6 Common Hiring Errors & How to Fix Them

Bad hiring practices can be costly in a number of ways. These mistakes hit especially hard in the current market where open positions may remain unfilled for longer than a business can survive.

Even previously successful hiring managers are facing extreme difficulty when working to attract top talent.

Let’s start with a few facts about the talent problem employers currently face:

Given these conditions, employers should look for ways to improve their hiring processes

Of course, no organization operates error-free. Changing any process – let alone long-standing hiring processes – can be difficult. However, there is always room for improvement. To that end, we consider a few common hiring mistakes and some strategies to correct or avoid them.

Hiring Mistake 1: Moving Too Fast 

Dire circumstances can force employers to take swift action – as the saying goes, “desperate times call for desperate measures”.

Consider when a key employee leaves in the middle of huge project.

In this case, the deadline is fast approaching, and existing employees lack either the skills or the time to complete the work. A new person is needed and there isn’t time to use standard hiring practices.

There are countless reasons why hiring managers might rush to fill a role, but they should pause long enough to properly consider each candidate and avoid cutting corners when collecting their most critical hiring evidence.

Rushing to hire, as expected when rushing any kind of process, increases the potential for error. A hiring manager may, through luck, hire a star employee using an abbreviated process, but it’s more likely they will make a regrettable choice.

In these scenarios, managers should deeply consider the time, energy and money it takes to make a good hiring decision. A rushed decision could create the unwelcome need to hire again 6 weeks later. It is key here to slow the pace enough to fully consider the importance of bringing on a quality employee or whether other solutions are available.

Strategy: Do the Homework

Sometimes it may feel like rushing is the only option, but it is critical to evaluate a candidate’s fit with objective measurement tools such as personality tests. Then schedule a first interview, take the time to show interest in qualified candidates, perform necessary due diligence, and check references, at minimum.

If you have to rush, rush smart. Don’t cut out any of the above steps and increase your chances of finding a high quality candidate faster by having a clear understanding at the outset about what the role needs. The more detailed the answer, the faster you’ll be able to identify a person who fits the role’s specific needs.

Hiring Mistake 2: Talking Too Little, Taking Too Long

Once a candidate agrees to accept a job, it doesn’t mean the hiring manager’s job is done.

Unfortunately, candidates who agree to a job haven’t yet established loyalty and there’s still a chance they won’t show on their first day, or they’ll leave shortly after starting.

Many candidates continue field interviews even after accepting an offer, and they may get another offer from a recruiter. A candidate’s signature on one offer is not a guarantee that they will not accept a subsequent one.

Neglecting to make contact post-offer can create doubt and uncertainty for the candidate, and as a result, they may accept an offer from another company that acts more aggressively.

In some cases, the hiring process takes too long. The average manager says it takes about 30 days to fill a vacant position. Some experts estimate it’s 90 to 120 days.

When the hiring process takes too long, good candidates are lost to decisive companies, hiring managers look bad, and it gets harder to fill vacancies. As hiring processes lengthen, the “shelf life” of quality candidates shortens.

Strategy: Create a Fast-moving Orientation & Welcoming Program

Hiring managers can proactively avoid issues by:

  • Staying in communication with their candidates and starting employee orientation quickly after extending an offer.
  • Giving new hires documents to review and tools to download or learn.
  • Inviting winning candidates to company gatherings to get to know the team is another way to vest them in the organization and cement their commitment.
  • Setting a day for introductions and welcomes. This is great way to burnish commitment among new hires and offerees, generating enthusiasm before they even begin working for the company.

From first contact onward, it is important to be communicative, clear and swift.

Hiring Mistake 3: Disregarding Runners-up

It seems difficult to justify spending time on rejected candidates while still in the process of filling open positions. It is easy to disregard those not chosen, but it could have unexpected negative consequences for a company’s reputation and be the wasting of an opportunity.

Many strongly considered candidates might not be the right fit initially but have talent and potential that could benefit the company at a different time or in another situation.

This is especially true in situations when job openings come down to two great candidates. They already expressed interest in working with the company and, depending on their skills, they may be a great fit for another position.

Strategy: Use Talent Pools & Keep in Touch

Seek permission from rejected candidates to stay in touch for future opportunities. Hiring managers can manage a list manually or add the near misses to talent pools to find them easily when circumstances change.

This practice takes some of the sting out of rejection and shows the candidates that they are highly regarded and viable if another opportunity arises. It helps provide a sort of deep talent bench, particularly if sudden hiring needs emerge.

