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If you just wing each interview, the direction, tone and outcome of each conversation can vary wildly, making it more difficult to compare candidates to each other. The outcome of this can be that, despite spending all that time interviewing people, to a certain extent, you’re still none the wiser. Then, the chances are, when it comes to deciding who to hire, you’re going to go with your gut, as you won’t reliably be able to compare one answer to another because you didn’t ask each candidate a few standard questions you can compare them by. So, a little planning can go a long way towards helping you make an informed and considered choice of who to hire, as opposed to just sitting down with each individuals, having a completely random chat, and then hoping you get it right.

Mistake 2

- Overvaluing experience

It is risky to bet too heavily on how much experience a person has, when there are so many factors that determine whether someone will be successful in the role and a good fit for your organisation. An applicant’s skills, knowledge, aptitude and personality all factor into the equation. Because experience is a tangible and measurable component, it is very easy to overvalue it above less easily measurable factors such as intelligence, drive, and other components of raw talent. Experience accumulates with time in the role and skills can be learned and acquired.

Hiring new employees is not an easy process. You’ve got to wade through a mountain of applications, weed out the few you’re interested in and then interview all the candidates – all while still running your company. But if you want your company to grow, you need to hire the right people. You need people that are not only right for the now but can also help you move the business towards bigger and better things in the future. This is especially so for smaller businesses and startups because they have fewer employees and a limited income with which to work.

Your next great employee might be someone with limited experience, but who has fantastic aptitude and flexibility. Placing too much stock on a heavy list of qualifications in your job description, or only considering applicants with x amount of experience and not considering other factors, means you might be turning a blindeye to someone better suited to the role and your company’s culture. However, this is a double-edged sword and there is a flip side. If you’re looking to hire someone without any experience in the hope of finding someone cheaper – you might be buying into a false economy. Ignoring a candidate with what you consider to be necessary experience in the hope of saving a few thousand dollars a year by hiring an unproven person, might not actually save you anything, due to the amount of on-the-job training and potentially decreased productivity the less experienced employee will deliver. So, as with all aspects of running your business, you need to find a balance.

For these companies every single dollar they spend on finding and hiring an employee can affect their longer term success, meaning it’s vital that they avoid making major mistakes while hiring.

But it definitely pays to consider more than just the experience a candidate comes with. You want someone with the potential to grow into the perfect for your company.

But the trouble is that running a small business is hard work and there often simply isn’t the time to commit to a thorough hiring process; and as result, corners get cut.

Mistake 3

The good news is that your competitors are probably making these mistakes whilst hiring as well. This means there’s an opportunity for you to seize; to waste less time and money by hiring right so you can get back to running your company.

This is a common mistake many small business owners make.

Mistake 1

- Not having an interview plan

The single biggest hiring mistake small business owners make is winging it or not having an interview plan. At best they’ll have a few questions written down on a piece of paper, but little else. You need to treat an interview like a deductive science. You’ve sorted through all the resumes and selected the best individuals to be interviewed – but now you need a better way of evaluating their suitability for the role than just having a chat and going with your gut. You achieve this by having an interview plan.

- Assuming the hiring process ends once they’re hired

An employee’s productivity is comprised of 50 percent ability [the reasons you hired them], and 50 percent of what happens once they’re in the workplace. So conducting a good interview, offering that promising person the job and them saying ‘yes’ is only half the task. Employees need to be properly induced and introduced to your company, well trained and supported. It doesn’t matter how impressed you are with someone’s potential – poor training, insufficient access to resources, and little feedback will add up to poor job satisfaction and this will impact their performance. So recruitment doesn’t stop at the ‘welcome aboard’ handshake – you need to make sure they are introduced, trained and supported every step of the way.

First – decide what questions are the most important, and ask them to each candidate.





If you would like to talk to one of our consultants about your recruitment needs, please contact us on

(03) 943 9505 | 022 648 5960 |








This doesn’t have to be an iron-clad, exactly repeatable process – but it does need to have some consistency to it so you can accurately assess candidates’ answers in relation to each other.


Second – know what answers you’re looking for. Then you can assess each answer objectively and place candidates in pecking order.

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Canterbury Today Magazine Issue 155  

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