There is a lot of pressure surrounding hiring. You are likely already aware of the challenges you may face  if you don’t avoid making a bad hire. The fallout can be costly. In fact, a bad hire can cost your business up to three times the hire’s salary. Not to mention the time investment, productivity and morale costs.

Here at RecruitmentJunky, we’ve put together these top tips on how you can hire the right people for your business, the first time, and reduce the risk of making a costly bad hire.


Step 1: Know what you want and what you’re offering

To get the best candidate for the role…you need to know what you’re looking for. And be very clear on it!

The job description needs to be clear and complete. Really iron out:

  • The salary and benefits
  • The key responsibilities of the role
  • Who the role reports to
  • What an average day looks like for a person in this role
  • How the role will work within the team and wider organisation

You also need to explain who you are as a company. Include your values and company mission. This will help candidates understand your company culture. Plus, you can then evaluate candidates when screening or interviewing, on how well they embody those values.

Next, think about everything that your ideal candidate for the position would have. You need to determine the necessary:

  • Technical skills and requirements 
  • Soft skills 
  • AND personality traits

In fact, soft skills and attitude play a huge part in finding people who will stay with your company for the long-run and remain productive.

No, really – a 2019 study of 20,000 new hires found that attitude drives 89% of hiring failures, while technical skills account for only 11% of hiring failures!

Basically, don’t ever just ask for “X years’ experience” in a new employee. (Any good recruiter will always need more information on your ideal hire than technical experience and sector preference too!) Really look into the nuances of the person you want to work with. This way you reduce wasting both your and the candidates’ time.

And speaking of time…


Step 2: Don’t rush!

Probably, the number one reason businesses make bad hiring decisions is because they rush everything. When you focus on hiring quickly rather than well, you’re going to make more mistakes. If you cut corners and focus on recruiting now, now, now, you’ll be unable to avoid making a bad hire – and it’ll cost you in the long run.

While hiring might feel urgent and immediate, stop and ensure you have a recruiting plan in place before you start. To tell the truth, when recruiting agencies talk about moving quickly when you’re recruiting, we actually mean it’s important to have a good recruitment process in place.

This is so candidates don’t get stuck waiting for replies or interviews, and so that your company doesn’t miss out on great candidates being poached by other recruiters. A good recruiting agency will help you develop a process to suit you and catch top talent.

We recommend that you ensure you have enough time throughout the process to:

  • Set out a clear job description, including role expectations
  • Compile key interview questions to ask your candidates
  • Do thorough background and reference checks

These are all invaluable tools to help filter out wrong candidates.

Our other top tip is to block out time in your diary for interviews and for review time. This will help you book interviews quickly, but also give time to reflect… AKA not rushing!

We promise that the right person WILL turn up at the right time.


Step 3: Involve others in the decision-making process

It’s always helpful to bring at least one other person into hiring decisions. Someone else may spot a potential issue that you might miss!

We don’t recommend having an unnecessarily long interview process, but coordinate at least one interview to be with another person in your business. It should never just be the owner or CEO conducting interviews. If you are the would-be manager of this position, invite someone in HR, your manager, or someone at a similar managerial level as you to the interview. It will help with perspective.

Your current employees are also a great starting point. Establish a referral scheme to encourage existing employees to recommend people. Employees won’t want to risk their reputation at work. So they will only recommend someone if they believe they will be successful and a good fit. Plus, it a great employee recommends someone, they likely share similar values and attitudes. 


Step 4: Look out for the danger signs to avoid making a bad hire

Now that you’re accepting applications, it’s time to get thorough. Interrogate those CVs. And listen closely in the interviews. Here are our top three signs to watch out for (and some green lights too!). 


🚩 Danger sign 1:

A poorly put together CV. Look out for role responsibilities and outcomes that do not have lots of detail, or seem vague. Be prepared to really dig into their experience if you invite the candidate to interview.

🟢 Green light 1:

A strong, detailed CV, clearly laid out, with very few (or no) grammatical errors. This shows a good level of attention to detail, which may bode well for their attention in the role. Look out for great candidates who have a proven track record at a particular company – especially if they got promoted there! It validates their work ethic and drive.

🚩 Danger sign 2:

A candidate is unprepared when coming to their first interview, knowing nothing about the company or role. It could show a lack of commitment to the role…and it’s really the bare minimum to ask of candidates.

🟢 Green light 2:

Strong candidates will have a good insight to your company, maybe even being aware of competitors, trends in the industry, or potential growth plans. They should be able to reference reasons from your job description, as to why they want the job.

🚩 Danger sign 3:

Negative talk! Is your candidate slating a current employer in the interview? (Or on their social media?) When it comes to stating their reason for wanting to leave a role, there is a difference between phrasing things positively about wanting a change, and blaming their current boss. Similarly, watch out for defensive or curt answers. While many people suffer from interview nerves, if you spot this along with other danger signs, it may show that the candidate is inflexible and closed up. This may not be a great fit if working in a team!

🟢 Green light 3:

The curious candidate. Candidates will obviously want to know about how your company and the role will provide them with a good work-life balance. But, they shouldn’t only want to find out “what’s in it for me?” in an interview! Candidates who are open, engaging and ask about how the role will develop, or job satisfaction, will show they’re committed.

Just remember that one red flag on its own, does not make a bad hire. But if you spot many danger signs, it’s time to really evaluate if they will be a good hire for you.


Step 5: Get rigorous with completing the picture

Even if you are talking to a perfect candidate on paper, it is wise to dig into their background.

Start with scouting their social media. This check can reveal negative behaviours (such as bullying or racism), and reduce you risking your brand, reputation, confidentiality and security. It is also useful to double-check if their professional social media matches their CV, such as looking at qualifications or reading testimonials on their LinkedIn.

You must do your due diligence too. Consider doing a formal background check to reveal information the candidate might not have volunteered.

Lastly – don’t skip on the references. Ask for references and then follow up on them! References are widely neglected – take them seriously.


So now you’re ready to find the perfect hire!


Overwhelmed by all of this information? Interested in finding out how we can help your company recruit great fitting employees? 

RecruitmentJunky will make sure you are hiring right for your business the first time. We save you the hassle and get a recruiting process in place that works around you. That way you can focus on growth, we’ll focus on finding perfect hires. Contact us today for help hiring top talent for your business.

Read our other blog to find out how much a bad hire can really cost you.