Company Culture

10 Lessons To Teach In Hiring Freezes & Headcount Reductions

Right now many businesses are freezing headcount and many have had to reduce their headcount by a significant amount.

Here are ten important lessons to help your business progress while it might feel like you cannot do anything proactive within your business, from interview training, to introducing proven frameworks and improving company culture.

  1. Interview Training – improve the department’s ability to interview and encourage the team to interview each other. This will improve skills and enable colleagues to get to know each other
  2. Introduce Management Pods – Improve management teams by introducing rotating management pods, connect small groups of managers and department leads to problem solve and tackle challenges together
  3. Improve Problem Solving – Introduce frameworks and templates to help address and reduce internal issues. One problem two solutions framework is the most popular free framework on Focus and will help your team tackle problems in an open way
  4. Create Two Up Two Across Matrix – Most managers and companies struggle to map out their team members’ career paths, creating the next two steps up or their side steps (helping members know they could become a Product Manager from Marketing or making the move from an expert to the management track is imperative)
  5. Improve Culture With Agreed Department Principles – many departments do not clearly define their sub-culture and do not clearly call out the right behaviours to be rewarded and the bad behaviours that won’t be tolerated
  6. Learn Good Management Traits – Following on from good management traits, learn what traits you and the team like from the department lead and what bad traits you have to remove
  7. Improve Pros and Cons with The Risk Vs Benefits Framework – Pros and cons is often considered the best way of breaking down issues or opportunities, optimise this with the Risk vs benefits, explaining why and think more deeply on nuanced matters
  8. Improve Internal Communications – the core lesson: Short powerful messages + repetition + simple analogies (+ repetition)  = internal communication wins (Never ever over communicate!)
  9. Have More Coaches & Mentors – Remove the stigma around mentors and coaches and look to develop your colleagues with mentorship and repurpose bad L&D practices like going to bad conferences to hiring more coaches.
  10. Review Your Managers Reviews – Quarterly performance reviews from staff members to their managers often stops at their manager reviewing it and often not progressing the advice. One way to remove this bad practice is to ensure the department leads and leader of the business reviews the peer-to-peer and managers’ reviews

Obvious But Always Overlooked Lessons: The most obvious many do not teach is budget management and how to put business cases together to succeed within your business.

Good luck and take this opportunity to grow your people and your business.

Like these lessons? If yes sign up for the weekly leaders letters newsletter

hybrid office Leadership Strategy

Free AOP and LRP Resources 

A dedicated list of free AOP and LRP resources from Focus.

Site data is a great indicator of what is happening in the market and how management teams are operating. From the focus data, it is clear to see what phase many companies are operating at and what activities they are undertaking. 

It is clear many businesses are in long-range planning or revisiting their annual company-wide strategy. 

Below are the most popular and most useful free resources to help you with your AOP’s (annual operating plan) and LRP’s (long-range planning).

Resource Link
(Click below to jump to the free resource)
Use Case / Why To Use
Annual Playbook Template For Company-Wide SuccessA free template to use to create your one company-wide strategy
The Difference Between Mission, Vision, Strategy & TacticsThe explainer behind why you need to understand the difference between mission, vision, strategy and tactics (and why you should concentrate on the flow of information)
The Focus Corporate Speak Bingo CardThe corporate buzzwords we overuse (this is extremely popular for LRP and creates fun moments when LRP are notoriously tense)
The Lessons From “Why Coinbase Shut Down Woke Activism”Lessons from Coinbase’s deliberate move to remove external political factors and focus on work. Great to understand if you want a top-down company culture or flowing culture
Andy Jassy’s Masterpiece MemoAmazon CEO’s comms masterpiece, a framework of how to use written communications to your whole company. 
Should Companies Remove Chat Apps Like Teams And Slack?A resource to help you understand if you removing instant messengers and chat apps like Teams and Slack will drive positive change within your business and remove the busy badge of honour
Hybrid Work GuideA free detailed hybrid work guide, 35 pages of actionable tips and tricks to make hybrid work for your business
Decision DocumentHow to improve communication within your organisation with an asynchronous document explaining key decisions and how the decisions were made and importantly why. 
Rethink The Leader – Manager – Coach – Mentor – Operator DynamicAn exercise to understand the different dynamics and a way to rethink if you need more managers or actually need to look for more coaches and external mentors
Free Internal Get To Know Each Other Profile TemplateSomething all businesses struggle with is getting to know colleagues and ways to formalise getting to know each other. This template is popular for new and promoted managers 
How To Fix A Toxic CultureSays exactly what it does on the tin, a guide on how to fix toxic and bad company culture

If you are looking to receive the best frameworks and insights on leadership, company performance and company culture, sign up below:

Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 112 – How do we work together to be successful? 

