The hiring mistakes that fuel staff turnover

The ability to hire the right staff can make or break an entire operation. Consider this: the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) estimates staff turnover costs businesses up to $20 billion a year in Australia and it has also been predicted that as much as 80% of staff turnover is due to bad hiring decisions.

Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when looking to recruit new employees to your business:

1. Hiring for skills, rather than attitude: You can’t train enthusiasm, work ethic or interpersonal skills. Skills, on the other hand, can easily be transferred relatively easily from experienced to non experienced staff.

2. Making promises you can’t keep: Know ahead of time what you can and can’t offer a candidate. Promising the wrong thing or making a promise you can’t fulfill can have massive implications in a few months’ time.

3. Expecting too much: Many employers think the best way to find a candidate is having an exhaustive list of qualifications. This can lead to finding a candidate with generalist experience, as opposed to someone with very developed skills in key areas.

4. Rushing the hiring process: There is always a rush to fill vacant positions, this can lead to the candidate being vetted poorly. To avoid this, make sure to set a realistic time frame on the hiring process.

5. Spending too much interview time talking: A job is about doing, not talking. Instead of sitting down and talking for hours, consider taking the candidate on a quick tour and getting them hands on to see how they work.

6. Hiring your own image: It’s natural that you might want to work with people similar to yourself, but take a moment to consider if that’s the best thing for your business. Quite often, a team with a variety of personality types will have a greater success rate than one ruled by like-mindedness. Numerous studies have demonstrated that diversity leads to better decision making and financial outcomes. Customer bases are more diverse than ever, so it makes sense to hire employees with different experiences and backgrounds to best meet the changing needs and expectations of the customers you serve.

7. Not being clear about what you want: Until you have written a clear job description of what you want, you shouldn’t even consider starting to hire. A good place to start is considering purpose, duties, qualifications and next steps.

8. Offering someone the job on the spot: Whilst tempting, it is nearly always better to walk away and think about how the interview went. This reduces the likelihood of intuition hiring and makes the process more objective and reliable. Having a clearly defined interview process will also improve hiring efficiency. Setting hiring requirements and objectives in advance will ensure each candidate is being provided with the same information and opportunity and make it easier to make an objective decision.

9. Failing to fully prep a candidate for the interview: Some people think fast on their feet and don’t need much preparation. Others prefer to take their time preparing for situations. If you want to enable all candidates with the opportunity to shine, make sure they are all prepped when coming into the interview.

10. Not performing adequate background checks: False resumes, fraud degrees and exaggerated technical skills are not uncommon in the business word. Failure to complete adequate background checks could not only land you the wrong candidate, but also tarnish your company’s image.

11. Hiring a sales team too early: Many business owners think that their business will rise or fall based on the ability to get customers. This leads them to hires a sale team very early to accomplish this – often before the product is entirely ready.

12. Hiring before determining why the last person left: Possibly the most overlooked hiring mistake. Before you hire someone new it’s important to work out why the last person left. The previous employee might not have been a good fit or the job requirements simply might be ill-aligned to the available skill sets and experience levels. Internally reviewing the job requirements and evaluating the skills suited to meet them is a good way to find out if it’s likely to be a persistent problem. Otherwise, you may experience the same issue with the next candidate.

The bottom line

It is a common misconception that it is solely up to the candidate to prepare for the interview. Effective hiring is grounded on the ability of the interviewer to ask questions that elicit informed facts and information, rather than just opinions from the candidate and to accurately compare the qualities of multiple candidates.

Learning how to make better hiring decisions will save your business valuable time and money and ensure you have the team to take your brand to the next level.

About the author

Andrew Joyce is the co-founder of Found Careers, a jobs platform designed ‘from the ground up’ to help young people and employers complete the entire hiring process on a smartphone.