5 Hiring Mistakes that Startups Make While Selecting Candidates

A study conducted in 2017 showed that almost three out of four employers were affected by a bad hire. That only strengthens the fact that bringing in the wrong person for a job can have a huge impact on the business. A surprisingly high number of start-ups learn this the hard way.

Not only employers but start-up employees also figure that the job is not what they expected soon after they join in.

It is essential to understand the reasons for the misalignment. Here are a few common mistakes that are made by budding businesses when they are hiring.

1. An undefined recruitment process

Are you also one of those companies who assumes that recruitment process implies – shortlisting screening, interviewing and selecting?

No here we are talking about it from a different perspective. While you might be giving concrete data points for the recruiter to run a search and get candidates into the pipeline, are you also making the interview process clear and lucid?

Are your interviewers clear about the criteria? When you internally rate candidate on their appraisal, you provide clear guidelines to your managers on competencies. Then why not provide similar guidelines to interviewers? This can also help avoid any subliminal biases that may creep in.

Are the evaluation parameters well aligned with the seniority and job role? In a lean set-up, it is always better to look for experienced generalists who can wear multiple hats, than specialists

Structured interviews are used by 74% of HR officials globally to avoid these mistakes.

2. Not conducting proper background verification

Doing background verification on potential employees who you are about to onboard is important. This could all the more important when you are hiring for your own sales positions or for clients in case you are in the services business. You certainly don’t want to discover red flags once employees are onboarded. After all you will share critical insider information with your employees.

3. An unpleasant candidate experience

It is easy to forget that the employees on your recruitment team are also marketers for your potential employee pool. If the candidate experience is unpleasant, around 63% of candidates may reject your job offer. Ensure that your recruitment team is trained in pleasant communication and etiquette. The last thing you need is word going around that your company is not a pleasant place to work at – 72% of job seekers tell other people about their candidate experiences.

4. Not setting up a system early on

What you don’t measure, you can’t manage! In fact, if you don’t get into the track-measure-improve loop you are making the same mistake that tons of start-ups make.

Put systems in place so that you can always take a look at the critical data. In the absence of data, scaling is a challenge. You will only delay your growth if you don’t have system to read your own data understand trends and patterns. 

5. Hiring too many people with just specialized skills

The success of your business relies on a small team that can do more with the same resources. Hiring individuals with a wider talent base – for example, someone who has marketing, writing, and graphic designing proficiency, is better for the growth of your team than three separate individuals. People who have the ability to be versatile tend to be more creative and will boost the growth of your company.


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