Article from www.DrMercer.com
7 HORRIBLE HIRING MISTAKES
By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Sep 28, 2006, 13:29
You need to hire the best employees. You undoubtedly hired some employees who were losers.
Oops! Well, let’s be more diplomatic. Let’s just say you hired some “underachievers” you would have been better without.
Or maybe you have the curse of hiring only “average” employees – people who are average in productivity and average in producing profits.
Question: Who wants to hire “average” (or “below average”) employees?
Answer: No one!
To hire the best, you need to avoid the problems that plagued your previous hiring decisions. So, let me reveal seven horrible hiring blunders or mistakes you may have made.
1st Horrible Mistake: = Interviewers typically do a lousy job at predicting job success.
This is a proven fact, verified by a lot of research. Statistically, most interviewers do about as well as flipping a coin!
2nd Horrible Mistake = Reference checks fail to tell you what you really need to know.
Most employers are so freaked out about giving reference checks that they tell you nothing or barely anything useful about how an applicant performed on-the-job. Another way to put that is most reference checks are about as non-useful as simultaneously (a) flipping a coin while (b) rubbing a rabbit’s foot!!
3rd Horrible Mistake: You relied on your “gut feel” or “intuition” & you were W-R-O-N-G.
Later, as you moaned about the mistake you made by hiring the wrong person, you asked yourself, “I knew what I was feeling. But, what was I thinking?”
4th Horrible Mistake: You used subjective prediction methods to make hiring decisions.
For example, you relied on subjective interviews, subjective reference checks, or subjective “impressions “ of the applicant. Wow! Were you ever off-base. And then you and your company needed to pay for your incorrect hiring decisions. That is expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating.
5th Horrible Mistake: You used NO objective AND customized prediction method.
Important: Research shows pre-employment tests are the most objective method to make predictions. But, make sure you use a test customized for specific jobs in your company!
If you have not used tests customized for specific jobs in your company, then you really have missed out on the most objective and customized prediction method you could use.
6th Horrible Mistake: You [stupidly] told the applicant what you were looking for!!
Then, lo-&-behold, the applicant spent your entire interview telling you s/he just
happens to possess all the skills, talents and qualities you – stupidly – told the applicant you want in an employee.
For example, let’s say you – stupidly – told the applicant you need to hire an employee who excels at teamwork, customer-service, and correctly handling small details. I bet I can predict what that applicant told you in the interview: The applicant told you – with a serious yet pleasant expression – that s/he excels at teamwork, customer-service, and correctly handling small details.
And then, when you hired the person who gave you all the answers you – stupidly – told the applicant you want, you pay the price of having an employee who may not REALLY be talented at teamwork, customer-service, or handling small details. You got fooled – and you have only yourself to blame.
7th Horrible Mistake: You terribly harm any person you should not have hired.
Let’s be humanistic about it. If you hire the wrong person, the applicant also loses. People crave to work in a job where they will do well and enjoy it. People hate a job where they will perform only average or below average, and not enjoy the work. So, you actually benefit the applicant you carefully evaluated using customized, objective hiring methods.
Summary: When you hire . . .
1. high-achieving “superstar” employees, both you and your company win.
2. underachieving employees, (a) you lose and (b) your company loses.
So, make sure you use customized and objective prediction methods, like pre-employment tests, biodata and more, to make sure you hire employees who are (a) productive, (b) profitable, and (c) low turnover.
Copyright 2006 Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is nationally recognized as America’s Hire the Best Expert™. Dr. Mercer created widely used pre-employment tests – Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™ Tests – which many companies use to evaluate job applicants. He also invented the groundbreaking “7-Step Method to Hire the Best™.” His 5 books include “Hire the Best -- & Avoid the Rest™” & “Turning Your Human Resources Department into a Profit Center™.” Get his free 14-page Special Report on “Hiring Productive, Profitable, & Honest Employees”, plus a free subscription to his Management Newsletter at