Three key mistakes to absolutely avoid when recruiting

Three key mistakes to absolutely avoid when recruiting


3 Mistakes to Avoid when Hiring for a Small Team scaled - Your People Partners

Last updated: November 2nd 2023

Applies to: Business Owners and Hiring Managers​


Are you about to take on the hiring process? Worried about making mistakes and making the wrong decision when recruiting for your company? If you’re a small business owner, you know that hiring the right person for your team is crucial.

Like you, we understand that good and bad recruitment can make or break a company, and we want to help yours thrive.

Here are the three key mistakes to absolutely avoid when recruiting

  • Values alignment: Not paying attention to how their values align with your own
  • Panic hiring: Hiring too quickly and not taking enough time to get to know them
  • Not switching up your management for remote employees: Thinking it’s easy to manage, and a less hands-on approach is needed because they’re working remotely


Mistake 1:

Not paying attention to how their values align with your own.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are that your company’s culture is crucial to your continued success and growth. You want someone who shares those same core beliefs and will be able and willing to contribute.

If you don’t explore what your candidate stands for and believes in during the hiring process, it can be difficult to manage when you discover they’re at odds with you.

I’m not talking about political beliefs or religion. What I am urging you to do as part of your hiring is explore how they would deal with tricky clients. What is their thought process when a colleague misses a key deadline? Are they a helper, a nurturer or do they blame clients and colleagues when things go wrong?

Here is how to explore this in an interview process:

  • Share a scenario that you’d like them to explore at the interview stage.
  • Tell them about the trickiest client situation you’ve ever had, and make it awful if you have to embellish (tell them you’ve done so);
  • and then ask them to share how they’d go about sorting things.
  • The key here is to add that if this situation arises, in this scenario, you and none of your decision-makers are available or contactable.
  • Give them a pen and paper, or whiteboard, or sticky notes.
  • Allow them to show you who they are and what they stand for by illustrating how they behave in a tricky situation. 
  • How they think will become clear when they answer.
  • What they believe in will also be shown by how they would deal with a very tricky client.
  • Their resilience and patience of mind will also show (or not!)

How does this example you can use at the interview stage show their values are aligned with your company’s values? Well, it shows you very clearly what their values are by their behaviours in a tricky situation. Everything is fine, and everyone can be aligned when times are good. It is when we’re tested that aligned values are vital.

Please don’t make the mistake of asking what they think of your company values. They’ll usually tell you what you want to hear. 

Mistake 2:

Their personality has to add to your company culture.

If you only rely on their skills and what they say they can do for you and ignore their cultural fit, this is a risky approach.

You’re better off having someone not as experienced yet add to your team than an A-player who is a nightmare to work with (and who your team and customers really don’t gel with).

Whilst it may take them more time to develop the skills you need fully, they’ll be a better person in your team if they fit and add to it.

Large companies can get away with hiring people who don’t necessarily add to the culture. Whereas smaller teams of 3 to 30 people benefit from hiring people they like and add to the team, and are very quickly shaken if they rub up against the culture.

Mistake 3:

Getting your remote working disciplines, expectations and ‘rules’ right.

If you hire someone on a remote or hybrid basis and are not a trusting manager, this relationship is doomed before it even has a chance to blossom.

While rewarding remote working can be helpful to the company in many ways, it is incredibly frustrating for you and the new team member at times as well. Some of these negative feelings can arise from feeling isolated or unappreciated; luckily, there are various techniques that you, the manager, can practice to counteract those feelings and create team unity more easily.

Managing a remote team member takes different skills and disciplines from you as their boss to optimise the relationship and their outcomes.


Check out our related articles:


Still need help?

If you would like more advice when it comes to the recruitment process, feel free to get in touch with the team at Your People Partners. We love to help!



author avatar
Helen Sanders Managing Director and Chief People Partner
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