5 Mistakes Business Leaders or Managers Make When Hiring A New Team Member

Having the right people in the right roles is critical for a team’s success. Hiring even one wrong person can have a detrimental effect on the culture and performance of a team. Advertising guru, David Ogilvy, sumed it up very well by saying, “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

There are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration when hiring a new team member. Here are five of the common mistakes business owners, leaders or managers make when hiring a new team member.

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  1. Doing most of the talking during the interview process. The first interview with a potential candidate should be about determining whether the person is a good fit for the company. The mistake made here is managers spend most of the interview process telling the candidate all about their company – what they do, the history of the company, the future direction of the company, etc.Instead the initial interview should be used to find out as much as possible about the candidate – their interests, some of their successes, challenges they’ve overcome, the experiences that have influences their career or life, etc. The second or third interview process can be used to discuss the finer details of their role and what’s expected of them.
  2. Trusting first impresssions. It is very common for candidates to present their best self during an interview and say the right things. Generally, good talkers aren’t good doers. Therefore making a hiring decision based on first impressions can be very risky. Similarly, a candidate may fumble their responses during the interview, however they could be the perfect person for the role.Just like people don’t marry someone after a first date, the same approach needs to be taken when interviewing someone. One of the best ways to challenge someone during an interview is to ask them something they aren’t expecting. It could something not related to the role or the company. One of my favourite questions to ask during an interview is, “What are three books you’ve read in the past year?” This will give you a sense of whether they’re someone who likes to learn or read for enjoyment, or someone who just is not interested in developing themself.
  3. Hiring out of desperation. With so many companies running lean, losing someone from your team can leave a big void in the operation of a business. This is especially true in small or medium-sized companies. As a result, it can be very tempting for an owner to hire someone very quickly just so they can keep their business operating efficiently.One way to buy some time is to hire temporary staff just to get some of the essential services handled while you interview for the right person. That way, the disruption to your business is minimized plus you’ll not be in a desperate situation to get someone in quickly.
  4. Hiring family members and friends. Occasionally, there are success stories where hiring a family member or friend has worked out well. However these are not very common. Hiring family members or friends are more common in start-up companies.Rather than hiring based on an existing relationship, the criteria for selection has to be the role, the culture of the business and the future direction of the business. It is better to avoid getting into a situation that could cause personal relationship issues down the track.
  5. Hiring again without conducting an exit interview. It has been said that people don’t leave a company, they leave their managers or management. Not a lot of businesses conduct exit interviews, which is very surprising. That can lead to the same mistakes being made again with a new candidate.To avoid repeating any mistakes made with the person who is leaving, it is best to find out their reasons for leaving. This will be invaluable when it comes to hiring a new person.

Team members either enhance or destroy the culture, performance and efficiency of a team. Avoiding these mistakes can save a leader or manager a lot of grief later and allow them to focus on business priorities.

Question: What are some other mistakes business leaders or managers need to be aware when hiring a new team member?

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  • Jane Ransom

    Solid advice, as usual! Thx for mentioning exit interview–soooo important, yet so few companies do it!

    • Neel Raman

      Thanks Jane for your comment. Yes, doing an exit interview will give valuable feedback and companies can avoid making similar mistakes.