Three Common Hiring Blunders And How Not To Make Them

Your practice is picking up speed and…

You. Need. Help.

It’s time to find the right person for that job. And in a perfect world, it would have been filled weeks ago, except you’ve been far too busy. But now you’re feeling the pinch and need to get it done!

Yet you feel uneasy…

Despite narrowing the job description and knowing what you want in an employee, you worry about making a mistake. You’re afraid of hiring the wrong person, possibly setting yourself up for trouble down the road.

You’ve heard the horror stories. From friends and colleagues… about that one employee who does more harm than good. Who should have never been hired. Who chases away clients and does her best to make your life miserable.

And you don’t want to go there… Smart!

The Problem

Hiring employees should be straight forward, but often it’s not.

After all, you’re not the only one involved. Two parties come to the table, each with their own agenda, doing their best to get what they want. And that takes work.

For you, as the employer, it’s essential to put in the work, particularly if you want to avoid the common hiring blunders, which are twice as likely to occur if you feel rushed to fill the position. 

3 Hiring Blunders

Hiring mistakes come in various shapes and forms.

For this article, I’ve grouped them across three traditional hiring activities: pre-interview, interview, and post-interview.

Pre-Interview Blunders

The work required to find the right employees starts long before setting up the first interview. And that’s where the first blunders enter the picture.

Some business owners fail to prepare. They don’t think through the hiring process like they might do if they owned a bigger business. And that’s a mistake.

No matter the size or the type of business, the hiring process has to be taken seriously; not rushed or half-baked. It requires adequate preparation.


Here are some of the common mistakes made during the hiring process.

  • Lack of clear job description. Start the hiring process by reviewing and, if need be, updating the job description. A useful job description should outline all duties required and the experience level needed. And if the job requires working closely with another employee, pull in that person to get additional input.
  • Lack of prepared questions. Don’t ever try to “wing it.” Instead, prepare for the interview by compiling a list of questions you will ask each interviewee. Be consistent here and don’t get tempted to free-form any of the interviews. You need information, data so you can compare and evaluate all applicants, which you can only do if you ask the same questions across the board. Also, prepare a list of common “work scenarios” for your office. Ask every applicant how they would handle each situation.
  • Lack of scoring system. Develop a simple scoring system to use with your questions and work scenarios. You could assign a score from 1 to 5 for each answer. Be sure to define and decide ahead of time what constitutes a low or high score. Document your scoring system. While this approach is not perfect, it’s a simple tool that lets you compare the answers between candidates.

Common Interview Blunders

Once you’ve decided on a handful of candidates to bring in for an interview, avoid the next set of common hiring blunders.

  • Lack of interview structure. You’ve developed a list of questions and work scenarios to ask during the interview. Don’t cast them aside and start “chatting.” Stick to the pre-defined flow of the interview as much as you can and don’t start improvising. If you do, you’re bound to forget things.
  • Allowing interruptions. Unless you set aside the time and place, people and electronic devices alike are bound to interrupt the interview. Don’t let this happen. Interruptions will take both you and the person interviewed off track. And consequently, you may end up forgetting to collect the information you need.
  • Not enough listening. Ask your questions and sit back… listen to what the applicant has to say. Resist the temptation to do most of the talking during the interview; instead, do most of the listening!
  • Relying on gut-feeling alone. While we all rely on gut-feeling, it shouldn’t be the primary source of your decision. There’s no doubt, first impressions and gut-feel matter; however, they should never replace the necessary hiring information gathering process.  At the same time, base your final decision on all data gathered, including your gut-feel.

Post-Interview Blunders

While you’ve finished the interviews and made your hiring decision, you’re not home free. There’s still plenty left to do. So watch out for these common mistakes businesses make after hiring employees.

  • Not checking references. You’ve asked for references, now use them! Don’t rely on the good impression the applicant made on you. And don’t give in to needing someone ASAP. Take your time to make the right hiring decision. Contact all references listed on the application, including previous employers.
  • No background check. Run a background check. Depending on the position to be filled, you may want to check for credit history, criminal record, prior convictions; and verify identity, education, and previous employment. While it may be tempting to bypass a background check, there is no reason to. Today, this service is offered for a relatively small fee by many companies. And a simple background check today, might just save you from a big headache tomorrow.
  • Lack of onboarding. You’ve made your decision, and it’s time to bring the new employee on board. What process do you have in place to orient the person to your clinic, to properly train them, and to make them feel welcome? Don’t do what some employers do, which is throwing them to “the wolfs.” Create steps to properly “onboard” your new employee. Not only will it make life easier for the “new one,” but it also increases the chance they will stick around.

In Summary…

Bringing on new employees may not always go according to plan…

Once there’s been a “bad hire,” the tendency is to be extra cautious. And it makes sense to take steps so that the same mistakes won’t repeat.

By focusing on all three phases of the hiring process, common hiring blunders can be avoided. When adequately preparing for the hire, conducting a well-planned interview, and taking the time to onboard the new employee, the likeliness of making common hiring mistakes is reduced.


We’d want to hear from you… Leave your comment below and tell us what you think. Join the conversation…


By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.






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  1. Great Information. I would add that including behavioral questions are a must now days.. The potential employee should be able to give you an example of what he/she did based on the question. I have conducted hundreds if not thousands of interview in my career and I never start by speaking. My first question, after the introduction, is: ” Tell me what is your understanding of this job?” Literally stopped few interviews after the person said something like, ” I don’t really remember, this is my interview number 3 this week”. I am always looking for someone who is ” hungry” for THIS job, not any job.

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