Three Fatal Assumptions That Hiring Leaders Make (part 1)

I’ve worked with hiring leaders across a bunch of different industries, and my experience shows that people are making the same mistakes over and over again.

These are simple mistakes with even simpler fixes, but they can have a huge impact on the way that you hire and whether your company is able to attract top talent. If you don’t take steps to address these issues, you’re artificially limiting your talent pool and setting yourself up for failure.

In today’s article, I’m going to take a look at a few of these fatal assumptions, along with my top tips on how you can address them. And so without further ado, let’s get started.

The Fatal Assumptions That Hiring Leaders Make

1. Assuming that contracting jobs are bad

This is the single biggest assumption that I see derailing people’s hiring campaigns. A lot of hiring leaders assume that people who’ve had temporary or contract jobs aren’t any good and that other employers don’t want them.

What we need to remember is that COVID-19 and our current economy mean that a lot of people have been laid off or forced to accept alternative working arrangements. Some people take on temporary or contract jobs purely because they have families to feed and they need to take the first opportunity that comes their way.

The problem is that once you get into a contract job, it’s hard to get back out of it, precisely because of the fatal assumption that we’re talking about here. Hiring managers look at their resume and think, “Oh, they had a good job and now they’re a contractor, therefore nobody wants them.”

I recently talked to a CFO who said that one guy was thanking her for hiring them as a temp and believing in them. They’re now a director with a handful of people reporting to them in a SaaS company.

2. Putting too much faith in titles

Job titles come about in a variety of different ways, and they’re not always a description of what the person’s role is or what their capabilities are. Every company is different.

For example, some companies call their people financial analysts or financial managers, even though they’re really accountants. If you’re hiring a new accountant, you could easily think “these are all finance managers and not accountants”.

That’s why you need to read between the lines when it comes to people’s resumes. Don’t just look at their titles and the levels of their titles, because that can be misleading. The same person could be a VP at one company and a manager at another.

3. Assuming that managers don’t want to be individual contributors

Another big mistake I see is that people assume that if someone’s led a team, they have no interest in being an individual contributor.

We need to remember that people are often looking for growth and a cultural fit. Some people also find that they don’t enjoy management, or they think they’re better suited and can make more of an impact as an individual contributor.

The opposite can be true, too. Women in particular tend to hold themselves back, assuming that you’re more likely to hire them as an individual contributor to begin with and to progress them to a leadership role once their children are a little older.


These are just a few of the fatal assumptions that I come across time and time again when working with hiring leaders, but I’m sure there are plenty more. And so now it’s time to hand over to you so that you can share the fatal assumptions that you’ve come across, either by making them yourself or by seeing other people make them.

As always, I’d love to keep the discussion going, so be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments. You can also follow me on your favourite social networking sites for more. I’ll see you soon for another article!