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5 Missteps to Avoid in Hiring Top Talent

Finding the right person for your organization can be tricky. Here are 5 missteps you can avoid so you can find your next best team member!

1. You're hiring only for talent. Sure, there are some jobs where you must come in with special training or education, but many roles are trainable with the right person. When companies are vying for talent out there, if you have the time and resources to train, you're going to wind up with greater employee engagement and more loyalty. Consider also the difference between hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills refer to the job-related knowledge and abilities that employees need to perform their job duties effectively. Soft skills, on the other hand, are the personal qualities that help employees really thrive in the workplace. For example, imagine you're hiring a plumber. Hard skills would be things like, knowledge of the inner workings of your toilet. Soft skills would be time management and customer service.

2. Looking for a "unicorn". When developing your job description, you want to strike the balance between listing the minimum skills you absolutely need the person to have, and being so specific that you don't get any applicants. Transferrable Skills is a term HR folks throw around which basically means that things an applicant has done or learned in other jobs or volunteer opportunities could help them be successful in their next role. We frequently see this with veterans transitioning back into the workforce. Maybe they were an armour in the military. An armourer works in an armoury and maintains and repairs small arms and weapons systems, with some duties resembling those of a civilian gunsmith. Perhaps you're in manufacturing, and you're hiring an assembler. Can we see how having experience mantiaining and repairing weapon systems could lend transferrable skills? Not only hard skills, but soft skills too like attention to detail.

3. Not casting a wide enough net. Like I mentioned before, being too specific in a job posting can limit your applicant pool. But not spreading your net far enough can also contribute to low applicant numbers, or the wrong kinds of applicants. How and where are you recruiting? Think outside the box - rather than just posting to Indeed (which you should still do), take advantage of social media connections, your local chamber, college career center, professional organizations in your industry, and industry specific posting sites (for example: for IT positions.)

4. Ignoring why someone might want to join (or not join) your organization. This can be a hard question because it really requires taking a critical look at your own organization, and yourself. Why would someone want to work for you, rather than go to work for your competitor? Do you pay better? Do you have benefits? Are you on a mission that someone would want to join? Do you promote a culture of growth? Are you a boss, or are you a leader? What makes you so special that someone would dedicate part of their life to your organization? See, this one is tough! Don't ignore it though.

5. Having zero process, or being too process reliant. You want to have a general process that you follow to ensure you are being fair and equitable to candidates. Post the role, fair and consistent screening, maybe you do a phone interview and an in-person or zoom interview, offer letter, preemployment background, drug screening and reference checking. But don't be too structured. An example of this - if you say you ONLY do in-person interviews, so you screen out people who are not local to you (maybe not within your state), are you doing yourself a disservice? Are you being fair and equitable to your candidates?

As always, if you need help with recruiting, or any other HR function, we're here to help!

B.Stephens, HR Consulting

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