9 bad hiring practices you need to change today

Workforce Management
JC Cornell

By JC Cornell
December 7, 2022

November 29, 2023

0 min read

Bad hiring practices have a habit of slipping into the system while everyone is busy getting their job done. And the consequences are more far-reaching than you may think.

Not only does it create a bad impression of your company with potential hires, but there are extensive costs involved along the way. Here are a few ways to fix a broken system to improve your hiring process.

Bad hiring practices to avoid

#1: Failing to re-assessing a role

Every time an employee leaves, a company should re-evaluate the open position and make any necessary changes. Look at the tasks that are no longer relevant, delegate responsibilities that should lie with someone else, and add details to the job.

If you have ever considered taking this position in another direction, now is the time. Don't wait until you have a new employee in this role before making changes to the job.

#2: Badly written job ads with irrelevant requirements

Take some time to rewrite the job description – don't just recycle old job ads. You need to make sure that it is concise, appealing, and accurate. It should clearly outline the skills and needs the job will entail.

Be concise. Make it thoughtful and descriptive; don't list every task that the person may ever perform. A detailed job description should help reduce the number of irrelevant resumes you receive through confetti job applications.

Leave only essential requirements in the posting. If you do not need a Doctorate to perform this role, don't make it mandatory.

Ensure that you leave only the key descriptors in to draw the right attention while not discouraging candidates from various industries.

#3: Forgetting to ensure job descriptions are gender-neutral

Small changes can make a significant impact on hiring practices. Building "blind hiring" or gender-equal interviewing requirements into all recruitment practices goes a long way to make sure that all qualified candidates get considered.

Small details in job descriptions may be sending subtle messages indicating what gender recruiters imagine for a role. Using tools like Textio can help craft gender-neutral job descriptions that are inclusive.

Do you know if your hiring practices are equitable to give candidates a fair shot regardless of gender? If not, it's time to do some investigations.

#4: Not including a salary range for a role 

Every job has a salary range; there is no need to be coy about it. Be upfront during telephone interviews/pre-screens, or state the salary range in the job description. You will save yourself and the candidate's time.

Benchmarking salary ranges also has the benefit of reducing salary resentment between co-workers.

#5: Ignoring internal candidates

Your current employees are your greatest asset. They are already trained in your systems and are familiar with your products. Whenever possible, look to promote from within first.

Make sure open positions are advertised internally before opening them to external candidates. Give your best and brightest a chance to shine in a more challenging role. No employee likes being passed over for a position they are qualified for but didn't know was available.

The benefits of doing this are two-fold: Backfilling a junior role is always easier than filling a more senior one. And promoting from within creates a positive work environment where employees feel they have room to grow their careers.

#6: Your interview practices are outdated

Interviews should be conversations. Your potential employees are not on trial – don't interrogate them.

Without a good discussion, you will never get to know a candidate's real personality. This means going off-script to get them to truly open up about what they are looking for in their next role and to get them excited about this opportunity.

Stop asking trick questions like, "A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say, and why is he here?" As humorous as that is, does it help you understand the person you're interviewing?

Try to eliminate questions that allow unconscious bias into your decision-making. Remove the useless questions that resulted in your last bad hire. Get rid of the robotic script and start having real conversations, like real people trying to find out if they can work together.

Finally, always be on time for your interviews. You set an incredibly poor example when you are late. As a hiring manager, how can you ever insist on punctuality if a candidate's first impression of you doesn't reflect that expectation?

#7: Neglecting to check that interviewers know how to interview

We worry that managers don't know how to manage, so we train them to be great managers. We recognise that managing is not an innate skill. But for some reason, we assume that anyone can conduct a successful interview.

Interviewers also need training. Not only to make sure they are asking relevant questions but to ensure they are not asking inappropriate ones.

Have your HR team sit with interviewers regularly to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Practise mock interviewing. It presents an excellent opportunity to fix any arrogant interviewer attitudes and encourages dialogue between HR and line managers.

#8: Never getting back to candidates after interviews

Respect goes both ways. If you cannot respect your potential employees' time during the interview process, how can you expect their respect if they get hired?

Let them know the next steps before they even leave the interview. If you get delayed making a hiring decision – let your candidates know what happened and when they will hear from you.

When you finally make your selection, thank all the candidates who applied, and let them know you've hired someone else. It may be a time-consuming task, but it's an easy way to ensure your company has an excellent market reputation.

#9: Not checking references after making a job offer

Reference checks should be considered a critical part of the interview process. It is the lazy interviewer who forgets to check them before an offer goes out.

References are your final verification of a candidate's past job performance. It would be unprofessional if you revoke an offer because of something you discover later in a reference check.

Summing up

None of this is rocket science, and yet bad hiring practices can be found in nearly every level of organisations.

The hiring process is already long and involved; bad hiring practices make keeping the right candidate engaged even harder.

By fixing a flawed hiring process, you can vastly impact the quality of hires made and improve the experience for future and current employees.

Searching for talented professionals to join your team?

If you are looking to fill open roles with qualified candidates who are a good fit and will be long-term assets, connect with one of us today!

Let's work together to make your company the success it should be.

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