Dear leaders, the title of this week’s newsletter is simple. 

How do we work together to be successful? 

It is something that is rarely discussed and I believe is often the one missing part of conversations between colleagues and mostly between managers and their direct reports. 

In almost every working relationship I have had, there are a few questions I ask that enable you to build trust and understand each other quickly.

Three of my favourite questions I ask are: 

  1. How do you like to communicate? 
  2. What’s the best way for you to receive updates and how often?  
  3. Are you about the macro or the micro? 

These three questions will open up their working styles and help you to understand how you should communicate with them. 

Don’t be surprised if some people like the ‘micro’ and micromanagement, it is the one area we all think we hate, however, many know this is how they are going to be successful in their job.

Following these questions, it is important to say how you like to work and how you will or should provide updates. 

Common ground is essential, especially the more senior you become and work seems more politically charged

Hybrid Complexities: In a hybrid work world, we are going to see face-to-face become a real challenge unless you have set days, however, it is important that face-to-face can be replaced with video or audio calls (and likely should be if calendar conflicts). Slack or teams channels are noise that should be cut down and you leverage decision documents and more asynchronous work styles. 

Scale? An important note, communication styles and updates don’t scale very well if you have a direct reporting line of over 20 as it becomes a juggle versus being effective and making sure the comms lands as best as possible. 

Shared To Win: This is where department principles will work great for you as a department lead. 

Over the next week and if you are in a place where you are hiring and backfilling roles, ask these three questions and build out a better, more effective working style. 

Thanks and have a great week. 

Danny Denhard

Three Articles To Be Inspired By:

Should businesses remove chat apps like teams and slack? 

Can you be inspired by Spotify’s fully remote working style?

Are you embracing the digital presence? 


What To Learn From Mikel Arteta’s Emotional Dressing Room Team Talk On All or Nothing Arsenal

Many starting out on their leadership journey fail to tell their story.

They fail to tell their why, the something that makes them unique, the problems they have faced and the problem they are facing together.

“Leaders lead” is often seen as an alpha phase often seen as a stoic phrase, however, what Mikel does here is far more important.

Arsenal Head Coach Mikel Arteta breaks down his passions, drivers, and an incredible story of when he was a child (in the video clip below).

His incredibly personal moment before the Norwich game (in which Arsenal lost the first three games of last season) was filmed as part of the fly-on-the-wall series All or Nothing screening on Amazon Prime Video from August 4th.

What to learn and use in your leadership journey:

  • Tell your story – open up inside of work and sprinkle in external factors that power you
  • Be Passionate – Passion often unites people, show your passions, and take the opportunity to provide a graph or draw a visual to show how it can change
  • Show Pride: Offer your proud moment. Or revisit a proud moment
  • You Are Responsible – Let the team know you are there for them and you are responsible for them. Build that trust and safety for the team to bounce back or thrive
  • Culture & Building Cultural MomentsGood culture is built on trust, show how you trust the team
  • Collective Messaging – Before you go for an extensive campaign or product launch, get everyone together and remind them of the end goal, and what they are striving for.
    • This will create a bond and ensure those who are goal driven are part of making the change.
    • For the team players, you are showing them how they are being part of this important objective.

Sports can be dismissed as a direct comparison to the business world, however, in this one clip of a team that was struggling and building their DNA and in the near future the difference between most businesses will be how leaders lead and how company culture is embraced.

Related Reading

Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 111 – Why Art Might Be The Reset You Need

Dear leaders, this week I have been on an exploratory journey – things in life that can reset work frustrations and stresses. 

Do you ever feel stressed or frustrated and can’t kick the feeling? I bet the majority of it in a work setting is either a challenging colleague, a management team member or a recurring bad meeting. 

Meeting recovery syndrome (MRS) is the time it takes to recover from a bad meeting, you have likely had a few that took hours to shake off and get back into the zone. 

