Are You Making These 4 Hiring Mistakes?

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on August 15, 2014

In business no matter how large or small an operation, over time there will be hiring mistakes.  In many cases, hindsight is the only way to determine whether or not a hiring mistake has been made.

A hiring mistake can be an enormous backfire to any organization.  Costly not only in dollars, but in headaches, employee morale, and loss of momentum.

Every hire is a gamble.  A shot in the dark. A risk, though a risk worth taking.  Before making any hiring decisions, one might want to ponder the following:

Are you making these 4 hiring mistakes?

1.  Not being 100% sure if a hire is absolutely necessary. This may seem obvious however always remember that businesses hire people for either or both of the following 2 reasons:

  • To solve a business need in such that without making a hire, the business will suffer.
  • To make more money or profit.

2.  Hiring a family member or friend. When we hire a family member or friend we do so because of various factors such as trust, loyalty and perception of cost savings.  However in most cases this option can backfire for some of the following reasons:

  • We might not hold family and friends to the same accountability than we do with other employees.
  • Imagine if you need to terminate this person and how it might effect your personal relationships.
  • The loss of clear objectivity with regard to job performance.
  • Termination.  Can you imagine having to terminate a family member if necessary?  A bad scene indeed.

3.  Not checking other references than the ones provided by the applicant. No applicant (in their right mind) would ever supply a prospective employer with a reference that would say anything negative about this person.  Though these names should be contacted for a reference check, it is important to go much much deeper to uncover other people to contact for references.  Use every resource that is available to perform a background check including the following:

  • Ask current employees if they know of anyone associated with this applicant, that can be contacted.
  • Cold call a former employer of the applicant and candidly ask for validation of hiring the applicant.  A good question is, “Would this person be eligible for re-hire?”
  • Use free resources such as LinkedIn and study this person’s profile. If needed pay for a criminal or financial background check to find out any pieces of the puzzle that perhaps was not revealed in reference checking.  Consider any costs to be an investment well worth the piece of mind in deciding to hire.

4.  Hiring someone with a lot of “personal baggage.” This is a tough one because we all have personal baggage that we carry and in most cases without fault.  However a valid concern and or question in making a new hire is: do you really need to hire this applicant bad enough to take on all the headaches that this person is facing?  An employee’s headache can become your own.  Could you be hiring someone who’s issues could risk the morale of your current staff?  Think about the time off this person might need to deal with personal issues.

Ross Perot was infamous for never hiring anyone who had been divorced or going through a divorce.  To this writer, Mr. Perot’s position was beyond extreme and prevented him from being able to even consider some of the best talent available, given that in America the divorce rate exceeds 50%. Did Mr. Perot save himself from hiring mistakes with this policy?  Maybe, but doubtful.

Our lives are not perfect, however in business we do get to choose the people that we want to hire.

In summary, making a hiring mistake is a part of any business; however limiting the possibility of a mistake by taking “prior to hire” cautious actions can alleviate a potential hiring mistake.

Lastly, if you are currently employing a hiring mistake then cut your losses immediately! The cost is too high.

Think:  “addition by subtraction.”

I am Bernie Reifkind, CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc. I can be reached at 1(800) 801-1400 or email at  I welcome your phone call.


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