Falling for the wrong candidate among job seekers is a common pitfall when considering job applicants. Candidates’ superficial traits can open up a host of misperceptions. A candidate’s charisma, self-presentation, or polished interview skills cloud a hiring manager’s judgment when assessing a job seeker.

Before All Else, Get The Job Description Right

Carefully crafting a job description goes a long way toward clearing the fog of likeability and the smooth presentation of practiced interview question responses. When hiring managers are able to distill the skills needed to succeed at a job from less important considerations, they are better able to tell whether a prospective employee will perform well in their new role.

A candidate with low extroversion and strong attention to detail, for instance, may be a better fit for a job that requires task focus than an extravert who is chatty and outgoing with co-workers but is less careful and detail-oriented with their work.

Don’t Use Yourself As A Yardstick

Another common form of clouded judgment that occurs during the candidate selection process is when a hiring manager favors candidates who exhibit the skills and personality traits the manager possesses. The skills needed to successfully perform a job, however, may likely be very different from the talents required of the manager.

As mentioned above, it is imperative for hiring managers to clearly identify the performance expectations and skill requirements of the role and select candidates that meet those needs, and for managers to be careful not to select candidates that resemble them.

Use Testing To Cut Through Stereotypes

A similar bias occurs when companies seek candidates who fit a stereotype for a particular role rather than someone who has the ideal skill set for a position.

Personality testing can help avoid making hires based on superficial traits and shift the focus to personal characteristics required to do the job successfully.

An introverted, conservatively dressed candidate might look and act the part of a budget analyst, but an outgoing, gregarious candidate may still be predicted to be a better candidate on tests that evaluate the potential for on-the-job performance, especially when those tests are designed to assess the behavioral attributes  needed for the role.

Take Caution: Hidden Perils Of Remote Hiring

A more subtle hiring mistake is borne of the advent of remote workspaces and candidate evaluations—typically when a company is new to hiring employees who work away from the office or exclusively using remote candidate screening mechanisms.

If much or all of a company’s hiring process is performed remotely, and prospective employees have little to no face-to-face contact with managers and co-workers, it may afford more opportunity for hiring managers to miss red flags that speak to a candidate’s compatibility with the role or a company’s culture.

To avoid this and a litany of other challenges that occur when hiring processes are strictly digital, design some parts of the hiring process to occur in person, which may help minimize hidden surprises as the candidate moves through the selection process.

For Best Results, Awareness & Preparation Are Key

In most cases, well-designed and up-to-date job descriptions, focused interview questions, in-person processes, and psychometric testing can help keep hiring practices free of various pitfalls that lead to a higher risk of regrettable hires.

This extra care taken during the hiring process can save a company the time and expense of bringing an employee on board only to have to repeat the process a short time later, and can lead to greater company success overall.