3 Massive Mistakes Hiring Managers Make, that is Your Fault

4 min read

This article is targeted at hiring managers and candidates alike. There is some crucial information that hiring managers need to gather from each candidate to make the best hiring decision for all concerned. However, this starts with the candidates. The candidates need to supply relevant information. Thus, at least three mistakes hiring managers make are your (candidate's) fault. The root problem is that hiring managers often overlook important clues in selecting the right talent to hire.

The damage from making hiring mistakes is significant and widespread. A low-quality hire can ruin a hiring manager's reputation. A good reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy. The manager could dismiss the poorly performing employee. Such dismissal could take years for the failed employee to overcome. If an executive search firm is involved, they are usually required to redo the search process for free. This action wastes valuable time, 3 to 6 months, and money for the search firm. So, all of the stakeholders lose on a lousy hire.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hire is up to 30% of the employees' first-year earnings. Career Builder reports that 74% of companies who admit they have hired the wrong person for a position lost an average of USD 14,900.00 for each bad hire.

For example, job titles vary by organization and industry. This job title variation makes comparing one candidate from another challenging. Secondly, candidates' method in describing their professional experiences differs wildly from one person to another. Some candidates represent their company's products. Other individuals might tell what their department delivers or their sales figures. And finally, the job applicants' achievements are either missing or not communicated clearly.

Job Titles:

A job title means a lot inside the company. The definition, clout, and execution of the individual with that title are easily known and recognized within the company. It is what the employee does daily. However, the same job title can vary from company to company and within industries.

There are standard definitions for jobs detailed in the Standard Occupational Classification System of the U.S. Government, but few adhere to these definitions. However, within the same industry, the requirements for each job title may vary.

For example, a designer working for a top athletic footwear brand would usually have an industrial design background. These designers sketch a design on paper or the computer with a 3-D level of detail. The designers can transfer these designs onto a blueprint for producing a mold for manufacturing. On the other hand, some designers within this industry are graphic designers. These designers usually have excellent I.T. skills, especially with design and photo-editing software. They work on communicating a client's story, brand, and ideas.

It should be evident why having an accurate job description, and hiring to that description is essential. It is fatal to judge a candidate only on their job title. Even if the job title is within the same industry, do not assume the deliverable are equal. So, what should one do?

When interviewing, screening, or selecting a proper candidate, one should dig deep into the candidate's experience. Ask specific questions to gain accurate and sure knowledge of the candidate's abilities. Ask open-ended questions that require full sentence responses. Ask specifically what the candidate does or did in a specific role. Ask them to spell out what they do in detail and ask for examples.

Describing Professional Experiences

The apparent cluesin evaluating a potential hire are the key factors the individual has put into practice to succeed. In human resources lingo, we often refer to this as a skill set. One should look for these under the heading of each of their positions on their resume.

Why should we ask for clarity in this area? We have already established that judging one on job title alone is not sufficient. Evaluating only the description of their experience under the job title can also be lacking and difficult to appreciate the candidate fully. There is always more to a candidate than what is documented on their resume. Search for what's missing. Candidates, let the hiring manager know if they have missed something important about your career.

For example, we might look at a finance manager's resume and surmise that they are good with numbers. What we might not see are the leader's internal and external communication skills. Or it might not be clear about their leadership skills.

So, what should we do? We should ask more open-ended questions to learn more. For example, has she led a team of people effectively? If so, give me an example of when you did so? How many people have you led? What were their responsibilities? How would you describe your leadership style? Can you give me an example where your leadership style was influential in solving a problem? By digging deeper, you will determine better just what this candidate knows and can do.


Finally, we come to achievements. One of the most critical questions that I always ask of candidates is to please describe their most significant accomplishment. Why is this an important question to ask?

Not knowing how a candidate succeeds will cause a manager to make a hiring mistake, and it will be your fault. Candidates are sometimes reluctant to talk about their achievements. They do not want to come across as bragging.  However, it is imperative to know how they succeed. This revelation speaks volumes about a person.

If the candidate describes an achievement to a hiring manager, she can then ask the following questions. What was the most significant thing about your achievement? Perhaps there was more than one crucial factor in that achievement, which is usually right. Also, tell me specifically how you made that achievement? What did you do precisely? This response will uncover their skill sets. Maybe they have communicated, planned, spearheaded during this achievement. Did they do it alone or with the help of a team?

To avoid the 3 Massive Mistakes Hiring Managers Make, that is Your Fault, consider the three tips that I have shared. In summary, be prepared to detail what you did under each job title on your resume. Don't be afraid to brag and boast but don't embellish. The truth is all that is required. Also, describe your experiences in a logical specific language that is easy to understand. Remember, often, the people interviewing you know less about your job function than you do. Spell out your experiences. Finally, think through and write about your achievements with a minimum number of words with clarity. The interviewer should be able to recall what your achievement was, how you did it, and your achievement results. That is on you. You will not get credit for all your hard work and accomplishments if they are not recognized and understood. I hope that you have found this article helpful.

Posted on January 8, 2021
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