Five Common Recruitment Mistakes

April 14, 2023

1. Hire for skills, fire for attitude

Despite all the research to show that employees can learn new skills but rarely change their attitude, companies continue to rely on the CV and an interview to recruit new employees. But repeated studies show the CV has become just a candidate’s marketing tool, and the interview has no better reliability than tossing a coin.

2. Ignore cultural fit

Employers often think they can mould an employee to fit their culture. Maybe that was true in the 50s and 60s, but for the younger workers of today culture is an extremely important factor. Managers who think they can just offer an average job with an average salary and that will be enough to attract and retain skilled employees are simply fooling themselves.

3. Rely on gut instinct

Recruitment is probably the only area where managers ignore data and objective measurement in favour of a “gut feeling”. The interviews they conduct are often no more than a “nice chat” and therefore virtually useless. Both cloud their ability to recruit people who can do the job and fit in with the company culture. References, psychometrics, pre-employment tests, etc. add objectivity to the screening and selection process. But despite evidence to the contrary, managers often think they can do a better, and even those who do use objective assessments often over-ride the results because their “gut tells them so”.

4. Fail to look at competencies

Managers tend to focus on specific personality traits such as extraversion, detail-orientation, and energy and fail to understand their relevance (or otherwise) in predicting superior performance. Companies need to focus on competencies like managing others, getting results, and problem solving and assess how different traits, behavioural styles and even personal motivation and values could influence productivity.

5. Look in the wrong places

Skilled workers and top talent don’t look for jobs in the newspaper. They don’t submit their CVs to generic black-holes such as “[email protected]”. They hear about jobs on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, through friends, and on niche job boards. They don’t fax and they don’t post letters and CVs. But many companies are so overwhelmed by social technology and the inbox full of unqualified candidates, that they resort to looking in familiar places, which is not where talent is hiding.