Something I am a big believer in is getting out of your space, that work environment and getting a reset, both when frustrated or creatively you feel like you are struggling. 

I have spoken at length about the power of a walk, something I often do is go to London Zoo, it’s a destressing place for me and seeing animals swim, fly and play gives me a fresh perspective on many things. 

I have previously mentioned the power of art for me, getting me into a different thought process, it resets my brain and gives me a lot of ideas.
Here is an example of how I reset by visiting the RA exhibition in London

Find your place: I used to go to the Tate in London at moments when I couldn’t shake a bad meeting or another interaction with a frustrating project. The Tate was right near the office I worked at and just entering the space gave me a different feeling. 

When the management team of a business line I was responsible for and I were having a few disconnections we ended up on artwork that was a swing, you should have seen the joy in their faces and it was like a reset for the four of us. This was a micro-moment that I fondly look back at and know the hour reset helped us through a challenging time and a memory we all probably look back at and appreciate it helped to reduce our frictions. 

I have a deep appreciation for the artist KAWS, my girlfriend brought me a KAWS What Party Book recently and it is like an escape whenever I need it, from seeing his original tagging in New York (above image), to the more modern work where he floats a 115ft inflatable sculpture (image below).

This inspires me to think differently, think bigger or more broadly and understand that at a certain level you need to think differently, get out of your space, your industry and be inspired by different and more. 

There are many ways to reset work issues, some rely on music, others on walks, one thing I would love for you to do is to consider seeing more art, and less content in your social media feeds and get out to see or feel something someone has poured their heart and soul into creatively. 

Have a great week and remember MRS is real, the only way you improve MRS is by optimising meetings and your calendars. 


Danny Denhard

How can I help you? Need help improving your company culture or build strategy with people and performance at the same importance.


Other Essential Improving Work Resources

25 meeting recommendations to improve work 

It’s time for a calendar audit 

40 tips to improve work for everyone 

Approach a disconnected management team 

The solution to your team members’ burnout might not be the webinar that HR are offering.

Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 109 – In-Office Operators: Are You Being Blinded By In-person Performance?

Dear Leaders, this week I want to introduce you to something that is likely bubbling under the surface of businesses who have returned to the office (be it part or full time).

Fair Hybrid? The return to the office has been playing out for a year in some countries and a few weeks in others. Hybrid work is now mostly the default choice within the office-based business world. 

Everyone is doing hybrid differently, flex work (remember renaming home to ‘workplace home’ to be on the same level of importance as the (workplace) office is going to reframe the negative conditioning) locations are where most have landed. 

Many adopt the popular 3:2, 3 in the office 2 at-home model. So the 3 days of in-person in-office time is being seen as more important people time. 

Many leaders are suggesting in person and in-office work is helping address issues. With hints of better connections and more collaboration. 

Many suggest performance has improved. Is this a temporary peak?
Or a trend that will continue? 

A Celebratory Micro-Moment? Should the leaders be celebrating this micro moment just yet? Or should we consider behaviour shifts, or, behaviour resets? 

A Quick Consideration: In-person is often a performance, several treating an office like a stage or a Shakespeare production? Remember the common thread in classic literature was the trusted confidant or friend… was actually the manipulative middle person, controlling situations and skillfully outwitting the protagonist or the leader who ultimately suffers a downfall? 

Performing: The office is often multiple performances a day, from 1:2:1 meetings, to cross-functional meetings, to team standups all performing for different audiences. 

The office is a series of politically-charged performances and games many have worked out in the return to the offices, you have to put on the work game face on again and perform to get ahead or put a brave face on to get your job done while navigating others doing this.

Is It A Win, A Loss Or A Draw? While ‘leadership’ reports returning to the office have been positive, are you seeing the return of the savvy in-office operator? 

Have we seen those who know how to work in-person system gaming the system in their favour? 

Have you seen the return of the savvy middle manager who knows how to answer questions better face to face?
Have we seen the reappearance of the manager (not leader) who can appear to police the in-person physical office more effective, where hierarchy and structure are almost fully recognised? Whereas online work removes some of this. 

Should this political intelligence be celebrated?
Or should this be something you should keep a closer eye on and understand from the signal not the noise of the performances.
Time to have a stance and step up to investigate. 

Leader Lead! Is this something to be concerned about as a leader? 


