Reduce Hiring Mistakes by up to 90% with These 4 Hiring Practices

As you might already know, hiring mistakes are incredibly expensive.  They are also unnecessary, distracting and avoidable.  Reducing hiring mistakes by up to 90% is very achievable with these 4 simple changes to your hiring process.

1.     Hiring Process is Flawed

The first step in reducing hiring mistakes is to evaluate the overall hiring process.  The hiring process for both candidates and companies hiring new employees is flawed.

In today’s environment, candidates come incredibly well prepared with perfect answers to any question you will ask them.  Any candidate that meets the minimum qualifications can appear to be the “perfect” candidate, if they decide they want the job.  The candidate has the advantage, not you.

Hiring companies are not off the hook either.  If a sales territory has been open too long or if current employees are tired of covering the workload of an open position, there is a temptation to hire the next person who can “fog this mirror.”  This is a recipe for successfully hiring an average performer.

Most companies set hiring goals like this:  Hire a new employee that has X degree/certification, Y years of experience and hire them within the next Z weeks.  What could possibly go wrong?

Instead, the answer is to systematically improve the hiring process.  Don’t hire the “best of what’s currently available.”  Be patient, ask better questions, and cut through the candidate’s “perfect” answers.  The result is that it’s much more likely you’ll hire a top performer instead of an average performer.

2.     Better Hiring Criteria

When writing a job posting, most companies set criteria for hiring in terms of degrees/certifications and years of experience.  The problem is that these factors are only somewhat predictive of on the job performance, not highly predictive of on the job performance.  This is the recipe for hiring average performers.

Instead, how about basing hiring decisions on finding candidates who can’t help doing the work that you need to have done?  If the position you are hiring for requires analytical skills, find someone who is analytical by nature and a person who analyzes things so naturally that they do it without thinking. 

Or, if you need someone to turn average performers into top performers, why not hire someone who is most excited when they get to help employees improve their job performance from good to excellent.  They do this naturally and without thinking.  It’s their favorite part of the job.

This is not a pipe dream.  The principles of human behavior can be used to improve employee, leader, team and company performance.  The challenge is that these proven principles are often not well-known, often overlooked or sometimes more advanced than the tools we are currently using.  These tools are available to any company that will use them.

 3.     Interviewing Skills

“Tell me about a time when…” was revealed (probably on a stone tablet) as the golden interview question of all time about thirty years ago.  And, granted, it is more effective than, “If you were a squirrel, what color squirrel would you be?”

The challenge with our interviewing skills is that we don’t dig deep enough in the right areas.  We ask questions about degrees, certifications and years of experience.  During the interview we also get a sense of the person’s personality and whether they will be a “fit.”  In the end, we decide whether we like them or not.  However, none of these factors (degrees, certifications, years of experience, personality or likability) are highly predictive of on the job performance.

The best predictor of on the job success is whether the person is wired (brain chemistry) to do the task that we want to have done.  Here’s an example.  Have you ever known a person that seemed to be able to do the job of 2-3 people?  They did the work effectively and efficiently.  They didn’t have to think about it and they made it look easy.  They seem perfectly wired to those particular tasks.  People who do the work of 2-3 others are rare, but they don’t have to be rare.  If we asked better interview questions, we would hire more 2-3x performers for our companies. 

So, “Tell me about a time when…” is a good start, but our interview questions should be geared to understanding how the job candidate is wired.  “You said that you like leading people.  What is it about leading people that you like?” “Why?”  “Isn’t leading people frustrating?”  “Can you give me another example?” 

Job candidates who are well rehearsed for the interview will only be able to provide one or two examples.  Job candidates who are perfectly wired to do the task will be able to provide an endless number of examples.   Ask for at least 3-5 examples and you’ll see the difference in candidates very clearly.

4.     Always Be Interviewing

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  How do you get better at interviewing?  One practice interview at a time.  Companies are quick to ask how they can “always be interviewing” when they aren’t hiring people all the time?  Great question.

When you schedule an interview, tell the candidate that you don’t currently have a position open.  Suggest to them that you’d like to meet with them, learn about them and tell them about your company so that, should the opportunity arise, you can both move quickly. 

In the process, you get to practice your interviewing skills.  Challenge yourself to find out what three factors make each person tick.  Because you’re not trying to make a hiring decision, you’ll also start to see insights that you wouldn’t otherwise see.

The other key benefit of interviewing frequently is that you gain market intelligence about what’s going on with customers, potential customers and competitors.  Again, you’ll gain insights you would have missed otherwise.


As promised, the hiring practices recommended are simple and straightforward.  Hiring mistakes are avoidable, quite distracting and unnecessary.  What will you do with the money you save by reducing hiring mistakes by at least 90%?



Jim Connolly is Founder & CEO of OrgEx, Inc.  OrgEx, Inc. helps companies systematically apply principles of human behavior to improve operational performance and financial results. 

 Jim is a sought-after speaker who uses humor to challenge the thinking of his audiences.  Jim understands how people think and uses that knowledge to equip, cajole and inspire audiences.  He has spoken to audiences as large as 1,100 people.

 In his consulting practice, Jim helps clients with their most pressing people challenges, including:

  • Eliminating hiring mistakes
  • Reducing employee turnover
  • Underperforming teams – sales teams, project teams, leadership teams
  • Leader performance challenges
  • Resistance to organizational change efforts that are necessary to move the company forward
  • Systematically building toward record-setting and industry leading performance

 Whether it’s a company-wide issue or working with a specific department or team, we know how human behavior works so we know how to improve organizational performance and financial results.  Find out more at

Jim Connolly