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What are the 4 Most Common Recruiting Mistakes at the Executive Level?

There are typical blunders that can sabotage the hiring process, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned executive at a Fortune 500 business expanding your management team or a first-time founder and CEO making a crucial leadership hire for your startup. As a partner at SPMB, one of the biggest retained executive search firms in the world with a focus on technology and innovation, I have access to information about the most common hiring errors and the most straightforward ways to prevent them.

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According to the U.S. Department of Labour, the cost of a bad hiring decision can be as much as 30 percent of an employee’s annual salary. That’s a whopping $24,000 in lost expenses for an $80,000 position.

Some companies try to recruit current employees before they even post the job externally. This gives your team a headstart on the competition. But even if you simultaneously post the job internally and externally, your staff will appreciate having an opportunity to move up within the organisation.

Using online skills assessments (as opposed to reading hundreds of resumes or relying on resume screening software) will make your candidate selection process much more efficient. That’s because skills assessments show you who actually has the skills you need before you begin the time-consuming process of reviewing resumes.

Significance of Recruiting at the Executive Level

Biases in the hiring procedure can be a serious issue, particularly if internal candidates are involved. To ensure that applicants are chosen based on their qualifications and not only on who they know, an executive search agency offers an unbiased third-party perspective.

The utilisation of cutting-edge technology and marketing tools by third-party search firms, combined with a wide pool of passive and active candidates, helps to eradicate unconscious biases based on factors such as age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

Before the recruitment process begins, an executive search firm conducts detailed interviews with key stakeholders to determine what an organisation’s culture is like and what the assignment requirements are. This information is then compiled into a profile that lists what personality traits and skills to look for in candidates.

Using that candidate’s profile, the search firm creates custom interview questions to check for appropriate skills and qualifications. By engaging in such a holistic process, organisations can avoid hiring candidates whose culture is not aligned with the organisation or the community in which it is serving.

Why is executive search so important for your business?

  • It is important to avoid hiring mistakes because making the right choices will ultimately save you time and money. By appointing the right candidate for the post
  • You may experience lower turnover rates. A low turnover rate means that some employees leave the company over a period of time. This means you will spend less time and money starting the hiring process anew.
  • A good job can move a business forward, create improved performance compared to immediate or annual goals, and set more effective strategies for long-term sustainability and growth. Poor work can lead to inefficiency, and internal conflict, and limit the potential growth of the business.
  • If you’re in business, you’re in people’s business. Your employees will be the deciding factor in what you can achieve, so making sure you do your best to find the best talent is something that needs to be at the forefront of every board’s agenda.
  • Understanding the requirements: The first step is always to establish the nature and objectives of the position in question before determining the characteristics of the candidate who will have the greatest impact.
  • Identifying the candidate pool: This includes a detailed analysis of competing (and other) businesses and a ‘source discussion’ to generate information to help identify the most suitable candidates and build perspectives on them.
  • Approach: Good research and preparation provide the confidence to approach candidates for whom we know they are right and we feel we may be able to generate interest from them. The purpose of the initial call is to establish whether there is sufficient interest and utility to guarantee the meeting. Assuming yes, we will meet with the person (sometimes more than once) to discuss the role in full detail and to thoroughly check the candidate’s background.

How to avoid recruiting mistakes at the executive level

  1. Ignore reference checking

It is important to check the context of each candidate, as they can give you more insight and evidence of a person’s skills and experience. Talking to someone in a candidate’s life can give you an idea of ​​whether they are suitable for the work culture.

Ask candidates to refer and check it out. Call every professional reference and verify the academic credentials to make sure the candidates are honest in their resume. References can also give you positive or negative details about the candidate that is useful in your process.

  1. Writing job descriptions that are vague or misleading

A well-written job description outlines the work rather than the ideal person. Using clear language in your job advertisement ensures that the candidates get a basic understanding of the responsibilities of the role. Adding your company values ​​to the description can also help evaluate whether a potential candidate is aligned with the role.

When writing job descriptions, use keywords that apply to position and industry. If you need knowledge of some tools, experience in software, or exact certifications, list them in the description. These keywords can help you find the right candidates for your list when they are searching through a lot of job postings. To write an effective job description, include:

  • Job title and purpose
  • Primary duties and responsibilities
  • Eligibility of preference and preference
  • Necessary and preferred skills
  • Working conditions

  1. Reducing search limits

Expanding recruitment search can lead to a more diverse selection of candidates. Announcing your job listing through a variety of mediums and a variety of platforms can encourage more people to apply. Implementing a broad search can help your company get a different perspective and attract qualified candidates that will benefit your company.

First, advertise each opening in your company to allow internal applications to transfer or progress. Then, publish the status as an opportunity for referrals by current employees. Finally, advertise your position externally using a wide range of platforms, including company websites, company social media, professional networking sites or forums, social media sites, industry-related associations, university or alumni associations, newspapers, and radio.