  • Have you seen individual performance and feedback actually change apart on the surface level? 
  • Has the performance increased over a prolonged period of time? 
  • Has the culture improved? 
  • Have you seen signals of your team members leaving and not reporting these characteristics in exit interviews and feedback sessions? 

These questions have to be answered by you. Ultimately coming down to trust and what environment you want and how you become an effective leader by creating a performance-driven people culture.


Danny Denhard 

Essential Supporting Resources 

Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 107

Dear leaders, recently I was part of an ask me anything series, it is always interesting to see what people will ask in different formats. I love AMA’s and have recommended them in leaders letter 22, (alongside hosting my own AMA with you previously) and implemented correctly, there is something magic about sharing information and answering questions you may not have received previously.

One answer that came up stuck with me:  

“Don’t assume your manager knows what you are doing day to day or even from week to week”. 

This answer has resurfaced a couple of times in slightly different formats over the last month.  

Why this answer? It was in response to a senior exec concerned that their work was being lost or felt like they had to constantly update their CEO on their work and their team’s work. 

This is a true statement, most CEOs or founders aren’t on top of their direct reports workflows and do not feel the need or have the time for micro-management. Most execs are in their role because they have to lead their department and workstreams, rarely needing management from the CEO, COO or founder. 

Q: Should this company exec see this as a sign of trust from their boss? 

When we dug a little deeper it was that they have fortnightly one-to-one and there are no updates between the two unless an email or instant message from the CEO asking for updates on projects.  

Being proactive seemed to be seen as wasting the CEO’s time, but they never asked about updates and never agreed upon their leadership principles which are a must-have!  

Culture Change Needed? 

A tip I recommended was building a culture around updates and switching it to a growth mindset, where learning and updates go hand in hand. 

The recommendation leaned on: 

  1. The management team to get together and put forward ways of working that kept each other updated on important projects, keep them curious about results and asked to provide feedback and concentrated on sharing the updates throughout their team 
  2. Roll out a new system where there was a captain owner (read the captain system for more context) and a champion collaborating on the project or campaign and ensuring internal comms improve knowledge flow and developed a subculture of ownership and learning to cut through the noise with the most important updates. 

The CEO or founder would need to be on board and on-boarded, however, the improvements would remove the time to chase, digest and understand the language used. 

There would be a home for the updates in email (most CEO’s live in their default app… email) but more importantly on the company wiki so there is quick access and the ability to work asynchronously without interruptions and needing meetings.

When you are looking to remove micro management or improve company culture it is essential to know what is expected and what success looks like and manages these at every sign of confusion or miscommunication. 

Company culture thrives when you are aligned, people know how to be successful and what is expected of them, even the most senior of executives need to be reminded and guided from time to time and what better by better communications, not more. 

This week, consider this and how you can add value by offering better and fewer updates and allow for this to be async in the future. 

Have a great week.


Danny Denhard

Here are a few tips to help you this week

Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 106 – Revisiting Ideas To Make The Most Out Of Them

Dear Leaders, something I am passionate about is making the most out of time and energy around ideas generated individually or as a team. 

Zooming out: The computer, the laptop, iPhone and the AirPods wouldn’t have been created and revisited if the ideas were not captured, considered and then strategically picked up and prioritised to come to market. 

Let’s be honest, most ideas end up in the recycling, onto someone’s camera roll or more recently on a Google Sheet or worse still… a Miro board you’ll never revisit or review. 

Sharing Is Caring: As previously discussed, the best companies in the world share their knowledge, they encourage discussion and keeping ideas alive by having references to them and keep a searchable history of campaign success, a live updated section for ongoing projects and roadmaps and product launches centralised in the knowledge centre. 

Despite what you have been conditioned to lately, asynchronous worked tremendously well and encouraged deliberate discussion versus forcing “real-time meetings”.  

Recommended Framework:

There is a process I often recommend to clients, especially cross-functional teams 

Here is my framework I recommend: 

(Review &) Promote  

  • A great idea that needs to be rolled out
  • Likely needs a tweak and prioritisation to promote this idea 
  • Needs full distribution plan (internal and external)  

(Review &) Optimise

  • Good idea that lands well but needs some time to be optimised and made more relevant 
  • The idea will need work to optimise and then planning to release 

(Review &) Revisit

  • Good idea that is not a right now idea
  • An idea that requires work and a time to revisit. 
  • Likely an idea that is more seasonal or would land better at a different time of year 

Without giving away all of my secret sauce, here are a few factors to apply to (Review &) Promote, (Review &) Optimise, (Review &) Revisit. 

