Common Hiring Manager Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The job hiring process is often a tedious and stressful one, particularly for the person in charge.

Selecting the best candidates to interview, conducting those interviews, making the right decision, and extending the appropriate offer all relate to the many variables which often factor into some costly mistakes in terms of energy, time, and money. While there is no magic formula for the hiring process, there are some good strategies the hiring manager can implement to avoid as many of these “potholes” as possible.


Mistake #1: Putting too much faith in your intuition

Like it or not, we are all biased creatures by nature, and we view life through our own perspective, which means we don’t always see the big picture. Your “gut feeling” may influence your view of a particular candidate because their style of accomplishing tasks is vastly different from yours.  Perhaps that’s exactly the style desperately needed in their department.

Solution: While chemistry is an important factor in a hire, make sure that you intentionally consider the facts about their track record and skill set.  Also, it’s very wise to get input from other managers to balance and complete the company perspective on the candidate.

Mistake #2: Obsessing on a particular set of credentials

Education, skills and background experience are key factors in candidate selection, but one should never be totally inflexible. You might miss a young superstar because you are focusing on a specific requirement, even though he or she is innovative and competent with the ability to learn new things in record time.

Solution: Base your candidate filter on the duties that need to be accomplished in the position, rather than strictly on past credentials.  The primary goal of any hire is to find the most qualified candidate who can accomplish the tasks and goals needed for the department to meet their goals.   Any candidate who can do that and fits into the culture should be a viable prospect.

Mistake #3: Overvaluing charm and undervaluing consistency

Performance cannot always be determined by personality.  Placing too much stock in a brilliant smile and a great sales pitch can cause you to be blinded to poor track records of consistently delivering results on time. Many a manager has hired the candidate who “talks a good talk” but has failed to achieve success.

Solution: Know exactly what results you expect to receive from this position before you begin the candidate selection process.  Make sure you complete satisfactory reference checks on each strong candidate before a decision is made and set up a standard to measure all candidates equally throughout the process.

Mistake #4: Hiring someone who can do the job, but can’t fit into the culture

The most competent candidate in the world who doesn’t mesh with the culture of the company and department he or she is working in will not last long in your organization. They will become frustrated, you will become frustrated, their performance will decline, and their position will soon be vacated.

Solution: The more familiar you are with your company culture, the better you will be at recognizing people who would fit into your organization. Clearly explain the vision, core values, and culture of the organization during every interview you conduct. Discussing this in-depth with candidates will help you both learn early on whether or not they will be a long-term asset to the company. Never underestimate the importance of this factor in the long-term success of an employee with your company.


This is just the tip of the iceberg when evaluating your current process, but it gives you a good place to begin if you need to adjust some of your hiring habits. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us directly.