7 Recruiting Myths That Mislead and Derail Us


Mark Twain once said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Too often, small business owners let these seven recruiting myths derail their ability to attract and hire the people they need to grow their business and achieve their goals. The way to get the most out of your recruiting efforts is to look at what you “know for sure,” and then examine whether it is true.

Here are seven common recruiting myths that prevent you from hiring the best people.

To hire good people, you need to pay high salaries.

Great candidates want more than a paycheck. While a fair salary is important, they also want to know why their work matters, how they can contribute to making a difference, and what it will be like to work for your company. They need to know that your business shares their personal values. When you communicate why what they do matters, you will find great people who have a passion for their work instead of caring only about the size of their paycheck.

It’s impossible to know the truth about your candidates from an interview.

Interviews are the most common way small businesses read a candidate’s values. In some cases, it’s the only tool used to choose employees. A common interviewing mistake I see small businesses make is copying interview questions used by others and hoping to achieve the same results. We tend to stick with the easy questions that every candidate has researched the “correct” way to answer. Instead, create Insightful Interview™ questions that reveal the truth about your candidates.

Experience is essential because training people takes too long.

When you hire a more junior person who is smart and able to learn quickly, you can save time and money. Consider the impact of waiting to hire someone with experience. The costs of overtime and lost productivity due to stress and low morale often far exceeds the investment of your time to provide training. Keep in mind that teaching and coaching someone is a more positive way to spend your time than dealing with the problems caused by leaving a position open too long.

To be successful, a college degree is a necessity.

More and more, if you are considering only college graduates, you may be overlooking the most creative, innovative, and skilled candidates, especially among Millennials. Because they are a generation raised with information instantly available, they are self-directed learners. If they want to learn something, they download a book, watch a YouTube video, or visit an online community filled with experts ready to share their knowledge. They are also great teachers, willing to share their knowledge with others.

Millennials are lazy and entitled.

Millennials are committed workers. They will work hard for things that are important to them and in fields where they can make a difference. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t looking for a fast track to the top. According to a Harris Interactive survey for CareerBuilder, 61 percent of 25-34-year-olds surveyed believe they should be promoted within 2-3 years if they’re doing a good job. Make sure to have frequent performance conversations and let them know what their career path looks like.

Technology is a great recruiter.

Automated recruiting systems mainly focus on screening out unqualified candidates. They mechanically score resumes against lists of skills and keywords. The results are predictable—you miss qualified people. Instead, you waste time on applicants who have the right keyword match but who may be completely incapable of successfully doing the job.

The big companies take all the good people.

Being small is an advantage most organizations don’t leverage. They get stuck in the “we can’t because we don’t have money for high salaries, generous benefit plans, or [insert other cool perks here].” Instead, they should focus on what they can offer and use that to attract great candidates. “Robert Versteeg, head of human resources at Witlox Van den Boomen, said, “I don’t have the budget, time, or team, but I’ve learned to compete through our two main assets: our talent and our story.”

I dare you to boldly challenge these myths, to break free from the endless cycle of bad hiring decisions and costly employee turnover and join the world of hiring the right people. If you need some insights to help you get started, schedule your insight session todaycall mesend an email, or text RECRUITER to 44222 to get a free sample of The YOLO Principle. And, the best part is that it’s FREE!


Rebecca Barnes-Hogg, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is The Small Business Hiring Expert and works with small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to end their struggle to hire the right people. She is the author of the upcoming book, The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business, and a co-author of Rethinking Human Resources. She can be reached at 843-779-YOLO (9656) or rebecca@yoloinsights.com.