Follow On Factors:  

  • Right now idea vs not right now idea 
  • Time Sensitivity – Date Sensitivity  
  • Resources 
  • Quality of idea 
  • The Reward Vs The Effort 
  • Cost 
    (A) “Personal Project” vs “Another Professional Project” Cost 
    (B) Internal Project Cost
    (C) External Project Cost 

There are many methods we waste time, we squander resources and delevel the collaborative work (the impact of reducing collaboration is a serial culture killer), don’t allow short term thinking or first-order thinking negatively impact your department or your businesses ways of working. 

This week improve your work and working environment by making the most out of ideas and the times you co-create and problem solve. 

Thanks and have a great week ahead. 

Danny Denhard

Other Great Ideas Resources


The Lessons From “Why Coinbase Shut Down Woke Activism”

Read the latest Coinbase Cultural IssueOperation Revive COIN – Coinbase Top Down Culture Issues & What it will mean for the company and their employees.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong joined the recent Good Time Show, a dedicated podcast from some of the a16z team to discuss Coinbase, the mission they are on and the decade long journey of Coinbase in crypto and embracing a web3 future.

There was a ten-minute section (see below) of the podcast that is vital listening for any leader and leadership team that you can learn many lessons.

The Lessons To Take Away

It is important to note this podcast was recorded before Coinbase rescinded job offers by email and is now on a hiring freeze with the crypto space and macroeconomics being so uncertain. Watch the full vodcast here

Coinbase addressed cultural issues with a mission-driven approach in that infamous blog post.

The lesson: Being public with big internal decisions is important, owning the message and getting ahead of internal leaks has been an important step for many businesses to own some of the conversation(s) and be transparent, particularly when you are a listed company is going to help shape the future conversation and encourage those internal and external to support your leadership and buy into your company.

Tribal nature impacts businesses

The lesson: Many leaders are often blinded by what happens within their business and how tribes form.

The leaders are commonly disconnected from their departments, their teams and their people and miss understanding the tribal nature of their business and what impact internal influencers have.

Knowing tribes form, knowing how they are forming and being in a place to address these tribes is critical to leading the business and empowering those around you.

Dreading townhall and Q&A’s based on external factors.

The lesson: Business has changed, businesses and business leaders are expected to comment on larger items and have a stand, Coinbase decided to go against the grain and not comment until they engaged the right advisors. Even impacting how their people would view them and understand the company.

Often in modern-day business, external factors impact your company culture far more than ever before and you have to be prepared to address these, whether it is clearly calling out it is a factor or a factor you will not be discussing as a business, however difficult and negative impact it could be the short term.

Applying a supported risk benefit framework and engaged his team and most trusted external advisors

The lesson: The role of the CEO can be extremely lonely and can feel an impossible role, particularly in a crisis. Engaging your support network and your leadership team on big topics will be imperative to address big situations and pivotable moments for the company.

Pros and cons be a great exercise however it often is too biased whereas a risk/benefit framework helps to frame bigger issues and help to guide longer-term and the most critical decisions, providing you with the discussion points with the team.

What I Want Vs What The Company Wants

The lesson: Brian was brave referencing it was what he wanted versus what the people within the company wanted and didn’t want to change the business.

This is a tough call and something that shows vulnerability, the lesson to learn as a leader you have to make the right decision for the company and that decision may upset a larger percentage of the company. Ensure your decisions are right for the company, not just you.

Why the hard decision caused a month of hard decisions and losing top talent

The lesson: There was a hard period where they lost talent and people who wanted the company to be part of the bigger picture, however, this also brought in great new candidates who wanted to work at a work mission-driven company

Broader Lesson To Takeaway

It is important to note for any manager or leader appearing on any podcast can create many challenges, particularly when discussing sensitive topics or asking about well known public events. Podcasts with friends or connections are challenging, more open, you become more relaxed and you speak more openly than you may on other formats, particularly shorter TV, radio or magazine interviews.

