How to avoid some really dumb hiring mistakes while in a startup


One of the key qualities expected of the leadership in any organization is the ability to make the right hires. A giant company like Yahoo may be able to afford to switch CEOs every other month, but it is a critical exercise for a startup or small business with 10 or so employees. Even a single hire gone wrong can badly screw the pooch, so to speak.Below are some of the hiring mistakes employers often make, along with suggestions for avoiding such pitfalls.

The most common mistake is an inaccurate or incomplete job description

If you don’t properly explain what the new employee is supposed to do, it reduces the chances of getting applications from candidates that are ideally suited for the job. The solution is simple – Take the trouble to provide a detailed job description. Employers may also solve this problem by offering higher wages and better benefits to lure employees already doing the exact same job for a competitor.

Focus more on branding to get more eyeballs rolling on your offer

On a related note, the hiring process is not just about employees angling for a job, but also about the employer hoping to snag a valuable employee. In order to attract the best talent, a company must sell itself as a brand that offers good career prospects and the chance to contribute and learn while being a part of an exciting growth phase.


Balanced exchange interviews with one core team member engaged therein

This calls for a balanced exchange during interviews, which must be structured as a conversation rather than a pop quiz.  Many companies leave most of the spade work to the HR people, with departmental heads coming into the picture only for a single final interview. It would be much more beneficial to include at least one key person from the department in question right from the start, so that high-potential candidates can be identified by those who recognize the significance of what they see on a resume or CV. By the same token, phone interviews or web chats conducted by an industry professional in the same department can easily cull out the inflated resumes.

Work on the timing of the interview

Another thing that often trips up the hiring process is the timing. Initiating the process without being in a position to invite the chosen candidate to start work immediately is a big mistake. Candidates left hanging will start looking elsewhere and the entire effort could be wasted. The solution – Do not put out an ad until you are ready to put the new hire to work.

Job adverts might just not be right for your startup

Speaking of ads, it’s not always helpful to cast a wide net every time. In fact, it’s much more beneficial for team morale and employee retention levels to promote internally. Startups that don’t have this luxury should ask existing employees for referrals, which would ensure the new hires would have at least some past association with team members.

Following some of these suggestions may seem like a waste of valuable resources at first, but it will pay off quickly if the new hire fits in like a duck takes to water.

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