How to avoid hiring the wrong person?

After spending 22 years of my career in a work atmosphere where I depended on my perception and negotiating skills to win sales situations, I have made it a practice by default, to hire the ‘Right’ while interviewing! There have been many moments when the time allotted to interview each candidate was ‘very’ less and the tendency or opportunity to make a mistake quite high! But, one should realize that interviewing has to be ‘task ahead’ related, current situation specific, meet job role expectations and definitely be within the budget drawn. Then, why do we hire the wrong person? I can figure out some reasons that are listed below:

1. Assume whatever the applicant claims is true –
Especially, while interviewing for sales positions – I am wary of the cliche statement/ claim of the applicant – ‘Oh! I can sell anything!’ I do not agree to such ‘flying’ claims! Desperate to land any position, some applicants make wild claims about themselves or their accomplishments. They skew the facts, stretch the truth, or show interest in roles for which they’re unsuited or unqualified – but they seem credible because they are good talkers. Once hired, SURPRISE! These sales guys start finding excuses to not perform well.

2. Be vague about the positions you want to fill up –
I am glad someone invented Job Description (JD) details sheet and I adhere to it. Yes, I agree that time is short and recruiting requirement is urgent! Let me caution, how do we work without any criteria? I make it a point to ask my clients to furnish the JD along with other details when they hire me. Recently, I was recruiting for a Pre-sales executive position in an education & training company; everything was perfect – the job location was acceptable to both, the past experience of the applicant was relevant and terms were okay. But, the JD never emphasized on frequent traveling and this was the bottleneck and we could not hire him! He was not ready to travel extensively into the interior parts of a trouble-torn state.

3. When you focus only on job requirement –
I am working with a computer hardware/ networking company – It is neither big nor is it small. I feel it is important to consider the organizational culture and suitability of the applicant in such an environment. It is possible you find the applicant absolutely right in terms of job requirements but he may not get along well or others may get along with him in the new work atmosphere. So, while considering potential candidates I have to look at other aspects contributing to job performance. Many do not realize this. I do not mind to wait longer and get the right candidate; I do not necessarily recruit the first person showing interest in my client company.

4. Not considering emotional compatibility to Stress –
In fast growing markets, it has become mandatory to work under stressful situations. This does not suit well with everyone. It is possible the applicant has the right knowledge & skills to do the job well, but he cannot handle stress. In such situations, it is advisable to not hire such applicants because he cannot put his experience to use anyway. Of course, if he can be helped through ‘professional’ behavior skills training; then it is fine. We do engage in such client-specific training programs through our firm! Managing performance is what we excel in.

5. Hire someone like you –
This is the very common error we do. We know ourselves well, so we think we are right in hiring clones! We like ourselves first so we like others who are like us. This does not help because by doing this you are not being creative in solving the recruitment problem and are only compounding any weakness you have. What if he or she is smarter than you? Look at the job needs and the work situation so that you get a person who can play a complimentary role instead. We do not need clones!

Behavioral assessment and Skills training can derive success out of most difficult situations. For more information, you can reach us through our website:


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