Most Common - and Expensive - Hiring Mistakes

by Freya Scammells

What Are the Must Have Personality Traits you Look for When Hiring?


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14 OCTOBER, 2021

Have you made expensive hiring mistakes lately?
It is probably because you forgot to ask these questions
before you started looking!

If you've ever been in charge of hiring new staff, especially for senior positions, you’ve most certainly had this experience.

Square Peg... Round Hole... Does this ring a bell?
Your recruiter works for a month to compile a fantastic applicant shortlist.
You and two or three additional decision-makers meet and interview the applicants for a few days.
Each candidate is clever, experienced, and talented in some way. 

However... You and the other stakeholders can't seem to come to an agreement on who should be at the top of the pile. Candidates A and C are candidates you like, but your colleagues don't think they're right for reasons they can't explain. Candidates B and D are popular among your coworkers, but you feel they aren't the best match for the job and will depart in six months. 

As a result... You've decided to discard the entire selection.

Your hiring campaign is probably over now. Your time and money spent reviewing resumes and conducting interviews wasted because the position remains vacant. 
You're peeved! And believe me when I tell you...
Your recruiter is unsatisfied, as are the prospects who aren't sure why they didn't get the job.

This is where you (and your recruiter) made a mistake...


🔍 What are you looking for specifically?

Let’s assume, for argument's sake, you're a football team owner looking to fill a vital position.
You talk with your top scout and request that they locate a fantastic player for no more than £30 million and a weekly pay of no more than £25,000.

Before delivering you a complete list of top possibilities, your scout spends a month investigating the market.  However, you are disappointed to learn that they are all strikers at a time when you need a defender.

Oops! That was crucial information for your scout to know. To be fair, he should have requested this information. In reality, he needed to know that you were seeking for a defender who can carry the ball, cover numerous midfield and defensive positions as needed, and has the social and leadership qualities to coach some of the younger players.

This is a common blunder made by both employers and candidates.
They concentrate on the abilities and experience required for the position, but they forget to ask the most important question.

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🔍 What personality characteristics and behaviours are we looking for?

Before a recruiter starts looking for prospects for you, this is one of the most important things to bare-in-mind. A behavioural job survey is the best path forward, because this is not always a straightforward problem to solve.

This not only helps the recruiter narrow down the best candidates, but it also helps you and your coworkers understand what you're looking for. It's highly uncommon, in my experience, to do a job survey and discover that decision-makers have completely opposing views on what is necessary. 

I’ve found that's probably because the most important question, regarding personality and behaviour, wasn't asked and answered first.

Here at Reflection X we don't make this type of mistakes.
We don’t settle for anything less than a comprehensive approach.

Our X-Talent Method combines multiple layers of evidence-based candidate assessments - in other words, we help employers making more informed hiring decisions.

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About the Author

Freya supports the tech talent toolbox arm of Reflection X where she is coaching technologists to achieve their full potential. With over 10 years of experience within the Tech and AI recruitment space, she has been from working closely with thousands individuals and leaders during hiring processes while partnering with very early stage start-ups all the way to some of the top AI Labs in the world.

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