7 of the most common recruitment mistakes (as told by experts)

Take it from us. You’ve got to handle finding a great candidate for your new position the right way.

As a specialist manufacturing and engineering recruitment agency, Ernest Gordon works with companies of all sizes to find ideal candidates for all kinds of roles.

Here are some of the most common recruitment mistakes we come across:

The most common hiring mistakes

1) Delegating the start of the hiring process

Delegation in recruitment. Busy managers sometimes see it as a potential time-saving measure.

Perhaps they delegate writing the job description to someone in their HR department. Maybe they leave the discussion with their chosen engineering or manufacturing recruitment company about the type of candidate they’re seeking to someone else too.

This is often a mistake. Inaccuracies in job descriptions attract candidates that are often not quite what you’re looking for. A good job description:

  • Should be honest about what you need from a candidate
  • Should describe what the role is actually for and what the candidate will be doing
  • Should be realistic about what you want for what you are offering
  • Should never imply things that aren’t true, such as inaccurate promotion possibilities

Equally, a good recruiter – especially if they’re a specialist in your industry – doesn’t need a long conversation to understand your needs.

Don’t delegate the hiring process if you want to find a candidate with the qualities you desire.

2) Focusing only on an interview

Asking the right questions in competency-based interviews can give you a good grounding in what a candidate is like.

But relying entirely on an interview is often a mistake when hiring. Unless your candidate’s role will be to answer questions from a small panel of judges for most of their working day, it’s simply not a perfect indicator of their ability to fill the role.

You might consider testing them on their ability to do something they will actually need to do as part of the engineering or manufacturing job you are recruiting them for. Something relating to planning, prioritisation or communication for example.

3) Focusing only on CVs and references

Over half of employers say they have spotted something that’s not quite accurate on a CV. Equally, a great CV can be an indication of good formatting and presentation skills – but not necessarily of the ability to manage a team of six in the project manager job you have lined up for them.

Striking for balance is your best bet. Don’t pin everything on a candidate with an incredible CV or immaculate references. Equally, don’t count someone out because of a missed punctuation point when their job doesn’t involve much writing.

Again, a test that actually reveals their skills at the job in question might be more illustrative.

4) Waiting for the “perfect” candidate

When writing your job description, you may well be picturing the ideal person for the role. But there are some often overlooked downsides of waiting for that one-in-a-million “perfect” candidate.

Every day they’re not in their role is a day when your team are needing to work harder. This can lead to overwork and under-delivery.

Don’t let your search for the “perfect” candidate drag on to the detriment of everyone else.

5) Not waiting for a great candidate

However, this is not to say you should be anything less than rigorous in your recruitment process. Training and moulding a new recruit takes time and costs money. You don’t want to waste it on someone who isn’t suitable.

Waiting forever for a mythical perfect candidate might be a mistake. But you should still take the time to find someone who’s the best possible fit for your team.

Many professionals recommend hiring for personality over skills. This lets you turn a “great” or “excellent” candidate into the perfect one over time, knowing they’re a great fit for your team in the meantime.

6) Rushing your recruiter selection

There are enough recruitment companies out there these days that it’s not uncommon to be contacted by one the moment you advertise for a new position.

Make your decision regarding who to trust with care. Simply going for the lowest bid is rarely a good way to find a recruiter that has concerns about quality and suitability of candidate at heart.

Choosing a specialist in engineering and manufacturing recruitment – or the specific sector you’re in – is always a good call. Otherwise, they are unlikely to understand what the technical skills you are looking for really mean.

7) Thinking in terms of qualification comparison

There are two ways in which comparing your prospective candidate’s qualifications against a list can be a mistake in engineering and manufacturing recruitment:

  1. Hiring deliberately less qualified candidates – hiring candidates with great soft skills and fewer qualifications can be a legitimately brilliant recruitment technique. But when it’s done out of someone in a position of leadership’s concern that they will be shown up by a new hire’s qualifications, it’s not a good thing.
  2. Turning away “overqualified” candidates – rejecting someone who is “overqualified” is usually done from fear they’ll get bored and leave. But there are many ways you can encourage their loyalty through progression and development opportunities or reward them for what they can bring to your team. After all, attracting the best talent is what any good recruitment process should be all about.

Want to avoid common hiring mistakes when finding your next candidate?

Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist engineering and manufacturing recruitment company.

Every day, we match employers up and down the UK with their ideal candidates. Let’s see if we can match you with yours.