Your Keys to Avoiding Hiring Mistakes

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I’ve done everything wrong at least once, which is how I learned to do things (more often) the right way.

One of my first clients decades ago was making a key admin hire, and he found a lady who was the absolute perfect right fit for the job. He was so excited for me to meet her.

She showed up with her resume written colorfully and creatively on a parchment scroll (my first missed clue that this may not be the perfect admin person). Then at some point during the interview, she sat criss-cross-apple-sauce style on the floor and continued from there. She was lovely and creative and warm and so engaging and had glowing references and was an absolutely horrible fit for the role as we both discovered in about week two of her tenure. She was not an administrator. We let her go and she left in tears and we felt awful and I learned a few more things about how to not hire.

A few hundred hires in, I’ve added some more skills to the tool belt. So here are the stars that must align when you’re making a hire. Ignore any of them at your peril:

Core values: Your hire must fit the core values of your leadership and company culture. Whether it’s quality, accuracy, hard work, or whatever. She must fit. When a new hire doesn’t work out, over 80% of the time it’s due to a core values mismatch. Don’t skip this step. Ask who their influencers are. Dig deep on this question.

DISC Match: Is the person cut from the right cloth from a personality perspective? Our lovely admin mishire was an Inspiring/Supportive. Great person, wrong personality for the job. We couldn’t mentor her into loving working with detail all day. Join the more than 5000 business leaders who use our free DISC Personalities assessment every month. Run your candidates through it as well to find out if they’re a fit. You can access it for free here:

Skills fit: Make a basic scorecard of what you want your candidate to accomplish within 12 months of hire. Once the interview is done, ask yourself if you can see them accomplishing that list based on their job and life history.

History of winning: The best indicator of future performance is past performance. Have they encountered challenges and overcome them, or did they take their ball and go home once the going got tough? Did past supervisors try to hang on to them? Were they pulled from job to job?

I understand good people are hard to find. But the more of them you have, the more you get. So take your time and wait for the right person. Don’t settle for an okay person. You’ll thank me one day for this advice!

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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