Top tips to avoid risky recruitment errors


Recruiting new staff can be a headache for any business; finding the perfect candidate based on attributes on paper and potentially nervous interviews is a challenge.

For SMEs in particular, the recruitment period is a risky time. Whilst the business may no longer be micro-sized, it still relies on a valuable workforce, and with a staff headcount of 50-250, the new recruit must be able to fit into a strong work culture.

In 2016, The Annual Social Recruiting Survey cited that ‘60 per cent of recruiters believe culture fit is of highest importance when making a decision whether to hire or not’.

Despite the risks involved in recruitment, SMEs should not get bogged down in the negative aspects of hiring. By following a few simple steps, employers can avoid costly mistakes. The Oxford Group is one example of a successful SME; originally a start-up regional company, it has now transformed into a medium-sized global company about to celebrate three decades in business. This impressive growth and success is thanks to hiring the right people who share the same business mindset and core values.

Here are some tips from The Oxford Group, which will help SMEs (and larger companies!) hire the right candidate and minimise costs:

New talent and fresh thinking

SMEs often promote staff from within the business to ensure that someone fills the role with company knowledge and experience. Whilst this can be beneficial as the team member already has training and experience, hiring external candidates from outside of the company is a valuable addition to internal recruitment. New employees will provide different skills and fresh thinking, which is crucial for enabling SMEs to grow.

Value independence and autonomous action over reliance on the team

Teamwork is a brilliant skill, but the ability to work independently is often over-looked by employers, particularly in an SME where there aren’t large teams to share work. When looking for a candidate, you should take in to consideration how much self-sufficient work will be involved in the job, and whether the successful candidate will need to work easily on their own. The strength to switch between teamwork and autonomous work should be highly regarded as it demonstrates flexibility and organization.

Introductions are key

Introducing a candidate to the team should not wait until they start the job. Don’t be shy of letting your team meet candidates early on, as this will allow you to see how the right person for the job will fit seamlessly into the rest of the team. A good time to make introductions is after a second interview, before you make your final decision.

Taking candidates for a tour around the office will not only give them a sense of the company’s culture but also will allow the team to engage with potential new staff members.

Afterwards encourage staff to give you their honest opinions about the candidate. First impressions mean a lot, and although candidates will inevitably be nervous, your team will often be able to gather a good sense of the candidate from these initial meetings, which is a valuable input to your overall recruitment decision.

Don’t waste time

In a recent report by, it was revealed that the interview process is now longer than ever before, standing at ‘22.9 days on average’, up by ‘3.3 to 3.7 days since 2009’. In order to find a candidate who is the perfect fit for the job, the recruitment process will of course have to be thorough but don’t let it stretch out too long. You may need to act quickly or the candidate will take another job offer. Let candidates know how the recruitment process is progressing; this will shape their perception of your company and they are more likely to feel that they will be valued if they work for you.

About Olivier Herold

Olivier joined The Oxford Group in 2009 and since 2016 he has been CEO and is leading the global expansion of the company. He is a trilingual leadership and organisational change expert with a passion for leading & facilitating complex projects that provide smooth, integrated and sustainable solutions. Olivier’s passion lies in supporting organisations in their talent strategy, defining the competencies they will need tomorrow, and attracting, developing and retaining their people to meet that need.

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