Top Ten Shipwrecks of Hiring Mistakes

Shipwrecks are defined as employees who turn out to be bad hires.  Here are some hints to avoid “shipwrecks.”

By Mark Debinski
February 14, 2020

According to Mark Debinski of Bluewater Advisory, a consulting and recruiting firm specializing in talent management, “shipwrecks” are defined as employees who are bad hires. And they cost companies three to five times the salary of the employees who did not work out. Many business owners and human resource directors feel their recruiting jobs stop when the new employee starts. But if the hire is a “shipwreck” then job failure is a given. And then the hiring process will need to be repeated, with the company losing money and opportunity. Many times job failure is also directly linked to the lack of a well-thought out orientation and new hire training process...but that is commentary for another blog. For now, here is the list of the top 10 hiring mistakes:


  1. My biases made me hire: There are unconscious and conscious biases that managers have.
  2. Self-mirroring mirage: Self-mirroring behavior is a tragic hiring mistake.
  3. Rushing to fill the slot: This is the most costly and easily avoidable mistake.
  4. Poor at interviewing, poor at hiring: Individuals charged with hiring must be trained.
  5. Flawed interviewing processes: There is no excuse for not being prepared.
  6. The favorite son (or daughter, or nephew): Ideally the family member has worked somewhere else first.
  7. Groupthink: This can be evident in a company culture that is reticent to conflict with management.
  8. Rite of passage promotions: Proficiency in one position doesn't guarantee proficiency in another.
  9. Weak candidate pool: With today's technology, there is no excuse not to develop ongoing and strong pools of candidates.
  10. Getting romanced or sold: Some candidates are masters at this. Use objective tools not just subjective “gut” feelings.

Source: The Hiring Compass: How to Navigate the Talent Pool Paradox and Avoid Hiring Shipwrecks -

Topics: Management

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