High Performance: Avoid common hiring mistakes

February 9, 2015 -  By

In the course of my 30 years in management, I’ve hired thousands of people. Some were excellent and some were not. The interesting thing is that my “gut feeling” was not always the best way to judge talent. I’ve learned over the years that it’s much better to follow a defined hiring process and try to take the emotion and personal judgment out of it.

Jack Welch, long-time CEO of General Electric (GE) and author of “Winning”, once said that even after spending several thousands of dollars per new hire at GE, the company could never predict what employees would work out, who would fail and who would become superstars. In other words, hiring managers should not be discouraged when there is a failure. Instead, they should simply shake it off and move on to the next candidate.

One common hiring mistake is not having a defined hiring process. Following a step-by-step process provides consistency and promotes adherence to best practices. A few examples of best practices are to have two people conduct interviews together to reduce bias, to have prepared interview questions to ask each candidate uniformly and to ask situational interview questions. Each of these best practices is routinely missing from the all-too-common approach of “just winging it.”

Another common hiring mistake is to hire when you’re not planning to hire. This happens when an owner or hiring manager meets someone and is enthralled with the person. Process and judgment go out the window, replaced by hopes and dreams. Inevitably, these hires don’t work out. If you’re not planning to hire someone based on the needs of the company, avoid falling into this trap.

We have assembled a step-by-step process for our clients. If you would like a free copy of this, we’d be happy to share it with you. Simply email me at to request a copy. Be sure to reference this blog post in your email.

Now go forth.


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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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