When an interview has gone well and a candidate seems like a great match for your organisation, it can be hugely demoralising if, later down the line, it becomes apparent that they have oversold their experience and skill set.

If this situation sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to research, almost half (46%) of business managers in the UK regret their hiring choices and experience “post-hiring blues” around their employment decisions. 

In an ever-evolving business landscape, the importance of making well-informed and strategic hiring decisions is critical. So how can you avoid making interview blunders that ensure you don’t regret a hire? 

Define What You’re Looking For

Make sure you’re clear on exactly what is you’re looking for before embarking on the recruitment process. Include in the job description everything you need from the candidate. Even if you’re hiring to replace a role that already exists, check the job specification is fit for purpose. Business needs evolve, so a specification that was fit for purpose a year ago, might not be now

Prepare for interviews

Being prepared and confident when conducting an interview is vital for a successful hire.  

Having a set list of questions ready ahead of time will ensure the interview has structure and any hire is not based purely on gut feeling. Set questions also help to provide a matrix that all candidates applying for the role can be measured against. Using a combination of different interview questions that test candidates on a variety of criteria, will better enable you to establish how the candidate might support your current business demands. 

Don’t hire in a hurry

When you’ve got a vacancy to fill and work to deliver, it’s easy to rush into making a hire. But in order to give your hiring decision the best chance of being a smart investment, you need to take a step back and take time to evaluate the candidates you’re interviewing and their suitability for the role. Try to find alternate ways to manage the labour shortage in the meantime, by using freelancers or temporary workers to buy you time. Of course, there needs to be balance – don’t leave the decision too long without keeping the candidate informed as this could see you lose out on the best talent. 

Choose attitude over aptitude

While it’s important to be clear what you want, it’s always an idea to be flexible with some of the requirements around job criteria. Experience and skill set is essential for many roles but if the candidate’s attitude is poor, then their capability is somewhat irrelevant. A candidate who might not tick all the skills and experiences boxes but has a great attitude will usually prove to be a far better hire in the long-term, compared with a job-ready candidate that lacks enthusiasm. It’s harder to change someone’s attitude than it is to teach them the skills they might be missing to fulfil a particular role. 

Put candidates to the test

So many hire regrets are made because the interviewee has been won over by their gift of the gab. To ensure you can weed out candidates who talk the talk,but cannot walk the walk, put them to the test with a practical assessment. Candidates will have prepared for questions but by giving them something they aren’t prepared for, you will be able to see how quickly they think on their feet and access first-hand their skill level, how they operate, and how they might interact with colleagues.

Provide adequate onboarding

Hire regret doesn’t only arise when an employer is disappointed with an employee’s performance. About 44% of new employees say they have regrets or second thoughts about their new job within the first week. This can often happen when the company or role fails to meet a new employee’s expectations. To help avoid this, as an employer, you need to provide adequate instruction, training and support to induct new employees into the business. Even if a new hire is quite experienced, it’s still important to ensure they have enough to understand their role and responsibilities, as well as a grasp of the company’s culture. 

Howett Thorpe is a recruitment specialist offering services in business support and finance. To learn how we can help you master recruitment and retention at your organisation, call 01252 718777 or email farnham@howett-thorpe.co.uk