Which Way Is That Recruit Running? How To Avoid Hiring Mistakes In 2023

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Hiring has become a greater challenge for many companies throughout the pandemic, and data suggests it may not get any easier in 2023.

It’s not just the national labor shortage making hiring difficult; a case can be made that company leaders often make that part of the job harder than it has to be. Research from global staffing firm Robert Half showed 76% of senior managers admitted recruiting the wrong candidate for a role.

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And in the view of over 60% of those surveyed, the negative effect of those mistakes – in terms of time wasted hiring and training the person, decreased staff morale and productivity, and increased stress on the supervisor – was felt more than the year before.

The problem pre-dates the pandemic; in 2017, a survey by CareerBuilder found 74% of employers admitted hiring the wrong candidate, and the average financial cost to those employers was nearly $15,000.

It was true then and it’s true now: the hiring process can be one of the most stressful aspects of owning and operating a business.

It’s not surprising how many times the wrong people get the job. Some common mistakes companies make are:

  • Making hiring decisions based on a quick look at a resume
  • Not preparing enough for interviews
  • Not having the metrics to help determine what a quality hire is
  • Hiring for cultural fit rather than performance

If you asked me what is the big key to finding the best candidates for your company’s job openings in 2023, it would be this:

The A-B-Cs Of Performers: Who's Running From Or Toward Something?

First, it’s important to realize that recruitment isn’t a matter of just filling seats; you’re filling seats with people. And you need to value people to do that. You need to realize that a person isn’t just the sum of their resumé.

If you hire a resumé, that resumé won’t show up for work. Never has. Never will. What will show up is a person, and if your hiring isn’t done properly, what will show up often as not is the wrong person.

Here’s the bottom line: In general, when companies hire people for roles, they’re typically thinking about Day One and filling those empty seats quickly. The thing is, that’s how B-players and C-players make career moves, going for the job in terms of what’s expected on Day One. But A-players aren’t hooked on that Day One concept.

They want to step into something bigger than what they have done before; they want to prove to themselves, their previous employer, and their new employer that they can do it. They need to be able to envision and define what the “bigger” is and how they want to stretch, then be able to look 12 to 18 months ahead and articulate what the growth trajectory of that role will be.

You want to know whether candidates are running toward something or from something. Now, if I’m an interviewer and I’m interviewing someone who cannot articulate what they’re running toward, it makes sense that they’re running from something. In work as in life, running from something usually leads to a rebound relationship, one that will probably be short-lived.


Most companies just aren’t great at interviewing, hiring, or performance management.

Misalignment comes from not understanding what the essence of intelligent hiring is and doing things in the old tried-and-true ways, even if those ways continue to result in bad hires.

  • The job is misdefined by the skills and not the performance objectives. Does it truly matter what skills someone has if they can’t use them to meet the company’s objectives for that seat? Each open seat needs to be defined in detail rather than generalities. Defining the job brings more security to the candidate as well as to the hirer. Every candidate should know what is expected of them in the job and how their performance will be measured.
  • The executive and hiring teams are not aligned with recruiters and HR. Everyone should be on the same page, but poor communications and loosely defined job descriptions can give each person in the hiring process a different concept of what the person is being hired to do.
  • Hiring managers have their own special processes. Hiring isn’t magic. Hiring with your gut is not a good process. Many leaders have good intuition and a good “gut feel” when it comes to people, but would you manufacture or engineer something with your gut? Hiring needs to be quantifiable; it requires a precise, standard process in order to succeed. But many companies do not have any hiring process whatsoever for getting the right person in the right seat.

When you recruit and hire, it’s about valuing people. You value people when you hire for quality, not quantity. You value them by providing training and coaching and rewarding them with additional stretch and growth as productive team members. You do not value them by hiring them to fill a seat they shouldn’t be in.