Reduce Hiring Mistakes by up to 90% with These 4 Hiring Practices

Reduce Hiring Mistakes by 90% with These 4 Hiring Best Practices

Hiring mistakes are incredibly expensive. They can create massive distractions to your company workflow and are completely unnecessary, but by putting to practice these 4 critical strategies, you can reduce hiring mistakes by up to 90% and save your business from huge financial loss.

1. Refine your interview process.

The first step in reducing hiring mistakes is to improve your company’s overall hiring process. When you know how to exclude underperforming candidates from the beginning, you’ll have refined your candidate pool, allowing you to select from more top performers and provide your company a higher caliber employee roster.

The hiring process for both candidates and companies hiring new employees is often flawed.

It’s not uncommon for candidates to show up for an interview with well-rehearsed answers to every question you ask. Any candidate that meets the minimum qualifications for the position can appear to be an excellent candidate if they decide they want the job. And it’s easy for the candidate to craft responses based on a simple review of the job description and requirements.

They know exactly what you want to hear. The candidate has the advantage, not you.

It’s important not to fall into a trap. Often companies looking to fill a position that has been open too long or to relieve current employees from covering the gap in manpower are tempted to hire the first person who meets the minimum qualifications for the position on paper. The need to fill the position can cloud the better judgment of the hiring employer and create a much bigger problem for the company long-term.

When hiring a new employee, most employers will take into consideration this traditionally flawed formula that leads to the hiring of an average performer:

X Degree/Certification + Y Years of Experience + Z Weeks Until Position Must be Filled

What could possibly go wrong?

A better approach is to systematically improve the hiring process so that you’re not in a position to hire the “best of what’s currently available.” Be patient, ask better questions, and create an interview process that cuts through a candidate’s rehearsed answers. The result?  You’ll be much more likely to hire a top performer instead of an average employee.

2. Build Better Hiring Criteria.

When drafting a job posting, most companies set their criteria for hiring in terms of degrees/certifications and years of experience. The problem with this strategy is that these determining factors are not predictive of on the job performance. This strategy is often directly responsible for the hiring of average performers.

Instead, find candidates who are naturally driven to completing the work that you need to have done. If the position you are hiring for requires analytical skills, you’re going to want to find someone who is analytical by nature and a person who analyzes things so naturally that they do it without thinking.  

If you need someone to turn average performers into top performers, hire someone who thrives in an environment that allows them to help others improve their job performance. They do this naturally and without thinking and it’s likely their favorite part of the job.

This is not a pipe dream. The principles of human behavior can be used to improve employee, leader, team and company performance. The challenge is that these proven principles are often not well-known, often overlooked or sometimes more advanced than the tools we are currently using. These tools are available to any company that will use them, but the key is that they must be put into consistent practice to be effective.

3. Hone Your Interviewing Skills.

“Tell me about a time when…” was the prelude to the interview question that was considered a gold standard about thirty years ago. But what worked then, probably isn’t as well-fitting now.  

The challenge with our interviewing skills is that we don’t dig deep enough in the right areas. We ask questions about degrees, certifications and years of experience. During the interview, we also get a sense of the person’s personality and whether they will be a good “fit” for company culture. And, in the end, we decide whether we like them or not. Unfortunately, none of these factors (degrees, certifications, years of experience, personality or likeability) are highly predictive of on the job performance.

The best predictor of on the job success is whether the person is wired to do the task that we need to have completed.

Have you ever known a person that was seemingly able to do the job of 2 or 3 people? They worked effectively and efficiently and they made it look easy. They seem perfectly wired to those particular tasks – and that’s because they are! People who do the work of 2-3 others are rare, but they don’t have to be if we hire people for the right positions. If we asked the right kinds of interview questions, we would hire more top performers for our companies.  

“Tell me about a time when…” is an okay place to start, but your interview questions should be geared towards an end goal of understanding how a job candidate is wired.

Ask questions like:

  • “You said that you like leading people. What is it about leading people that you like? Why?”
  • “Isn’t leading people frustrating?”
  • “Can you give me another example?”

Job candidates who are well rehearsed for the interview will only be able to provide one or two examples of how they might be a good fit in a given scenario. But, job candidates who are perfectly wired to do the task will be able to provide an endless number of strategies for handling the tasks associated with the position.

Ask for a minimum of 3-5 examples and you’ll begin to see the difference in candidates much more clearly.

4. Always Be Interviewing.

How do you tackle a large project? One task at a time, of course! So, how do you get better at interviewing? One practice interview at a time. You might be thinking, “How can I “always be interviewing” when I’m not in need of new candidates?”  

Great question.

When you schedule an interview, tell the candidate that you don’t currently have a position open, but you’re considering candidates for any future positions that might become available. Express to them that you’d like to meet with them, learn about them, and tell them about your company, and should the opportunity arise, you can offer the position and fill it quickly.

You’ll get to practice your interviewing skills, challenging yourself to dig deep and find out what three factors make each candidate tick – and since this is an informational interview, you’ll also begin to see insights that you wouldn’t otherwise see. It’s a great learning experience!

The other key benefit of interviewing frequently is that you gain market intelligence about what’s going on with customers, potential customers and competitors. You’ll gain insights you would have missed otherwise.


As promised, the hiring best practices recommended are simple and straightforward – making them easy to implement and make a habit. Hiring mistakes are highly avoidable. They can create massive distractions to your company workflow and are completely unnecessary. Putting to practice these 4 critical strategies will save your business from what can become a crippling financial loss.

What will you do with the money you save by reducing hiring mistakes by at least 90%?

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Jim Connolly is Founder & CEO of Industry Leading Results. ILR helps companies systematically apply principles of human behavior to improve operational performance and financial results.  

Jim is a sought-after speaker who uses humor to challenge the thinking of his audiences.  Jim understands how people think and uses that knowledge to equip, cajole and inspire audiences.  He has spoken to audiences as large as 1,100 people.

In his consulting practice, Jim helps clients with their most pressing people challenges, including:

  • Eliminating hiring mistakes
  • Reducing employee turnover
  • Underperforming teams – sales teams, project teams, leadership teams
  • Leader performance challenges
  • Resistance to organizational change efforts that are necessary to move the company forward
  • Systematically building toward record-setting and industry-leading performance

Whether it’s a company-wide issue or working with a specific department or team, we know how human behavior works so we know how to improve organizational performance and financial results.  Find out more at