  1. More to talk about than listening to a candidate

The goal of the interview is to hear whether the candidate is suitable for the post. Dividing your interview into two parts, in which you first ask questions about the qualifications and qualifications of the candidate, can improve the productivity of your interview before giving them more information about the role. If your questions are answered incorrectly, you can save time by concluding the interview without providing further information.

To make sure you listen more than you speak, ask your candidates open questions. You are more likely to hear long, developed answers to your questions. Allow occasional silence, as it may give the candidate new ideas to clarify the answer or about their experience or skills.

  1. Failed to conduct a phone interview

Conducting a pre-interview can increase efficiency in your process. Short phone interviews can eliminate some candidates before they are scheduled as personal appointments. These pre-interview resumes may clarify the details or present question marks on the ability of the candidate to meet the requirements.

After reviewing the promising resume, contact the candidate to schedule a pre-interview. A pre-interview can be a quick 10-minute phone call to inquire about pieces of their resume that aren’t obvious. For example, if a candidate has listed conflict resolution skills, you can guess the meaning and use of these skills, but in a pre-interview, you can ask for an explanation. You can also see if the candidate is still interested in the position by phone call. Here are some questions you may want to ask during the pre-interview:

  • Can you tell me about your current or past experiences and how they prepared you for this role?
  • What kind of work environment and management style do you prefer?
  • Are you currently interviewing at any other company?
  • If you are hired, when are you available to get started?

  1. Hurry up the recruitment process

Taking your time to follow the company hiring protocol can help you find the right candidate for the first time and avoid having to repeat your appointment process. While this can delay the hiring process, it can save you money and time in the future because you have hired someone who meets the job description requirements. Expand your search, accept more candidates or conduct more interviews until you feel confident about your choice for the role.

  1. Forget about involving the rest of your team

Sometimes it can be helpful to seek guidance on your decision to hire. Department managers may rely on some soft skills or they may want new employees to acquire specific knowledge. One of your team members may notice the characteristics of the candidate you missed, such as not fitting into the work culture or lack of essentials.

You can ask other team members to sit down for an interview, either in person or over the phone. You can also set up second-round interviews with department managers. Or you can request a second opinion on the resume with probability. Using teamwork to hire the right person can help increase your company’s productivity.

Should you be aware of recruiting mistakes while hiring

Most experienced employees understand that career-length compensation increases and decreases over time, rather than continuing as a continuous line. There may also be reasons why an experienced candidate wants to work for your company – even if they are step-down and underpaid. For example, if your company offers a better work-life balance than their previous employer, they will get the opportunity. And after losing jobs due to covid, many seemingly qualified people will be looking for work. Here’s why you should give these candidates a different look: They are often quicker to train and require less supervision. They can serve as mentors for young, less-experienced managers and individual contributors. The places that are going for a manager can also make planning succession easier. And they can bring fresh ideas and perspectives based on their experience. If you are worried about whether their skills are up to date or if they are instant learners, ask them, “What did you learn recently?” Also, test their skills.

For years now, forward-looking companies have been looking for “culture ads” rather than “culture fits” as they work to diversify their workforce. Culture Ad is about hiring people who match your core values ​​but also adding unique skills, perspectives, or life experiences that will help us grow as a team and business. In fact, if you are still hiring candidates because you think they fit into your current team, you have a better chance of falling prey to unconscious bias that undermines diversity efforts. Often referred to as a “beer test” – like, do you want to pint with this candidate? – Decades of recruitment have shown that focusing on culture fit creates a lack of diversity in teams. And research has shown that a lack of diversity means a lack of innovation and a tendency to perform poorly overall.


Recruitment is hard. And in the buyer’s market, there is always the possibility that sometimes the process is slow or the wrong appointment is made.

However, companies need to understand that recruitment is a team game in which the entire organisation must participate. And although the recruitment team is a big part of the process, it is not necessarily the only responsible party.


  1. What makes a successful executive recruiter?

Successful executive employers use honesty to build trust. Recruiters are the guardians of the trust. As a recruiter, you need to build trust with both companies and candidates. Since your ultimate goal is to create a pair of interests for both parties, a reputation for honesty is essential.

  1. Why do recruitment attempts fail?

Common problems include lack of proper information about the interview process, ineffective communication, and poor management of candidates. Taken together, it can have a negative impact on your recruitment strategy.

  1. What are the common errors in recruitment?
  1. Does not create an accurate job description.
  1. Failed to consider recruitment from within.
  1. Relying too much on the interview.
  1. Using unconscious bias.
  1. Hiring people who are less qualified than you.
  1. Reject more qualified candidates
  1. Waiting for the right candidate.
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