Hiring Mistake 4: Bungling the Interview Process

In some cases, the full burden of candidate interviews falls one person, with one perspective, and who might not be the person in the company whose job needs and work processes intersect with the new hire.

In other cases, hiring managers might have missed important questions or perspectives that will affect the new hire’s integration into the company’s projects and culture.

At times, hiring managers, coming from a single viewpoint, might find themselves unsure about some job-related issues.

Finally, they might simply be undecided and need a second or third perspective to be sure of their choice.

Strategy: Use Team & Collaborative Hiring Practices 

Involve other employees in the company. Do not put the entire responsibility on the hiring manager to make a complete judgment call on a candidate.

After the hiring manager finishes the initial interview, invite another person to come in and speak with the candidate. The second interviewer doesn’t have to be a superior. The second voice could be a possible co-worker or someone who works in concert with the candidate’s department.

Ask for help from someone who could speak about the company culture and day-to-day life at the office. This allows an applicant to have a more relaxed conversation with someone who will be a peer in the company. This also gives incumbent employees a chance to expand on the company’s culture to help orient the candidate.

Make staff recruitment a team activity. Get the team involved in the hiring process. Use their skills, industry expertise and team knowledge to help identify the right talent.

A solid collaborative hiring team will incorporate the thoughts and opinions of others, easing the load for hiring managers.

Hiring Mistake 5: Feedback Failure

It is hard to reject candidates and even harder to receive feedback from them after they have been dismissed from consideration.

Often this occurs because hiring managers believe that input from a rejected candidate will always either be negative or of little value. Wrong on both counts.

Candidate feedback has the potential to improve a company’s candidate experience and hiring process. It is tempting to solicit feedback solely from successful hires, but it is more important to gather it from the unsuccessful ones.

Successful hires are likely to want to make a strong impression, as they have just been hired. They may also feel indebted to hiring managers for the same reason, meaning their responses could be distorted by gratitude.

Unsuccessful hires, on the other hand, have nothing to lose by sharing constructive criticism.

Strategy: Formalize Feedback 

The most direct way to correct this hiring mistake is to create a candidate experience survey and embed it in the recruitment process.

In Recruitee, hiring managers can use integrated questionnaires. Failing that, they can use an external service like Typeform to gather responses.

It is important to regularly report on satisfaction, experiences, and feedback from candidates—hired or not.

Hiring Mistake 6: Murky Job Descriptions

Badly written and unclear job descriptions will get little notice from qualified candidates and too much attention from unqualified candidates.

Without good job specifications, hiring managers likely will need to re-qualify the position with managers working directly with the new hire. If unrealistic expectations come into play, it can set managers back in the hiring process and easily double the time to hire for a position.

Hiring managers often are not specific enough about the duties, skills and competencies they need. They confuse experience with competency.

For example, if a job description calls for 8 to 10 years of experience,” does that mean a candidate with 6 years of experience is unfit for the job? Also unclear is whether the 8 to 10 years refers to a job with a single employer or multiple companies.

Wish lists of exaggerated qualities and skills help neither qualified candidates nor busy managers.

Generalities such as “good written and oral communication skills” are similarly unhelpful.

Strategy: Focus on Function

Employers would be better off defining the tasks they want done very specifically, and then finding someone who can do them.

This could mean either someone who has done a task well in the past, or has little experience, but much potential.

Hiring managers should write job descriptions with the help of managers and current employees with whom the new employee will be working that take into account how the new hire will contribute to the company.

Once employers figure out what they want, it is time to put it in writing and get a job description in front of potential candidates.

Posting jobs is an unpopular task. But, writing an effective, concise job post is the key to getting the best applicants. It sounds easy, but is harder than it seems. Here are some things to consider:

  • Create a clear title, descriptive, but not overly long.
  • Take space to describe what the company does and the advantages of working there.
  • Describe the position, including responsibilities, goals, whether there is an emphasis on team or individual work, and the type of work—remote, full-time, part-time.
  • List accurate requirements. Define the ideal traits in an applicant, as well as the required qualifications, skills and knowledge necessary to be successful at the position.
  • Showcase the company’s reputation and culture; both are selling points that spark candidate interest.
  • Keep the posting simple, clear and easily to process. Use short text blocks and bullet points when possible.


There are a great number of mistakes hiring managers make in their pursuit of qualified job candidates. Most involve missed opportunities to make good impressions, get feedback or engage internal resources in the process. Others center on flawed processes that allow “the good one to get away” or fail to attract “the right candidates.”

In a competitive and volatile hiring environment, a little forethought and, often, simple changes go a long way toward fixing flaws and optimizing opportunities.