On Podcasts be mindful of:

  • The language you use (like and whatever can be extremely dismissive language)
  • The references you make (and suggesting your experience and other companies better or worse, and is similar or the same as you rarely have enough information to back this)
  • The tone of your voice will be analysed internally and externally.

Leadership in 2022 is more challenging than ever before and learning lessons from high profile CEO’s like Brian Armstrong and big moments in their career are essential.

Below is an important follow-up read, the internal email shared (on their blog) following on from the original memo/blog post and addressing internal issues

Hi team,

I wanted to send you a follow up now that the deadline has passed for people opting in to the exit package.

I know there have been many difficult conversations happening to help clarify what our apolitical culture means in practice. It’s been great to see the whole team come together to reach understanding here, and support each other through it. It’s not easy to get through, but I think it will result in us having a stronger and more united team.

I also want to acknowledge that we could have done a better job bringing the Operating Group and managers along on this clarification of our culture so everyone was prepared before it went out to a wider group. Our practices will continue to evolve as we grow as a business, and we’ll work to do a better job on this in the future.

Many of you are probably curious about the outcome. I wanted to share that about 5% of employees (60) have decided to take the exit package. There are a handful of other conversations still ongoing, so the final number will likely be a bit higher. For those of you who have decided to move on, I want to thank you for your contributions to Coinbase and we wish you the very best. And for those of you who are opting in to the next chapter, I want to thank you for your trust and commitment to this mission. I’m excited to build the future with all of you.

I’ve heard a concern from some of you that this clarification would disproportionately impact our under-represented minority population at Coinbase. It was reassuring to see that people from under-represented groups at Coinbase have not taken the exit package in numbers disproportionate to the overall population. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on this to ensure we are building a diverse, inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong.

Finally, I saw a few misconceptions pop up in public responses. And I know many of you have had friends and family read various articles and send them your way. I thought I would take a minute to address a few of them.

Isn’t crypto inherently political?

Yes, we are ok being political about this one particular area because it relates to our mission.

Do employees have to pretend politics don’t exist?

No, we support each other through tough times and also have conversations about recent events like any team. We have just made a decision to not engage in broader activism as a company outside of our mission.

How will I know what counts as political?

We recognize it’s a blurry line, and ask that employees use good judgment. Our goal is not to look for violations, but rather to support employees in adapting to these clarified expectations.

Does Coinbase just stand for making a profit?

No, we stand for accomplishing the mission and for creating a great place to work. Growing revenue and profit is the only way we will be able to grow our team to build all the things that are needed to accomplish the mission. And we need an environment that is welcoming to everyone to attract and retain team members.

Hopefully these clarifications help clear up any remaining misunderstandings. To help create the same clarity for our external audience and prospective candidates, I’ll be posting this email to the Coinbase blog a bit later today. If you still have questions or would like to discuss further, I encourage you to reach out to your manager, HRBP, or me directly.

While having team members leave is never easy, I think we will emerge as a more aligned company from this. From time to time we need to rearticulate and clarify our cultural norms as we continue scaling. I’m excited to be moving forward as #OneCoinbase to pursue our vision of economic freedom for every person and business.

Thank you,

Watch the full vodcast

Learn From Other Leaders

Image source – Medium

Company Culture Leadership

11 Common But Unspoken Hiring Mistakes 

In recent months, we have seen an increase in hiring mistakes.

Rushing to hire, rushing to counter offer and in many cases hiring the wrong candidate because there is no clear understanding of what you want, what you need and why you are hiring this role for long term success. 

Truth is, very few people are good at hiring for the long term success of their department.

Hiring has been a challenge for many, however, the question should be asked:

Are you setting yourself and your company up to fail with bad processes and bad practices?  

Here are 11 common but unspoken hiring mistakes many are making and it is setting you and your company up to fail. 

Being led by recruiters, not by hiring managers
– are you allowing recruiters to filter CV’s and profiles based solely on one conversation with the hiring manager? It’s important to build that trust and relationship between hiring managers and recruiters before allowing this process to happen.

Asking bad questions leads to bad answers 
– are you and your teams asking bad questions that only promote and accept bad answers? Have you reviewed your interview questions recently and given interview training?

Hiring those that interview the best vs hiring those who will do the best job  
– this has been happening for years, however, it has not been addressed and this is down to lack of time, lack of training and lack of awareness of how people interview vs how people work. Create more working environments vs more interview questions.

