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Top 10 Hiring Mistakes

Common Hiring Mistakes In A Down Economy  

1)  Not Hiring

Hiring freezes in a down economy is a classic mistake made by employers.  Hiring should be a continuous process even when the market is slow.  Downturns are historically short; 11 months on average.

A classic scenario: your business plan still calls for new product launches. You know it takes a team of 5, but you only staff with 2. Now you’re left with overworked and stressed employees that probably will leave when the economy recovers.  Turnover costs are astronomical.  You’re now faced with the added expense of turnover, lost opportunity cost of down time, as well as creating low morale for those employees left.

Another common scenario:
Employers tend to not replace employees that leave or retire. Again, this leaves the loyal team who stay with extra work and stress.

It may feel counterintuitive to hire when everyone else is firing, but leaders rarely follow the pack.

Tip: Hiring new sales people may be a great way to boost revenues.  There are great ones available now!

If you’re advancing as your competitors are retreating, you'll be in a position to seize opportunities they'll miss.

2)  Low Balling Your Hires

Just because you can, don’t.  As mentioned above, the down turn is only for a short time.  You may gain in the short run, but it will cost you a lot more later.

For Example:

Say a mid-level accounting position that requires a CPA and five plus years experience might typically pay $55,000.  A qualified job seeker who has been out of work for several months might indicate they would be willing to work for $45,000 because they need the work. 

While a qualified candidate willing to work for $10,000 less might be an exciting possibility, it can have serious drawbacks.

When the economy picks up, companies will resume hiring and will have openings at the right rate of pay. Your underpaid accountant will begin exploring those opportunities before you know it. 

If you’re lucky and they like their job, they may ask for a raise to bring them up to market rates.  However, if your company has internal policies against that kind of a raise, you’ll lose your accountant.  The cost of turnover will far exceed the raise; and the resignation may convince others to take a look at what they’re worth on the market.

3)  Not Making A Timely Decision

Once you’ve been presented with 3 to 5 quality candidates that meet all the specs and you could hire any of them, don’t delay your decision.  Just because there are many candidates available, don’t abuse the opportunity sitting in front of you.  If you do, they too may find other opportunities and not wait for you. 

If they do wait for you, it just may be due to the lack of other opportunities, however they won’t forget.  When the market turns for the better, they may seek out a company they feel really wants them.  

4)  Not Trying Something Different

As mentioned earlier, don't overwork your core employees during a downturn. Overtime can negatively impact employee morale and top-rate employees may give notice. Supplement your team with contractors. You’ll see reductions in payroll, healthcare and pension expenses. Do you need a good recommendation to an excellent Recruiter that specializes in contract staffing?  Email me.

5)  Not Focusing On Your Customer

Customer retention becomes a top priority in challenging times. Be proactive. Add staff to those areas that have direct contact with your customers. Satisfied customers will tell others about their experiences.

Bonus: Word of mouth advertising is the cheapest kind there is!

6)  Not Seizing The Day

If you're fortunate enough to be in an industry that can take advantage of the specific top talent that’s being dramatically downsized, then aggressively adding to your staff is to your benefit.

The best people in every field are quite simply never on the market, except maybe in this recession.  The best people in fields outside your own are available now.

Take a closer look.  Can their skills be utilized in your organization?  You'll be surprised. 

7)  Not Being Flexible

Many employers make the mistake of holding on to tradition.  When posed with a perfect candidate in every way, except for not being able to meet with traditional work hours, make adjustments.  Forward thinking companies will provide more flexible work arrangements, including alternate schedules, telecommuting options, compressed work weeks, summer hours, job sharing and sabbaticals. 

The result: Happier work force and significant cost savings.

8)  Einstein’s Definition Of Insanity

Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result.  Stop hiring the same position over and over when high turnover is the constant result.  Try outsourcing high turnover positions. Positions with turnover rates of 14 months or less translate to lost dollars when you factor in recruiting and training time. Outsourcing these positions can add to your bottom line.

9)  Not Checking References

This should go without saying, however, it’s a major mistake made over and over again.  Don’t hire someone without checking them out.  I’ve heard countless examples of horror stories that could’ve easily been prevented by just taking time to check a minimum of 3 quality references.

Bonus: You may end up recruiting a reference or two!

10)  Not Retaining Your Own

Retirees are becoming more and more attractive to companies who are seeking experience.  It’s estimated 17% of employers express an interest in hiring retirees or rehiring retirees. 

Take a look at your current team.  What can you do now to retain those who are approaching retirement.  It’s much less expensive to keep them than rehire or hire others who retired from other companies. 

Are you aware of other mistakes that should be listed here?  Please email me and let me know.

What more tips?  Check out my Blog, here's a good place to start!


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