The Real Risk in Recruitment and 4 tips to prevent it

Recruiting new staff is one of the most business-critical processes there is. Hiring new people gives you an excellent opportunity to bring in new expertise, a fresh outlook, someone who challenges the status quo, helping you to change your culture and really bring your business where you want it to be.

Why a Bad Hire isn’t so Bad

When recruiting, you might be afraid of a “bad hire”. Maybe you will be mainly focusing to avoid hiring someone who doesn’t have the right skills and will perform poorly, or who would not fit in the team. But, that is not the worst-case scenario (although it is very costly). Because in case of a bad hire, you will probably take your loss and let go of them after the first few months, which in the end will give you a second chance to hire the right person.

The real risk is, however, when you hire a mediocre employee.

Maybe you have been interviewing and you have found someone who for sure will be able to do the job to your satisfaction. They have the right experience and the desired technical skills. They also seem nice enough to probably get along with everybody. So you are tempted to hire them. Because they tick all the boxes, don’t they?

What is the risk?


Well, maybe you should consider adding some more boxes to tick before you decide. Because maybe you are now hiring someone that has the technical skills to do the job but that lacks the personal skills that would have added real value to your organization. Maybe you have just missed the change to hire a future leader, a challenger, or an innovator. That you settled for “good is good enough” instead of waiting for that person that will make the difference in your company and help you to bring the company forward. You have missed the change to hire a “great” employee.

How to avoid this risk

So, when the opportunity arises to hire new staff, make sure you do it thoroughly. To help you do this, here are four levels of perspective to help you with setting up the recruitment process.


  1. Technical skills and experience
    Determining the right technical skills and experience is usually the starting point of the recruitment process. When recruiting, the employee should have the right skills and expertise to be able to do the required job. At the same time, you should have a clear view if it is really necessary they’d have all the required skills and expertise, or that you are open to train people in the areas they lack expertise. Make sure to really make your mind up on this. Usually, it is easier to develop these technical skills than personal skills so you might want to compromise on this level rather than on the other levels. In other cases, however, the required technical expertise might be non-negotiable and then you should not be tempted to decrease standards.


  1. Contribution to your strategic goals
    The second perspective to select your new employees is to see what value they will add to your strategic long-term goals. The new hire is one of the resources that will help you realize your long-term goal so it is important to translate the organization strategy to your recruitment process. If you are looking to expand your products or if you want to pursue new markets, the hiring process is the perfect opportunity to buy expertise that might currently not be available within your company.
  1. Personal skills and mindset
    Finding the right personal skills and mindset is critical. Usually, it is quite hard to train people on this so make sure the people have the right personal skills and mindset in the selection process. How you’d deal with this level of requirements depends on your starting point. If you have an organization with a strong company culture that is also your desired culture and you are looking for more junior employees, you can select the ones with an open mindset who you’d expect to adapt easily. But if you want to change your current company culture, you might want to look for people with a background in a culture that you would want for your company.


  1. Mission and core values and mission
    Last, but not least, you want to hire people who believe in the same mission and share the same core values as your company. This might be so crucial that some companies select on core values in the first round, and only after they find a match on this level, they look at skills and expertise. You will need to have an explicit and authentic set of values and a strong mission to be able to do so and build this in your employer brand, like this company did.


It is important to think about what you are looking for when it comes to skills and mindset before you start interviewing candidates. And stick to it. Make sure you ask the right questions and be consistent. If the candidates don’t match on the crucial points, keep looking!