Hiring Mistakes Companies Make and How to Avoid Them

Top 6+ Hiring Mistakes Companies Make and How to Avoid Them

Effective interviewing is a key component of a superior hiring process. While we may all be searching for new team members in slightly different ways during this pandemic, it is a good time to highlight how managers depend on candidate interviews to give them a window into the business (and even personal) lives of the people they are considering for open roles; and how making the wrong choices today could negatively alter the dynamics of your workplace once we emerge.

Choosing the right candidate will enhance your talent brand and breathe new life into your organization. Hiring in the Clinical, Molecular Diagnostics, Genomics and Genetics sectors during quarantine does not change the basic premise of an interview. Whether for sales or engineering, operations, logistics support, development or anything in between, managers make mistakes during those interviews, and these can be made more possible in the remote hiring practices we operate under today.

At the same time we at Cerca Talent+ are offering a powerful new tech stack, for free, to our clients to make remote hiring far more effective, we thought we would remind you today of the top six shortcomings you can face while seeking new talent for your team…so that you might avoid them.

1. Failure to conduct background checks and references early in the process. This is a basic premise of the hiring process that should be one of the first tasks performed. Some hiring teams don’t do this at all, let alone early on, yet background checks will prove essential in hiring some one you may not actually meet face-to-face for another two months.

The Society of Human Resources Management says 22 percent of companies only check the backgrounds and references for certain candidates, while two percent don’t contact references at all. Researching the background of a potential candidate will provide invaluable insight into what it’s really like to work with or manage someone in your field whose reputation you may not know.

Anyone can put on a good face during an interview and impress the hiring team.  References can provide you with additional insights that will allow you to plan an interview strategy and even prepare a management style with the new potential employee.

2. Taking too long in the process. Moving at the right pace is especially essential today. Within the still highly competitive marketplace that is Clinical and Molecular Diagnostics, hiring managers may feel a long recruitment process, with exhaustive vetting procedures and several rounds of interviews, is the best way to weed through all the candidates to find the “diamond in the rough”.

Surprisingly, though, the practice of “slow hiring” can be extremely damaging. Not only can you lose your best candidates who are in the highest demand by making them wait through the late stages of your recruitment process, you’re losing revenue and productivity due to vacant positions that are open for far too long. By preparing a consistent yet expedient hiring process, your team should be able to gather the insights necessary to make a hiring decision and do so without risk of losing the best candidates.

3.  Moving the process along too quickly. On the other side of things, hiring too quickly means you lose the upper hand through the elimination of proper vetting research. Not only that, the best candidates need to know more about your company, and you are the one who is looking to offer them a wonderful career “next step”. This doesn’t present your company in the best light if you are willing to take on whoever walks through the door and demonstrates even the slightest amount of competence.

4.  Hiring your clone. Hiring managers often make the mistake of zeroing in on those candidates who are most like themselves, i.e., went to the same college and were a part of the same fraternity, mutual interest in golf, involved in the same types of charities. It’s natural to connect with others on a personal level. After all, who doesn’t want to work with someone that’s just like them and has all the same interests?

Problem is, you could be putting yourself in a precarious position with committing discriminatory hiring practices, plus the end goal should be to hire people who challenge each other’s perspectives and push boundaries beyond your own thinking. A diverse workplace will thrive.

5.  Failure to conduct a consistent interview process. Make sure you ask similar candidates all the same exact questions to keep it consistent across the board. Failure to do so could put you in violation of discrimination laws — not to mention, it just makes your decision easier at the end when you know the playing field has been leveled.

The obvious end goal is to select the best possible candidate for the open position on your team. Establish a standard process that allows you and the other stake holders in the company to determine who the best candidates are for the job. Make sure you take the candidate into consideration, because part of your job is to “sell” them on why you and your company are right for them.

6.  Not clearly identifying — in writing —the precise profile of talent you are looking to hire. Hands down, the single most expensive hiring mistake is not taking the time to think through, on paper, exactly who you are looking to bring to the team. Make sure you have an up to date job description that accurately reflects the role and the requirements of the job. David Finkel, Author of the Freedom Formula, suggests that, at a minimum, you consider:

  • What key responsibilities do you expect this person to take on?
  • What deliverables will this person need to produce?
  • What skillsets must he or she have?
  • What experience set must they have to be successful in this role?
  • What educational requirements (if any)?

At Cerca Talent+, we would also add:

  • Proven top 10% achievement in the area or discipline you are considering hiring the person for;
  • good fit culturally with the organization and the hiring manager’s team;
  • positive attitude and focus; and
  • A willingness and aptitude for learning (that desire to go through constant and continuous improvement).

When you start with this written description, then and only then can you begin to craft the right recruitment strategy, prepare your interview questions, and start to talk with candidates about the position.


Too many companies rush through or skip over these essentials and risk making the wrong hire.  Do you have more reminders? 

Use the comments in our blog to add to the discussion.


Scott Rivers is the Managing Director of Cerca Talent+, a talent agency for the Diagnostic and Life Science Industries. Scott’s recruiting experience extends into the areas of Diagnostics, Life Sciences, Oncology and Genetics. His team manages recruitment for all levels within the commercial area of these businesses.

As a leader who has worked at all levels of commercial, medical sales and global marketing, Scott is an intense professional who works with organizations to fine tune talent branding. If you are a leader looking to expand your team with professionals who are focused on delivering work in which they take pride, and you can be proud of, ever day, then Scott would be privileged to help you in the process. Having been a professional in the fields where you focus, Scott knows the ins and outs of the companies, the business and the customers you are working to come alongside.


Cerca Talent+ is a full-service Executive Search Firm with a strategic focus in the the areas of Clinical Diagnostics, Molecular Diagnostics and Oncology, Genomic and Genetic Medicine. Our clients choose to work with Cerca because of our deep understanding of the industries we serve. They continue to work with us based on our extensive market knowledge, vast connections and quality of results.

That’s a good match for any company. Partner with the group that can talk shop and gain rapport with the pros who will lead your business into the future. Email Scott Rivers today at srivers@cercatalent.com, or call direct at 201-594-2101, and we will begin the process of finding you Allstars that help you set records.















Helping clients build world class teams as a recruiting leader in Oncology, Genetics, Diagnostics and Life Sciences

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