May 17, 2021

13 Common Hiring Manager Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers!

Today’s Question: What’s a common faux pas you see hiring managers committing during the hiring process, and what should they be doing instead?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.


1. Being Too Rigid With Selection Criteria

Some recruiting managers are too rigid with their selection criteria. I believe a more flexible hiring process produces better results. Rather than always hiring people from the same background, try to branch out to bring a variety of backgrounds, capabilities, and skills to your staff. This can help build a much stronger team. — Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

2. Treating Every Candidate the Same Way

People are diverse; each of your candidates took a different path that led them to apply for the job, and you should be aware of that. Sort your applicants into categories so you can bucket questions for similar resumes. An example: Don’t ask someone with 20 years of experience a brainteaser; don’t ask a new college graduate to detail the supply chain ecosystem of the entire industry. — Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

3. Not Providing a Clear Job Description

Some hiring managers aren’t able to provide clear job descriptions to their potential hires. When a candidate applies for a job, they want to know what their day at work will be like and how their success will be measured. It’s vital that hiring managers are capable of offering a clear picture of the responsibilities. Otherwise, they might lose a talented candidate. — Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

4. Not Listening to Candidates

Hiring managers tend to be legalistic in asking their questions, to the point that interviews often become about hearing what the hiring manager wants to hear instead of really listening to what a candidate is saying. It is when we listen well that we learn whether a person is actually a perfect fit for the company. — Daisy Jing, Banish

5. Using the Same Questions for Every Interview

In the digital age, it is common for people to publicly share the questions they were asked during an interview. Take the time to create unique questions for each role and each candidate. I like to spend time reviewing each applicant’s resume to identify specific questions or topics I should bring up in their interview. — Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

6. Asking ‘Magical’ Questions

Hiring managers love to ask unique, playful questions like, “If you were an animal, what would you be?” They insist these questions give them special insight into a candidate. Really, what managers need is a hiring system with consistent interview questions that produce measurable answers offering genuine insight into a candidate’s daily performance and output. — Robert Glazer, Acceleration Partners

7. Ghosting Candidates You Don’t Hire

I have heard of hiring managers who simply don’t follow up with candidates after they decide not to hire them. I think this is incredibly disrespectful to the candidate. We expect our hiring managers to respond to all applicants and give them updates throughout the process in a very timely manner. — Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.

8. Being Dishonest or Avoiding Questions

One important tip for hiring managers: Don’t dance around questions. If someone is applying for a job, transparency will help them decide whether your company is a good fit. I’ve encountered hiring managers who mislead employees about their pay and how many hours they would get a week by deceptively avoiding their questions. Be honest if you want to avoid this blunder. — John Turner, SeedProd LLC

9. Being Unprepared for the Interview

I’ve heard embarrassing stories of unprepared hiring managers bringing the wrong candidate’s resume to an interview. Then they start the interview by calling the candidate by the wrong name. This oversight reflects poorly on the company and gives candidates the wrong impression. Hiring managers should research their candidates and prepare for a welcoming and personalized conversation with them. — Shaun Conrad, Guitar Repair Bench Online Lessons

10. Having Bad Manners During the Interview

Not making eye contact, making rude comments, and being late are all ways to make a bad impression on a potential hire. This can easily turn the candidate off from accepting the position if they end up being an excellent choice. — Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

11. Repeatedly Rescheduling Interviews

One of the issues we have seen repeatedly is the rescheduling of interviews. Many hiring managers are not respectful of others’ time, and that demoralizes the candidates. They lose interest in the job after that. Hiring managers should be careful with their calendars. Don’t reschedule more than once. — Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

12. Getting Too Many Team Members Involved

When a company brings 10 team members to one interview, it can be overwhelming for the candidate. I find that having a candidate meet with one team member at a time for 10 minutes is the most effective hiring strategy. They don’t need to meet the finance department and mail clerk. Be cognizant of your and the candidate’s time during the process. — Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

13. Focusing Solely on Work Experience

When hiring managers focus solely on work experience and overlook the traits of the person they are hiring, they are making a mistake. I’ve seen this happen to companies in our industry. While work experience matters, a new hire’s personality can also have an impact on your business. I suggest asking casual questions during the interview to get a feel for an applicant’s personality. — Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights


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