startup office common space

4 Mistakes Startups Make in the Hiring Process

Hiring is a crucial part of a company’s growth. Any mistakes you make in the hiring process will cost you time and money. At our recent HR Quarterly Event, three Talent Acquisition experts talked about common errors and how to avoid them. Here are the top four mistakes:

1. Failure to define individual roles on the interviewing panel.

Angela Mekosh, Talent Acquisition Manager at Taboola says, “Everybody on an interview panel needs to understand what they’re supposed to be assessing.” While consensus hiring is great, not everyone’s voice should be equal in the decision-making process. Everybody on an interview needs to understand what they’re supposed to be evaluating.

Divvy up responsibilities based on expertise. Let’s say you’re hiring a salesperson who needs to have some basic technical knowledge. One person on the panel should drill down and see if the candidate has that knowledge. Another person can focus on the candidate’s contacts within the industry, and somebody else can evaluate general cultural fit.

2. Not considering how the candidate will evolve in their role with the company.

Mekosh also said: When evaluating sales candidates, think about how the person may evolve in the role. For example, you may be hiring a junior person who is going to be back-office, but they’ll be working on the largest account. Some people evaluating candidates say, “we can’t put them in front of this client.” But they’re not going to be in front of the client right away. Two to three years down the lines they’ll grow into being client-facing. You need to account for all of that in your evaluation.

3. Not providing adequate training to sales leaders who will be interviewing candidates.

Sally Bolig, Head of Talent Acquisition at Yotpo says, “Another mistake that we made early on is assuming that just because someone is an amazing sales leader, that they know how to interview. That is not necessarily the case.” The recruitment team needs to take initiative to coach interviewers and help them understand how to interview better.

Interviewers should understand what they’re interviewing for and what can and cannot be accomplished in an interview. It’s not possible to go on a first date with someone and evaluate whether you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with them. But many interviews try it.

4. Asking clichéd interview questions rather than trying to learn the candidate’s values and assessing how they’ll fit in on your team.

Liz Tran, VP of Portfolio Talent at Thrive Capital: Job candidates go on interviews with startups and will oftentimes answer the same questions over and over again: Where are you from, where did you go to school, tell me about your job. Those clichéd questions don’t tell you much about the candidate’s personal qualities and values.

Tran says, “If Sally’s interviewing, then I’m like ‘Sally, okay. Here’s your directive: I’m on your team. I’m showing up to meetings late constantly. You know there’s probably something going on in my home life but you need to give me feedback that being late is not appropriate.’ So, you see how much compassion and empathy that person has.”

She suggests recruiters get creative with your questions and think about how you can get to know people holistically.

These actionable insights were drawn from the Common Startup Hiring Mistakes segment of CloserIQ’s recent HR Quarterly event.

James Meincke

James is the Head of Marketing @ Demodesk, the intelligent meeting platform for remote sales. Previously he was the Director of Marketing at CloserIQ.