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Common Reasons for Hiring Mistakes

Let’s analyse the scenario on the last page to see if we can figure out where it went wrong.

1. The Recruitment Process

Many employers rely largely on newspaper advertisements or ads on the Internet. That’s fine, as long as the people you want to hire are reading the Want Ads.

At a time of nearly full employment, it’s more than likely that the people you want are already working somewhere else, and they’re not reading the Want Ads.

2. The Written Application Process

Almost everyone uses written job applications. The problem is deciding how much weight to place on them. To answer that, consider this question:

“Do you know who actually wrote the application?”

Over the last ten years we have found – with increasing frequency – that many applicants have others write the application for them. This seems to be particularly true when the document requires the applicant to address “Selection Criteria”.

If someone is lucky enough to have a friend who is gifted at this, or who understands what the application is getting at, their presentation is going to look a whole lot better than a person who doesn’t have such a friend.

Is this a fair and objective way of screening people?

Research which measures the accuracy of job applications in predicting actual success on the job shows that there is almost no correlation.

3. The Interview

Everyone does an interview. Almost everyone does it differently.

The best interviews are carefully structured, with questions being constructed to learn information about the applicant that is directly relevant to the job.

Interviews in which the questions are made up “on the fly” or which are structured as a casual chat, have almost no chance of succeeding in uncovering the necessary information.

Most important though, how many applicants will tell the interviewer the less positive aspects of their personality that they know about? What about the one’s that even the applicant doesn’t know about – but all their friends and family do?

4. Reference Checks

Occasionally we have seen people get useful information from reference checks. More commonly though, the information is either entirely positive or so bland as to be meaningless.

As Australia becomes increasingly more litigious, former employers are reluctant to say negative things about someone for fear of being sued.

Even worse, we have seen numerous occasions in which an employer has given a glowing reference to someone who they know is a terrible performer. Giving such a reference makes parting company easy.

And who gives someone as a referee who is likely to say bad things about them?

In addition to these problems, there are a number of other pitfalls which typically go with making hiring decisions.

Let’s look at five common hiring errors.