Most business owners and managers agree that it is the people working for them who make all the difference to the success of the business. Without great people, a business is not so great. But people are often the biggest cost for a business too, which is why it is so important to invest wisely. Getting the right people on your team is easier said than done. Some of the common mistakes made when recruiting are easily avoided by following some simple advice. Here are some of the mistakes we see people make and our solutions to avoid them.

Offering the job to the best person you interview

While this may seem like the right thing to do, it is actually one of the most common mistakes made. Just because one person you interview is better than the others, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best person for the job. Given the cost of getting it wrong, it is usually better to appoint nobody than to appoint the wrong person. Make sure you are assessing the person against the qualifications, skills and experience needed in the job and the personal qualities you need in an employee. If you have two people who are ticking all the boxes, ask yourself if one of them has something special that you value but didn’t know to ask for to give your business that little something extra.

Ignoring gut instinct

While following your gut instinct may not feel like the business-like thing to do, more often than not, your intuition is based on your expertise about your business and the position you need to fill. First impressions count and will give you a sense of what this person might be like in the long term. If somebody feels insincere to you, they may well come across like this to your clients too. If you don’t think your personality and theirs will quite gel and this feeling doesn’t go away, perhaps this isn’t the right person for you. Of course, you have to give people a chance, keep an open mind and don’t let a negative experience with one person impact on others, but try not to talk yourself out of a gut feeling. Instead, seek another opinion or use professional interviewing techniques to verify your impressions.

Asking hypothetical questions

Hypothetical questions can seem like the right thing to do when you want to find out exactly what someone might do in a situation, but the problem is that hypothetical questions don’t always lead to answers that describe actual behaviours. Past behaviour is generally a good indication of what an employee is likely to do again. Instead of a “What would you do….?” question, ask questions about a difficult situation they have encountered at work and how they dealt with it in real life. Asking the right questions in a carefully structured interview is much more likely to give you the answers that you are looking for and a chance to understand how your potential employee will cope in different situations.

Trying to spend little or no money on recruitment

Research consistently shows that, conservatively, it costs 2.5 times someone’s salary to replace them if they leave. It is much more cost-effective for your business to have someone employed with you for a longer time than to replace them, so investing money in the employment process may hurt your bank balance in the short term but will more than pay off in the long run. Having an employee who suits the company and is more likely to stay with you will more than pay for the costs of a well-run recruitment process.

Believing that the person will change when they come to work for you

It is important to take past actions into account when choosing whether or not to hire someone. If you notice that a prospective employee has had work patterns in the past that would be a problem for you, think seriously about whether working for you would likely change that. It is likely that, as the saying goes, old habits die hard and the chances are slim that this person will be able to avoid falling back into their old habits.

If you’re looking to avoid recruiting mistakes and to have the best possible chance of hiring the best possible person for your team, contact us for advice, ideas and practical help.