might be talking to two other companies who they have a preference for.

The process – Four, five, six interview stages, taking too long between stages, taking days to get an offer together…it starts to look like you can’t make decisions. Don’t be too quick either, you have to give the candidate the thinking time to move from “this job sounds interesting” to “tomorrow I’m going to accept the offer and hand my notice in”…it’s a sensitive and emotive process that takes time.

The offer – Budgets are tight but ‘low ball’ offers (even if you are prepared to negotiate) can be irreversibly damaging. Failing to recruit your preferred candidate will always be more costly than the increase in salary it would have taken to hire them. Having someone reluctantly accept because they like you and the company so much but think the salary is low, that’s never a good start.

Check in with them once they have joined -  “How has the first week been?”, “You’ve been with here two months now, is anything different to what you expected the job/company to be like?”. Joining a new company is emotionally hard and sometimes a small thing, that is easily solvable, can grow and become an issue, so check in with them and ask.

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