“Get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus.” – Jim Collins

I recently had the pleasure of joining Jim Collin’s virtual workshop on What Makes Great Companies Tick During Uncertain Times. Jim shared 10 questions that companies need to ask, in order to thrive in uncertainty, and I applauded from a distance when he reiterated that the number one question is always “Who?”! As in, who is on your team to help you lead the organization toward success?

According to Topgrading™, the world’s #1 hiring method, most companies using traditional hiring and interviewing methods, average only 25% A-Players, 50% B-Players, and 25% C-Players.

If up to 75% of your team are not A-Players and struggling or unable to achieve their goals, you are wasting serious time and money – and causing unnecessary stress, throughout the organization.

Getting the right “who’s”, begins before and during the hiring process.

Top 6 Hiring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

[1] Not investing in interview training programs that result in at least 75% hiring success for all hiring managers.

It’s important to note that traditional hiring methods, in particular, most traditional interview approaches, average only a 25% A-Player success rate. Too often, I see Hiring Managers left on their own to figure out how to conduct an interview and/or hiring teams that do not measure the success of their hiring decisions.

Two ways to start improving today:

  • Make a commitment to ensure all interviews are conducted by two colleagues together. An interview partner to help ask questions and get to know your candidate will immediately increase your hiring success by allowing more discussion and comparison of findings. Two heads are better than one when it comes to analyzing a candidate’s fit and ensuring an A-Player fit for the role.
  • Follow the basic question sets below to gain more factual insights from the candidate.

[2] Using vague, outdated, thrown-together and incomplete job descriptions to recruit for positions.

When was the last time you approved a job description in your company? Have you seen the job descriptions in your company? When were they last updated?

I find that most people do not enjoy writing job specs or scorecards. I get it! Nonetheless, a lack of clarity about the purpose and expected outcomes for the role is one of the top mistakes hiring managers make.

  • Before rushing off to recruit, take at least 30 to 60 minutes, with the hiring manager, to outline what success looks like and how to measure it for each position. Be sure to refer to this outline when assessing your candidates, post interview.

[3] Poorly conducted Interviews.

Please start observing more of your team’s interviews to watch for two of the most common mistakes:

  • Interviewers doing all the talking. The candidate should talk 90% of the time while Interviewers listen carefully and dive deep for examples and data points that back up the candidate’s experience.
  • Use of hypothetical questions, such as “What would you do if…?” Hypothetical or behavior-based interviews are fairly easy for most candidates to pass, especially those with plenty of interview practice. Instead, ask specific, fact-based questions about the candidate’s real experience, such as:
    • Which month/year did you join the company?
    • What was your first position and how long did you stay in the role?
    • What did you like the most about that position/company?
    • What do you like the least about that position/company?
    • What was your biggest accomplishment in that job?
    • And how about your biggest challenge?
    • Who was your manager in that role and, when I talk with him or her, what will he/she tell me about your strengths and weaknesses?

[4] Basing hiring decisions primarily on resume content.

Many resumes you receive are riddled with false information. Rely on your interview skills to discern the facts and use the resume only as a reference for your screening or Topgrading interviews.

[5] Not conducting thorough reference checks.

I’m continually surprised that many organizations do not conduct proper reference calls with three or four previous managers, colleagues, and/or direct reports. While 90% of what you need to make a quality hiring decision comes from hosting a great interview, that final milestone is critical.

Keep in mind: you get to decide who you want to speak with, based on your Interview.

A-Players have the initiative and resourcefulness to connect you with the referees of your choice, while B/C-Players often make all kinds of excuses as to why those referees are not available.

[6] Not measuring hiring and promotion success.

Almost every department in an organization has dozens of “Key Performance Indicators” or “Success Measures” and yet the most important decisions – whom to hire, promote, or redeploy in a company receive the least amount of attention. It’s time to start measuring the quality of your people decisions!

  • Measure hiring and promotion success every six months and hold your team accountable to make progress.
  • Identify the A-Players or high performers in your company and make sure you take great care of them. On a regular basis discuss, across the leadership team, what the company is doing to provide opportunity and growth for top talent. You must spend the majority of your time on your A-Players or you’ll lose them.

Anything important in business is worth measuring. For more details on how to begin keeping your A-Players with you for the long term, click here.

Bottom Line: When in doubt, do not hire or promote – and never in desperation. It’s better to cover the position and adjust priorities than to hire the wrong person. Your A-Players and shareholders will thank you!

The Challenge

  • If you are in process of recruiting for an open position on your team, make a commitment to discuss the most common mistakes outlined above with your colleagues. Discuss which action you can take together to begin improving your hiring success today.

We are super passionate about implementing Topgrading as a best practice hiring method so that companies can drive towards a team with at least 85% A-Players. Give us a shout with any questions you may have to ensure your next hire is an A-Player!

Lawrence & Co Advisor Michelle LaVallee is a Topgrading Champion who has supported international companies, across multiple industries, to achieve at least 85% A-Players in the midst of rapid growth.

Join Michelle and Kevin Lawrence for their popular Topgrading webinars and workshops.