Not having a clear understanding of what you need from the role not from the candidate 
– I recently asked ten hiring managers what they are hiring for and their process and 8 of the 10 suggested they just copied and pasted another company’s job description and did not materially change for their workplace, they didn’t have time to consider the goals to make this role successful. The role and the job spec sets you up to succeed or fail. Consider what you need from the role not specifically from that idealistic candidate you have in your mind, consider the goals and the 12-month plan ahead, not just the job spec highlighting what you might want.

Hiring managers coming in too late in the process
–  many hiring processes remove the hiring manager from CV/resume reviews and LinkedIn profile reviews and then miss one to two rounds of interviews before interviewing the candidate directly, this means many hours of wastage and interviewing badly fitted candidates

Too many colleagues in the hiring process 
– hiring is an art form, hiring processes vary greatly, and many now opt to bring in colleagues and teams into rounds of interviews, very often there are too many colleagues involved in the hiring process and is extending the time scales. This is the hardest element to get right, however, ensuring the right colleagues are part of the process and provide good feedback is an essential balance.

Too many interview rounds, especially hybrid recruitment.
– are you hosting too many rounds of interviews? Can you hire in three rounds, not six or seven which is now a common number of rounds of interviews.
Have you learnt how to interview virtually effectively?  

Being too narrow on what a successful candidate looks like and in turn what will make them successful 
– unlike many businesses leads and department heads I believe being ultra-narrow and overly specific in what a successful candidate will look like actually hinders your hiring process and will impact your existing team and bias your hiring. Having an idea of what a successful candidate will look like is great however often when you interview someone and they lead the charge, you can feel empowered to change your view of what a successful candidate is.

Hiring for a team skill gap not for solving the existing and upcoming customer problems 
– there are many reasons why you are hiring; backfill, hiring to demand, hiring to grow your team or reshaping your department. What this is often missing is hiring for the future and most hiring is focused around the current skill gap in the team rather than the customer problems and helping to hire to fix these not just hiring for a digital specialist in your Marketing team as you don’t have an expert. Where some will have to and want headcount here is where freelancers, coaches and agencies can add a lot of value and you can then evolve your department based on customer problems for now and the future.

CV/resume hires, hiring based on brands people worked at. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple etc
–  the repeated mistake many make is hiring from some of the largest companies in the world. Typically, some in the hope of hiring up (“hiring higher calibre”), some to bring the experience, others in hoping these hires can bring the perceived successful operational frameworks with them or in hope to bring the same level of performance to their own business.
The truth is these companies operate in magnitudes of £$/x’s and 0’s bigger than you and often have numerous others who perform the same role, so in your org, you will have one senior-level Ops lead, in Google they will have a series of Ops leads.
These hires rarely scale well and expect large teams and hiring is rarely an issue in larger businesses, in smaller businesses and startups this just isn’t an option. Operationally too, larger companies have much more status-driven games and long hierarchical battles, these politics will also come into your business and will impact the culture and subculture of your business.

Hiring for cultural fit when you are unaware of what cultural fit is at your company 
– the unspoken hiring mistake is suggesting you are hiring for cultural fit when you do not have a culture defined or understand what culture is within your business. Cultural fit is often referred to by mistake as skills or “observed” ability. These misunderstandings will cause numerous headaches when looking for the right fit or explaining what cultural fit is within your department (subculture) and cultural fit within the business. If a candidate asks what cultural fit you are looking for and you cannot answer it in one to two sentences, you likely do not have your culture defined or cultural fit written down, agreed upon and shared throughout your business.

Not having a clear view (roadmap) and a potential 3-year plan for the role
– the topic I speak on most with hiring when asked to support hiring mid to senior-level roles. Thinking through and supplying a career roadmap for this role is essential for all roles, particularly those looking to join you and who need to map out their career. Most outstanding mid to exec level candidates have a plan and a long term roadmap they are building on top of.

Very often long term success of the role is considered at numbers levels and then potentially job titles are considered, however, what the next two to three steps are and what the two up two across matrix is for this specific person. Yes, often this has to be considered when probation is based and you have an understanding of their performance, however, to give you a competitive advantage when you interview you should be interviewing for the next three steps for this role and within the business and evolving with each catch-up and 1:2:1.