The 5 Most Common Mistakes Companies Make When Hiring or Acquiring New Employees

November 3, 2023

The hiring process is a critical aspect of any organization – and it is the foundation of the company’s success. It is essential to get it right. Unfortunately, many businesses make mistakes when hiring new employees or acquiring new personnel from a merger, which can lead to costly consequences.

In this blog, learn about the 5 most common mistakes companies make when bringing on new talent and how you as the employer can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not Preparing Your Team for Their New Co-Worker

One of the most common mistakes companies make is not preparing their team for their new co-worker. No one likes to be surprised, and equally, no one likes to be “forced” on other people. Your existing team is as important as the new members you acquire, and tending to both makes the difference between a strong team and high turnover. It’s important both sides are well-informed before the new hire’s first day.

How to Fix It:

Keep your team in the loop during the hiring process. If possible, invite them to meet the final two candidates one-on-one, and be part of decision-making. This way, they’ll feel more ownership over the outcome. Another useful tactic is a light, but meaningful questionnaire. Ask questions that get to the heart of the new person’s personal interests, office pet peeves, and quirks. This makes them more relatable right out of the gate. Collect the same from your team and provide this information to the new team member—it’s only fair they know what they’re coming into, too.

Mistake #2: Not Defining the Boss-Direct Report Dynamic

It’s almost impossible to fully trust someone you don’t know. In the same way you’re trusting a new hire with their responsibilities, they’re trusting you to lead them to success. You’re an especially important part of their career journey. What story do you want them to tell in the future? Do you want to be the terrible manager who taught them everything not to do or the one who showed them good management was possible?

How to Fix It:

Host a one-on-one “welcome to the company!” meeting at an offsite location (or take them out to lunch on their first day). Use this time to get to know your new hire better, and share your vision for their role in your organization. Be clear about your expectations and how you plan on supporting them in their role.

Mistake #3: Rushing Through Interviews

Interviews are an essential part of the hiring process, but many companies rush through them or don’t take them seriously enough. This can be especially true of second interviews, where many people find that they don’t have much more to ask the job candidates. All of this can lead to hiring someone who isn’t a good fit for your organization. 

How to Fix It:

Take your time with interviews and ask open-ended questions that allow candidates to share their experiences and thought processes. Use behavioral interviewing techniques that focus on past behavior as an indicator of future performance. Consider using a personality test before the second interview and make use of what you learn to inform your questions in that second interview. 

Mistake #4: Not Checking References

Checking references is an essential part of the hiring process, but many companies skip this step, or don’t take it seriously enough. This can lead to hiring someone who isn’t a good fit for your organization.

How to Fix It:

Take reference checks seriously and ask open-ended questions that allow references to share their experiences with the candidate. Ask about specific examples of how they worked with others, how they managed demanding situations, and how they responded to feedback. Describe the job they are applying for and ask them where they think the candidate may shine or struggle. 

Mistake #5: Not Offering Competitive Compensation Packages

Offering competitive compensation packages is essential if you want to attract top talent. Unfortunately, many companies don’t offer competitive salaries or benefits packages, which can lead to losing out on top candidates. The labor situation today is definitely a “seller’s market” so don’t be surprised if you find that you’re paying more for talent than you did just 3-5 years ago.

How to Fix It:

Research industry standards for salaries and benefits packages in your area and adjust your offerings accordingly. Be transparent about what you’re offering and why it’s competitive. Be sure to also point out the aspects of your company’s culture that make it a great place to work. Meaningful work and work-life balance have value to people, too.

In Conclusion

Avoiding these five common mistakes when onboarding new talent can help ensure that your organization attracts top talent and builds a strong team. By preparing your team for their new co-worker, defining the boss-direct report dynamic, taking your time with interviews, checking references, and offering competitive compensation packages, you can set yourself up for success.


Article contributed by Dr. Gary Kustis