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Market Insights SEEK Employment trends How to Avoid Bad Hires: 7 Common Red Flags You Should Never Ignore
How to Avoid Bad Hires: 7 Common Red Flags You Should Never Ignore

How to Avoid Bad Hires: 7 Common Red Flags You Should Never Ignore

Every company wants to learn how to avoid bad hires. Because, really, everyone has had their fair share of such jobseekers. On paper and throughout the job interview process, they seem like the perfect match for the position. They present themselves as the top candidate, spotlighting their stellar credentials and impressive experiences. Day one comes, and everything goes smoothly, of course. But as the weeks pass, you notice the employee failing to meet expectations. Worse, they start to slack off and make you question your decision to offer them a job.

At this point, your options are limited. It’s not as easy to fire an employee without going through legal procedures. No organisation wants to be stuck with a bad hire. Prevention is still better than cure. So before you even get into the same situation again, learn how you can improve your recruitment process and avoid hiring red flags.

What are Recruitment Traps?

Attracting high-value talents can be a challenge for many companies. From the get-go, hirers should know what they want and need from a position. This way, they have lesser chances of hiring the wrong candidate. But the reality is that hiring traps plague most organisations.

Recruitment traps are steps, processes, or entire systems that lead to bad hires and dispel qualified candidates. These are missteps, usually unintentional, causing a company to onboard an unfit employee and incur even more challenges. When an organisation falls into a trap, it requires more resources to overcome the situation–from finding the next best step for the bad hire to restarting the recruitment process.

Common Red Flags to Watch Out For When Hiring Employees

Filling your company’s talent gap is a competitive pursuit. Of course, you want to hire the best talent out there, but sifting through multiple applications takes time. If you settle, you increase your chances of inviting unfit candidates to join you. Luckily, some signs can help companies identify if a jobseeker is unfit for a specific position. Check out these common red flags you should watch out for.

1. Submitting a lousy resume. A lousy resume is a sign of lousy work. You don’t want to hire someone who can submit mediocre work and pass it for a stellar piece. Attention to detail is one of the factors hirers can observe in a resume. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalisation indicate a jobseeker’s perspective on work.

2. Concealing wide resume gaps. While there can be many reasons for a gap to be present in a resume, hirers should be wary and inquire about them. Candidates should be open to discussing such gaps and providing legitimate reasons for them. Otherwise, companies should see this as a preview of a candidate’s perspective on work and employment. Take it as a warning sign and act appropriately.

3. Frequent job hopping or undertaking short-term tenures.  Did you notice that the candidate stays in a company for a short period? Or that they hop from one job to another multiple times a year? One reason is that jobseekers never get regularised after their probationary period. Or they have commitment issues and can’t stay within the same organisation for an extended period.

4. Offering poor references. References are not the be-all and end-all of the recruitment process, but they help get to know a jobseeker better and fact-check their claims. If they submit a profile without references, hirers should start wondering if the candidate has issues with their present or previous employer. This is a red flag because it suggests how they deal with authority. Even if they’ve already passed the interviews with flying colours, you want to get an outsider’s perspective on how a candidate works and deals with responsibilities.

5. Not following directions. Go to this floor of the building for your initial interview, submit your portfolio by this hour, and wear closed shoes. These are simple directions that any jobseeker should be able to follow with ease. But the reality is that some candidates shrug off these instructions and stubbornly force what they want. Do you think such a person is a good fit for your organisation?

6. Coming to the interview unprepared. Going into a job interview requires doing some homework, and a hirer can easily spot if the candidate failed at this task. The job interview is a crucial step in recruitment, and if jobseekers don’t plan for it, they effortlessly give up their chances of being hired. Your job as the hiring manager is to ask basic questions to see if they did their part. Whether they did or not, don’t dwell on it too much. You can already direct the interview towards a goal you want to achieve.

