How to Avoid Hiring Mistakes

It’s difficult to avoid emotional involvement when scoping out potential hires, but author and sales consultant Troy Harrison says it’s essential to keep a clear head. “Hiring managers are bad at keeping their distance from candidates,” he says, pointing to a statistic from the Society for Human Resources Management, which found that 63% of all hiring decisions are made in the first five minutes. “That decision can be summed up as, ‘I like this person,’” adds Harrison, the author of Sell Like You Mean It.

Put your personal feelings aside, and make sure you don’t fall for these common hiring mistakes, he says:

The bad resume. Resumes with misspellings, grammatical errors and other mistakes show a lack of attention to detail. Don’t even bother with an interview, Harrison says. “If the candidate can’t be detail-oriented here, why would they be when dealing with your customers?” he adds.

Lateness. How many times have you heard excuses about “tough traffic” when a candidate comes in late? Most people are inclined to cut some slack, but if the candidate isn’t able to make it to the interview on time, how likely are they to be prompt and efficient once on the job? “My philosophy is that the interview begins at the appointed time, whether the candidate is there or not – and an interview of one isn’t much of an interview,” Harrison says.

No mental presence. Harrison believes there’s an overall declining standard for jobseekers. He advises hiring managers not to buy into the idea that you can’t expect the same preparation and presence of mind as in years past.

Lack of preparation. Candidates should have a copy of their resume, plus demonstrate a rudimentary understanding of your company when they come in for an interview. “Showing up empty-handed and empty-headed should be a quick ticket to a 10-minute interview,” Harrison says.

Bad presentation. Evaluate a candidate in light of the potential impression they’ll make on others. Do they look the part, have good hygiene and body language? Do they put off any offensive smells? “Laugh if you like, but when you interview someone who either smells like smoke, liquor or has marinated in their choice of cologne, remember that your customer will make their own judgments – and they won’t be so kind,” Harrison says.