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Hiring is a big investment for any organization and one that can only reap rewards where the right decisions are being made. Recent statistics show that businesses are failing to make the right hires for two out of five roles, creating a wealth of additional costs and disruption to teams and culture. The first step to avoiding this situation is re-evaluating the hiring process to make sure your business isn’t making the most common mistakes.

An out of date or incorrect job description. It’s easy for the wrong job description to go out, for example if there’s been an internal change or new qualifications are now required and updates haven’t been implemented. To make sure you don’t fall into this trap job descriptions should be reviewed for every new hire, including by HR and hiring managers. Make sure the job description is specific about skills, salary range and reporting structure and use diverse and inclusive language so that talented people aren’t put off by evidence of bias.

Avoiding background checks. These can seem like a tick box exercise but background checks are crucial to ensure you’re clear on who you’re interviewing. This can include ex-employer references and a review of the candidate’s social media profiles.

No timeline for the process. It’s very difficult to keep your recruitment process on track if you haven’t created a deadline and applicants can be put off if the process is vague or has been open for too long. So, decide on the closing date for applications and then remove any advertising – make the timeline clear to candidates and also all those within the business who are going to be involved.

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Poor communication. It’s a big mistake to assume that candidates are only making one application – to your business – or that you don’t have to keep talking to them once an offer has been accepted. Candidates expect positive communication from employers and will take this into account when deciding where to go. Plus, staying in contact in the run up to their start date is a great way to generate excitement and answer any questions they might have.

Inadequate interviews. Candidates spend around three hours preparing for their interview, on average, while hiring managers barely manage one. This preparation can be a crucial factor in how well the interview goes and how clearly the candidate is seen. Part of this is having a good knowledge of the candidate’s CV and being ready to ask questions about missing work experience or other potential red flags. Great questions can also make or break an interview – asking open ended questions will give the candidate more opportunity to reveal themselves so avoid questions with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer where possible. Something like ‘tell me about yourself’ can be a great ice breaker.

Confusion over responsibility. It’s essential to define in advance who is going to be making decisions when it comes to picking candidates so that there is clear responsibility and no confusion over who needs to be involved. A hiring manager, member of HR and someone with experience of the role being interviewed for will all be essential on the hiring panel. Make sure that who will make the final decision has been clearly defined.

Hiring mistakes can be costly and time consuming but there are some very simple ways to avoid them.