7. Not asking questions.  The right candidate should feel excited about the role they’re eyeing. Or they should at least show a level of interest in the job. Hirers can deduce this eagerness by the questions a candidate asks during the recruitment process. If you reach the end of the interview and they ask no questions, you can assume that they realised that they are unfit for the role. Otherwise, they should be prodding further and inquiring about aspects not yet discussed. If you only get silence, expect the same from then on.

But another red flag related to this is when a candidate asks purely personal questions. If you only get queries about benefits and compensation packages, you can expect the jobseeker to think only of themself and not the company.

How do Bad Hires Affect a Company?

Efficient recruitment saves the company from incurring costs. Bad hires do the opposite. Here are other ways unfit employees affect your organisation:

  • They influence the productivity of their team. If they spend half a day slacking off, their team members can be encouraged to do the same.

  • They strain your organisation’s culture. One rotten egg can spoil the entire basket.

  • They deplete team morale. With a bad hire in the group, everyone’s energies will focus on cleaning up mishaps.

  • They repel good employees. Keeping bad hires also says a lot about a company and discourages attracting perfect candidates.

  • They alter the organisation’s reputation. Employees, including bad hires, represent their company wherever they go.

  • They cause financial losses. Bad hires mean lousy work means unsatisfied clients.

What are the Common Hiring Mistakes?

1. Using the same recruitment and interview process for every candidate.  No one size fits all. Don’t expect this certain recruitment process to work for another candidate filing a different role. Hirers need to craft a process that best first the open position and its responsibilities. You also shouldn’t use the same job interview template for every candidate you invite. Sure, you have several generic questions that change things depending on your mood. But you must take the extra step of preparing an effective job interview questionnaire for the role.

Also, don’t expect the exact answers to your questions. Interviews are ways to get to know a candidate’s thinking process. Don’t think of it as an oral examination with right or wrong answers.

2. Setting unreasonable expectations. You want your candidate to possess these certifications, x years of work experience, and unlimited references. But you open the posting for fresh graduates. Or you come up with a two-pager containing the role’s responsibilities but only invite entry-level candidates to apply. Your needs don’t match your expected outcomes. This attracts bad hires to take advantage of your position and traps you in your own unrealistic expectations.

3. Looking for similar qualities as the previous employee. Most job openings stem from resignations more than promotions. When this happens, many organisations scramble and find a replacement right away. Most often than not, hirers would look for a candidate with similar quantities as the person who previously held the post. Same background, same qualifications, same requirements. But hirers need to take a step back and find out the cause of the resignation. From there, you can craft a better job posting that best mirrors the role and its responsibilities.

4. Allowing emotions to get in the way. As with many decisions in life, emotions can get the better of you–even top hiring managers. Sometimes, employing a candidate just feels right, only to find out that they don’t match your needs. Maybe they came from the same school or grew up in the same neighbourhood. Or maybe their personality shines, and you just can’t stop being magnetised by it. If you hire based on emotions or personalities, you fail to evaluate candidates based on their skills and capabilities.

5. Rushing the hiring process. It can be very tempting to rush the process to fill a gap as quickly as possible. Perhaps the first candidate that applies is already the best person for it. But don’t succumb to this pitfall. Finding suitable jobseekers takes time, and you want to follow the appropriate steps to lead you to a good hire. Also, don’t be attracted to one candidate right after a single interview, no matter how stellar it is. You still want to evaluate their credentials and check their references. Don’t be afraid of losing them to other companies. You’ll gain a bigger loss when you hire an unfit candidate.

What should be a company’s next step after employing a bad hire? Evaluate your entire recruitment strategy and check for loopholes. As much as possible, you want to continue filling gaps while avoiding bad candidates. As for the bad hire that you can’t fire right away, you can try to help them expand their skill set or move them to a different team.

Every company wants to hire a dream candidate, but it’s not as easy as many expect. Take the necessary steps to avoid bad hires, and you’ll be on your way to attracting the most qualified jobseekers in the market. Be active and get creative!

Find the right jobseekers to fill your organisation’s gaps by registering on Jobstreet and checking Talent Search. If you want to gain more insights on how you can improve your recruitment strategy, visit the Employers Insights page.

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