The 6 Biggest Hiring Mistakes Employers Make

For Employers

by Steven Kessler, Bristol VP and Casino Gaming Executive Recruiter

Finding the right employee isn’t as simple as reading a resume and conducting a short interview. From the job posting through onboarding, the hiring process is fraught with potential mistakes. Awareness and avoidance of these mistakes can lead to a faster, better outcome and a new employee who’s the right fit.

Hiring Mistake #1: High Expectations

The employer is not really aware of what they are looking for in a candidate when they begin the hiring process. Employers may have such high expectations of the ideal employee that he or she may be impossible to find. Employers are so specific in their desired candidate’s attributes – the ideal person they have in their heads – that they may not, at first, consider people who don’t check every box.

I’ve seen numerous occasions where an employer has passed on an amazing candidate because he or she didn’t fit the exact requirements of the job description. A short time later, that same client, realizing their idea of the perfect candidate doesn’t exist wants us to reach back out to someone they’ve already interviewed. Unfortunately, that amazing candidate has since found another job and is no longer available.


The best way to avoid making that mistake is to have the following boxes checked prior to starting the hiring process:

  • Have a clear definition of the duties and responsibilities of the job
  • Understand the level of experience needed by the candidate to best perform the job — this could mean someone who has already handled that level of responsibility, or possibly someone who is ready for that next step
  • Know what type of personality will best fit within the company
  • Be more open-minded. While a candidate may lack one aspect you’ve specified, don’t discount them as a possible hire. You may realize that your “ideal candidate” doesn’t actually exist. By leaving the door open, you may ultimately find the right candidate and make a quicker hire.

Hiring Mistake #2: The Incomplete Interview

The employer doesn’t really get to know the interviewee.

Employers often have standard questions they ask candidates without really delving into their personality. They may also focus on a candidate’s previous experience vs. giving someone a chance based on previous work.


Ask questions that will give you more insight into a candidate; their personality and work preferences. While they may look perfect on paper, there are other issues that may, in fact, affect their fit.

Instead of asking a boilerplate interview question like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” ask questions like these:

  • Are you able and willing to relocate (they may have children or older parents that could make this unfavorable)
  • Why did you leave your previous job?
  • Ask them about themselves – get to know them – do a little digging

Many companies have people who conduct screening that some candidates never get past. Consider involving the actual hiring authority from the get-go.

While attending a conference recently, I was introduced to a candidate by an existing client. This client brought over his employee whom he was helping find a new position. I got the candidate’s resume and was able to get to know him. As a result, I was better able to “sell” this candidate to a new potential employer.

Hiring Mistake #3: Ignoring The Company Culture

Employers are not adequately describing the company culture to candidates (or their company is not engaging in the branding that will identify their company’s culture to the outside world). As well, employers are not asking the right questions to assure that the candidate would be a good fit.


  • Explain the company culture to the interviewee
  • “Sell” the value of the company to the interviewee
  • Ascertain, from the candidate, what they’re looking for: A title? Better compensation? An improved work/life balance? A “happy” workplace?

Hiring Mistake #4: Not Properly Qualifying Candidates

Sometimes a company doesn’t adequately vet a potential hire.


Most companies outsource background checks but it’s also good to undertake other checks as well. This can include looking online on LinkedIn, performing a Google search or researching the candidate through an alumni organization. Contact personal and business references listed on the candidate’s resume. You many also want to reach out to other associates from a previous job (it is illegal to contact people at a person’s current employment without their consent).

Remember to keep an open mind in gathering backdoor references…the comments of one disgruntled ex co-worker should not necessarily rule out the candidate.

Hiring Mistake #5: Dropping the Ball When Onboarding

Showing a new employee his or her desk and handing them an employee handbook isn’t enough. I had one candidate that I placed talk to me after three weeks on the job. He said he trained for three days and then was left alone with no guidance beyond that. He had to go out of his way to find out what he should be doing, instead of the company making it clear what his duties were on a daily basis.


  • Be prepared to provide your new hire with a workspace, a clear description of the job expectations, any employee paperwork, and perhaps a “buddy” that will initially help the new hire get the lay of the land
  • Introduce the new hire to supervisors and co-workers
  • Provide a tour of the entire office including a description of each department’s responsibilities and functions
  • Provide any necessary training as to software, company processes and procedures, etc.
  • Check in periodically with the candidate to see if he/she has any questions and feels able to carry out their duties

Hiring Mistake #6: Not Using a Recruiter

Company’s hire an executive recruiter to find the ideal candidate to fill a job opening. Recruiters are skilled at discerning what type of person – their skills, experience and personality – will be the right fit.

Recruiters, because they have interacted with the hiring company and the candidates they propose, may have a better feel for a candidate’s strengths and personality – and whether or not the candidate will be a good fit for the job. This feedback can prove invaluable when making a new hire.

With a large database of potential candidates – with many of whom they have a personal relationship – recruiters have access to a pool of well-qualified people.

This resource, along with the recruiter’s familiarity with the employer, will expedite the hiring process and contribute to a relationship that is fruitful for both the company and the employee.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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