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Long time readers of my material will be aware of the sort of qualities I believe are necessary to be a successful recruiter. Specifically my eBook, Succeed Quickly or Fail Slowly, goes into detail (with examples) of the top five competencies of highly effective recruiters.

What I haven’t written about is the opposite end of the (hiring) scale. In other words who not to hire as a recruiter. Given the many hiring mistakes I have made (or witnessed from my vantage point as a coach) I thought it would be worthwhile to share a few of my thoughts on this topic.

See if there is anyone you can recognise from the list of 8 below:


Who not to hire:   Victims

Why they get hired:  They talk a great game

Why they fail:  Nothing’s ever their fault or responsibility

Think:  Schapelle Corby

How to spot them:  ‘Personality conflict’ is their reason for leaving almost all of their jobs and their genuine accomplishments are very thin on the ground

Who not to hire:  People Pleasers

Why they get hired:  “They’re so nice, clients will love them”

Why they fail:  They would rather swim with sharks than make a marketing call

Think:  Melissa Doyle (Mel & Kochie from Sunrise)

How to spot them:  They never stop smiling and they judge their performance by how they feel, not what they achieve


Who not to hire:  Intellectuals

Why they get hired:  The letters after their name look impressive on your business cards

Why they fail:  They construct a lot of Excel spreadsheets rather than do anything useful that might lead to a placement

Think:  Antony Green (ABC election analyst)

How to spot them:  They remind you of your boring Uncle Brian

Who not to hire:  Perfectionists

Why they get hired:  They have a great answer to your behavioural question about attention to detail

Why they fail:  They endlessly research, review and correct rather than market, interview and go on visits

Think:  The QA Manager

How to spot them:  Their immaculate resume

Who not to hire:  Do-gooders

Why they get hired:  They really want to help people

Why they fail:  They help all the candidates other agencies don’t

Think:  Hugh Evans (2007 Young Australian of the Year)

How to spot them:  They have no sense of humour


Who not to hire:  Egotists  

Why they get hired:  Their self confidence is like a ray of sunshine compared to all the People Pleasers and Victims you currently have in your team

Why they fail:  They never get that recruitment is all about the other person, not them

Think:  Malcolm Turnbull

How to spot them:  Every other sentence begins with “I…”

Who not to hire:  Dorks

Why they get hired:  “I need someone to recruit accountants”

Why they fail:  Their phone manner would put your grandma to sleep

Think:  Kevin Rudd

How to spot them:  Nerdy glasses, boring haircut

Who not to hire:  Drama Queens

Why they get hired:  They seem to have a ‘great personality’

Why they fail:  They cry or throw a hissy fit when people say ‘no’ to them

Think:  Carson Kressley

How to spot them:  They roll their eyes and use lots of gestures


Who not to hire:  Barbie or Ken

Why they get hired:  They look great (really great!)

Why they fail:  They keep forgetting how to turn their computer on

Think:  Posh & Becks

How to spot them:  Their bleached teeth


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