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6 Common Hiring Mistakes Organizations Should Avoid

“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us, it’s personality.” —Richard Branson.

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“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us, it’s personality.” —Richard Branson.

Hiring is one of the most critical tasks in every organization. This is because the right employees are the pillar of the organization and the most important asset. According to Jim Collins, "Great vision without great people is irrelevant." A successful hire entails attracting, selecting and retaining the right employee for the organization. A bad hire could cost organizations financial losses or a bad reputation. The objective of the hiring manager should, therefore, be to get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus. Ultimately the outcome of a hiring process must outweigh the cost of hiring. Below are some common hiring mistakes by hiring managers that may cost an organization a fortune.

Hiring Mistake #1: Selecting the Most Experienced Candidate

The best-suited candidate for a position is not necessarily the most experienced job applicant. Experience is relative and its relevance varies with each organization. Hiring managers must be keen on selecting candidates with relevant experience and who can demonstrate how it fits the needs of the hiring organization. According to Maxwell Wessell in his article in the Harvard Business Review, “it is more effective to evaluate managers by looking at the situations they have been in than their track record of success. By looking at past success without considering the situation in which the manager was successful, we neglect to account for the wisdom accrued over a period of time when a manager faces a specific set of problems." The context of a candidate's achievement matters more than cumulative past experience.

Hiring Mistake #2: Selecting the Most Educated Candidate

Educational qualifications are not an absolute predictor of good job performance. According to The Predictive Index, education has almost no correlation with job performance, it provides only 1% predictive ability as noted by researchers in Personnel Psychology. Therefore, the assumption that education provides candidates with training and experience for future jobs is not valid. Education qualification should not be used to eliminate less qualified candidates unless the job requires knowledge transfer like teaching and research.

Hiring Mistake #3: Selecting the Top Candidate

Top candidates don’t always turn out to be the best fit for an organization. Hiring managers must thoroughly scrutinize all interviewees to ensure that new hires are best suited to meet the needs and serve the interests of the organization. “Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us, it’s personality.” —Richard Branson. Every organization must, therefore, define the characteristics of their ideal employee and use it as a yardstick when selecting the most suitable candidate for every position.

Hiring Mistake #4: Selecting Based On Friendship or Relationship

Friends or relatives should only be hired based on the value they bring to an organization and not based on their relationship with the employer. A common problem with hiring relatives is they adopt a sense of entitlement. With this attitude, they turn out as the least performing employees and more often a demotivation to other employees. Hiring managers should always put the interests of the organization first and only hire relatives based on their suitability for the advertised position.

Hiring Mistake #5: Selecting a Candidate Out Of Sympathy

Never hire out of sympathy. Emotional hires can be disastrous. The needs of the organization must always come first. No matter how sad someone’s story is the choice to hire them should be because they have something to offer the organization and not because they need help. Most of the time people forget their problems once they settle in a job. They also tend to associate the employer as a solution to their problems. A lot of times they will settle, become comfortable and forget why they were hired.

Hiring Mistake #6: Selecting a Candidate Who Does Not Align With the Culture

Organizational culture highly influences the performance of the organization. Hiring managers must ensure incoming employees are conversant and adaptable to the organization’s culture. Management philosophies, belief systems, religious practices, and core values have an impact on employee performance and ultimately on the organization’s performance. A cultural misfit that affects an employee’s performance may result in a premature exit which may increase hiring costs. In the words of Brian Tracy, "As a business owner or manager, you know that hiring the wrong person is the most costly mistake you can make." Hiring managers should, therefore, ensure that the most suitable candidate is aligned with the culture of the organization.

In a nutshell, the right candidate for a given position must be balanced. They should not only have relevant experience but must demonstrate a willingness to grow with the organization. They should naturally embrace the organization’s culture or quickly adapt to the changing culture. Hiring managers should avoid the above hiring mistakes in an attempt to select the best candidate that fits an organization's needs. According to business Mogul Renee West  “You can have the best strategy and the best building in the world, but if you don’t have the hearts and minds of the people who work with you, none of it comes to life." It should, therefore, be every hiring manager’s objective to select the best fit for an organization.


About the author

Getrude Budambula is an Independent Human Resource Professional and a Freelance Writer. She enjoys sharing knowledge as a Content Writer and has authored several professional articles. 

Written by

Kelvin Mokaya

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