Avoid These Catastrophic Hiring Mistakes!

Not being careful enough at recruiting can cause difficulties in collaboration and teamwork. That's the reason why many experts recommend a super-safe pre-screening, psychometric testing, and sophisticated interview and assessment techniques. But there is a dangerous flip side of the coin!

To catch the best fish, you need the best bait.

True, but be aware: Once the fish has taken the bait you need to reel in steady and with determination.

Endless voicemail tests, email questionnaires, telephone interviews (worst case: behavioural questionnaires read from a script in a monotonous voice), online tests plus assessment meetings…

Your best fish will let go of the bait and disappear.

And with some bad luck, he will tell his network about it and the name of your company gets ruined.

Avoid these hiring mistakes
Avoid these hiring mistakes
Always take a good time before you decide.

Sounds reasonable but excellent resumes are like fresh fish: If you leave them too long, they will go off.

The best candidates are never sitting on their hands. They expect swift progress from you at the same rate as you expect from them.

Always be aware that recruitment is a scarce resource-driven market. Excellent candidates are self-aware of their worth.

Whenever you should decide to use a recruitment supplier, don’t try to save money at the wrong end: Go for a smart boutique recruiter even it is more expensive.

Get references (oh that same old story again…)

Unless you have access to someone who knows the candidate in person inside out, don’t put too much weight on references.

Workplace testimonials for example in Germany are worthless as the coding is very specific and the employee can get the Labour Court to amend a testimonial in his favour. As a result, you see most upper average mediocrity even for poor performers.

Also, beware of referees: In many cases, referees are reluctant to give an honest view as they are afraid to get in trouble either with the candidate if they don’t get the job or with you if the recruit turns out to be a wasted investment.

Psychometrics (…if you really must. Is intuition dead?)

These are only useful if you have a specific concern about the team structure. You may want to know to what extent someone is emotionally intelligent, a good team player.

Or if his preference is strategic or tactical. Visionary or implementer and polisher.

But forget simple personality tests like MBTI or DISC. They are pretty useless in today’s world of business. You may even disgruntle the candidate with such a test request. “Hey, do you think I’m a complete idiot if I came this far??“

The Cardinal Mistake – To Avoid at all cost!

From today on, stop labelling people who show an interest in your company as “applicants”.

They are interested candidates and they deserve and expect to be treated like this.


Not in your wildest dreams would you dare calling a prospective investor “an applicant”, though he wants the best that you can offer in economic terms: profit, generated by your sweat.

Walter Esser

I am the founder of EuSoftSkills… Simply Smarter Coaching. An ABP Award Finalist and published author, focusing on Personal and Executive excellence.

Get in touch with me for a free exploratory call to see how executive coaching can benefit you and your business.