8 APRIL 2016

With 46% of new hires quitting in the first 18 months, it’s more important than ever to get the recruitment process right. The Source’s Sanne Gruter shares five of the biggest hiring mistakes – on both sides of the table. 

1. Unclear expectations of what the role entails

One of the biggest mistakes made by time-poor internal recruitment teams is to pull position descriptions straight out of the archives. They haven’t thought through what they really need, or how the position aligns with other roles in the organisation. Consequently, the candidate comes to the interview with an irrelevant set of role requirements that don’t reflect what they will actually be doing if they land the job. 

2. Wrong motivations

A bigger pay package is not a great reason for going for a new job, nor is location. Research on workplace happiness and well-being has revealed that it’s the day-to-day job content, perks such as travel and the people you work with that really drive job satisfaction. 

From the employer’s perspective, hiring the first ‘okay’ candidate because you need someone fast is a mistake. Accept that the recruitment process takes time, and resist the temptation to make a hurried decision. Remember, it can be very difficult (and expensive) to get rid of a bad hire. 

3. Unreasonable salary expectations

It’s important to be clear about remuneration expectations on both sides. We’ve seen employers who provide a salary range but are unprepared to negotiate at the top of that range. Be clear also on what type of candidate would suit the bottom part of the range, and who would be suitable for the top bracket. Remember, if candidates haven’t been in the job market for a while, they will often have unrealistic expectations of salary. 

Don’t underestimate the value of having a third party manage the conversation. Candidates aren’t as open and honest with the employer as they are with the recruiter. There’s a lot of psychology involved in trying to “dislodge” a passive candidate from a long-term role - it’s not just about the financials at this point. 

4. Underestimating the competition

Candidates often think they are the only ones going for the role, when they’re actually up against tough competition. While recruiters won’t be able to share much about who you’re up against, it’s important that you don’t assume the role is a ‘walk in’. 

Recruiters should always ensure they qualify if they have any ‘competition’ wooing the candidate. Are they pursuing any other opportunities? Do they have any other offers on the table, and if so, how can you make a better offer? 

5. Failure to onboard new hires

With 46% of new hires quitting within the first 18 months (Forbes), careful onboarding is vital for retention. Shockingly, we’ve heard many times about people arriving at a new organisation to find nobody was expecting them. Successful onboarding includes creating an agenda for the new hire’s first week, ensuring they have a comfortable workstation, setting up 1:1 meetings with relevant stakeholders, and (most importantly), ensuring they have your undivided attention as they settle in. 

The Source is a boutique mid to senior and executive recruitment and search consultancy with national reach specialising in the procurement market. We provide tailored contract and permanent recruitment solutions to leading organisations in the Australian market. Visit or feel free to contact Sanne on +613 9650 6665 or at