10 Tips to Avoid Bad Hiring Decisions

How to avoid bad hiring decisions

Have you ever wondered how can you tell if a job candidate is lying during an interview? Some people may say...

Trembling hands.


Red face.

No eye contact.

But, do you think these are traits of someone lying or just someone very nervous under the stress of being judged and getting a job?

Honestly, it could be either.

So, unless you’re a psychologist or a detective, it’s worth taking a more robust approach when it comes to sussing someone out.

To be clear, this is not about tricking people or tripping anyone up. It is purely about taking proactive steps to ensure that you make the right decision.

Here’s how you can do it:

1. Create an atmosphere that encourages honesty

If you can encourage them to be honest with you, without fear of repercussions, they will be more inclined to be truthful when it comes to the reason for leaving their last company

2. Introduce hiring tests to complement your interview

For example, if you want to hire a hairdresser, watch them cut hair. If you want to hire a waitress, ask them to wait on tables for 15 minutes. If you want to hire a dog walker, take them out with you to see how they cope. Or if you want to hire a coder, give them a whiteboard and a problem to solve. You are looking for EVIDENCE to prove they have the skills they claim to have.

3. Ask the same question twice

If they tell the story differently or contradict themselves, call it out and see how they react.

4. Watch out for them being too vague in their answers

You can use the probing interviewing technique to draw out the information you need. This is asking more questions to get them to expand on their answer and see if they struggle with the details. If they do, it’s probably a made-up answer.

5. Ask to see proof

For example, if they claim to have a degree or professional qualification in something, ask them to bring their certificates to the interview.

6. Analyse their CV

When looking through a candidate’s CV, check the dates add up, or check if there is a considerable unexplained gap. Or maybe some vital pieces of educational details are missing, such as A-Levels, or their final degree grade.

7. Get references from their former employer

If they said they worked as a Marketing Manager for five years, ask their former employer. Sometimes people say this, but in reality, they’ve worked in a much more junior role. 

8. Take notes or use a scorecard

Use your ‘absolute yes’ list as a school card that allows you to score each person to see how comes out best on paper. Never used one before? I’ve explained how to create one below.

9. Watch out for ‘we’

Sometimes people tell you a story, but they focus on’ we’. If so, ask them to focus on their specific contribution, and what they did, to avoid them taking credit for someone else’s achievements.

10. Get a second opinion

You can ask a friend to interview with you to see who they think is the most genuine and who you would work best with.


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