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Hiring keeps you up at night? Well, you are not the only one! Like most of Startup and SME managers, hiring is just one of your multiple hats. This is not your expertise, you probably never received proper training on how to interview, let alone on how to identify and attract A players for your teams.

Hiring is a daunting tasks for all and when it is not your core role, the business pressure to get someone in quickly may result in hiring the wrong person… and that’s when the nightmare begins!

The costs of a bad hire can be devastating (see the Real Cost of a Bad Hire). It’s not just the wasted time, money and energy, but a bad hire can have a demoralizing effect on both your current team members and the new “bad” employee when you have to let them go. Bad hire = bad fire, almost every time.

The common mistakes you need to be aware of to prevent bad hiring:


Hiring with your guts increases your chances to hire a candidate based on unconscious and biased assessment. We are all biased (due to our past work or life experiences). Do NOT base your hiring decision on whether you like the candidates and feel comfortable with them.

Be objective, do not let your first impression make the decision. Use facts and search for evidence that the candidate you are hiring is the perfect fit.

3 steps to better objectivity in your interview process:

  • Be aware and conscious of your own biases in order to counter and correct them in your candidate's assessment

  • Use behavioural and hypothetical questions, which are proven techniques used to more accurately determine the future performance or success of a candidate

  • Wait until the end of the interview to make a decision based on concrete facts. Do not jump the gun, the interview helps you collect data. The decision needs to take place after the interview, when you review your notes and write your feedback.


In your pursue to hire A players, it may be tempting to hire on the spot by fear of losing them, even if you do not have a role. No matter how brilliant is a candidate, if you do not have an open role suited for him or her, do not hire. If you do so, it will force you to change your plans, and ultimately it will lead you to set the wrong expectations and directions for your team and potentially decrease overall motivation and team morale.

Only hire for open roles. You need to hire the right people to implement your business strategy and not adapt your business plans to fit the candidates in. So evaluate your business STRATEGY and Recruitment PLANNING, and unless there is a strong business case to hire, stay in touch and keep your strong candidates warm for further headcount.


When it comes to hiring, we most often are under tremendous time pressure and end up hiring the best of the lot instead of the right candidate. Do not make a hire in fear of losing business opportunities. You will always be better off with no-one than the wrong candidate. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, hiring the wrong person for the role may lead to poor performance, lower productivity, lower employee satisfaction, bad work atmosphere, bad employer brand and higher recruiting costs.

Wait for the right hire. Use a CROSS-FUNCTIONAL INTERVIEWERS (interviewers from a different team) who may not be as biased with the pressure to hire quickly and will be able to assess the candidates more objectively and.


Do not forget to assess the culture fit of your candidates in the interview process. Even if they have the most amazing skills, the smartest employees can turn up to be unproductive and even counterproductive when in the wrong environment. You need to hire skills but also values. Make sure you set up some specific questions to assess the Culture fit of the candidates, ideally get the cross-functional interviewer to cover this through behavioral questions.

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