31 March 2021

5 silly mistakes we all tend to make in the hiring process & how to avoid them

Every single one of us has made silly mistakes. Whether we like it or not, that’s just the way it is. We make these mistakes and then, hopefully, we learn from them. Pretty normal human behavior if you ask me. What happens if mistakes are commonly (and often continuously) made within the hiring process?

After reading this blog, you will know what are the five most silly mistakes we all tend to make in the hiring process, and some tips on how these mistakes can be easily avoided.


The 5 most silly mistakes in hiring

Mistakes made throughout the hiring process can not only end up being extremely costly, but we also tend to make them more than once. There are ways to avoid making the same mistakes twice – at least when it comes to hiring. Let me tell you about the 5 most common mistakes people making during the hiring process and share some advice on how to avoid making these mistakes twice!

Mistake 1. Making first impressions based on CVs

Much attention is still wrongfully placed upon CVs when it comes to making hiring decisions (and this is why we removed CV’s from the hiring process). In fact, in one of our webinars, we asked a question to the attendees – “Should CVs be an essential part of the hiring process?”. 92% of the attendees agreed that the CV should not be a mandatory part of the hiring process. 92%! And that’s because CVs can easily provide you with misleading or inconsistent insights about candidates. Or even lack information that you are specifically looking for in general. Minus the formal education qualifications and work experience, there is so much more that an individual can bring to the table. How can you tell who someone is by looking at a piece of paper?

Making first impressions based on CVs can be dangerous in a threefold way:

  • Not seeing potential of the candidate and their ambitions for the future
  • You risk not recruiting candidates of diverse backgrounds, as CVs allow for much more bias. (Read our blog about 5 mistakes in diversity recruiting and how to avoid them)
  • You risk making hiring decisions that are based on positive discrimination. (e.g. hiring someone for their age, race, etc. just because that is what “diversity” means)

The best way to avoid this is by completely erasing CVs from the selection procedure. However, I can understand that that might feel as a step that’s too big to take at once. As an alternative to that, you can also implement methods that allow you to collect more than just a resume at the start of the funnel. We do so by offering our customers neuroscientific assessments as a part of the candidate’s job application. A free alternative could also be to ask a smarter set of questions that are more focused on behaviors, rather than accomplishments. 

Mistake 2. Resisting or fearing technology

Circumstances in the work field will be subject to technological change even more so than at this very moment. And change requires the ability to adapt. This ability to adapt is absolutely crucial for the success of your teams and your business as a whole. Most companies already work with tools that make their lives easier – ATS, internal communication tooling, and the list goes on. Most of these tools are used as means of making processes easier or optimizing them. 

When it comes to using technology based assessment tools, the biggest challenge is to learn to trust the fact that AI-driven algorithms are capable of outperforming human judgement when making people decisions. This can require a big change in one’s mindset. As we all know – mindsets are often not so easy to change. Yet, technology is there to help you make the hiring process easier, less time-consuming and more insightful. Soft and behavioral skills are the number one predictor of success in terms of performance. However, insights on these cannot be so easily gathered by using traditional assessment tools. 

So, how is it possible to gather such crucial insights? By using technology! Gaining crucial insights and removing bias from the hiring funnel doesn’t mean you need to remove the humans that are part of this process too. Tech serves as an aid in that first part of the hiring funnel and using assessments based on AI can help you remove bias, and also gather more objective insights about the candidates . After all, let’s be honest, digging through a mountain of CVs in hopes to find the perfect candidate is a slightly prehistoric way of doing things. And it also doesn’t give you as much insight into who someone is as a person.

Mistake 3. Freestyling interviews

Bias is inherently human nature. Even if you manage to avoid bias during the first process of applicant selection, it is still a risk they’ll creep in through the interview process. Freestyling an applicant interview can be one of the biggest mistakes. Here’s the three reasons why:

  • Asking too many closed questions, rather than open questions, can result in inhibiting candidates from expressing their personality and potential.
  • You won’t have the same insights from all candidates who you interviewed, which makes it hard to compare candidates.
  • You can easily end up asking favorable questions as a result of your unconscious bias.

An easy fix to these problems is creating a structured approach to the interviewing process into your recruitment policy. If you’re curious as to how, check out our blog on how interviews can actually help you eliminate personal bias.

Mistake 4. Failing to follow up with applicants

I’m sure that at one point or another, you have been in a situation where you’ve anxiously waited for a response when applying for a job. I am even more certain that there have been times when you have received no response at all from the hiring manager or recruiter. In fact, this is probably one of the biggest complaints job seekers tend to bring up.

A big complaint that is, actually, quite an easy fix. My advice to you is to follow up with each person, even if that applicant is not going to proceed to the second stage of the hiring process. Not doing so can be very damaging for your employer branding. After all, applicants do talk to each other about their experiences.

Mistake 5. Mistakenly hire people that remind you of yourself

To save the worst for last – we tend to hire people similar to us. In theory, it doesn’t sound that bad, right? Why wouldn’t we hire someone who we get along with well and someone we share common interests with? Let me stop right there. By far, I think this might be the most silly mistake of them all.

This is where unconscious bias toward applicants who have a similar personality and/or interests, influence your opinion more than you think. It’s totally normal to look for these similarities in everyone you meet. After all it just makes us all feel safer and more comfortable to be around these people.

But, the real danger of these bias creeping in during the hiring process is that you will unconsciously mistaken these similarities with the suitability a candidate has for a job position. What does this result in? Picking the wrong people for the wrong positions, and eventually slowing down the growth of your company. Something that is especially risky for scaleups. Sure everyone wants to work together with people they like and can see themselves having a beer outside of the work environment. Yet, hiring an applicant just because you enjoyed the chat you had, ignores the more important aspects – the need for particular skills and behaviors. So, in a few words – do not rely on your gut feeling! It is misleading and heavily influenced by bias. 

To conclude

I hope this blog in which I outlined the 5 most silly hiring mistakes, provides you with some food for thought and helps you to become more aware of what your hiring process is like. After all, when striving towards successful teams and growing your business, it is important to make sure your hiring process is as efficient and thorough as possible. 

Cheers, Anete