Hiring is one of the hardest challenges leaders will face. There's always a sense of urgency to get that vacant position filled. When you're short staffed, tasks build up, your staff start entering the burnout phase, and the company's performance takes a hit.

It's easy to succumb to the pressure and hire out of desperation, but resist the urge to settle. Picking the wrong candidate is always more detrimental to your business than not picking one at all. Otherwise, the consequences of a bad hiring decision will cost you time, money and jeopardize your culture even further.

Take a breath. You need a clear mind to be effective in choosing a high performing team member. Here are 5 strategies to help you avoid these common hiring mistakes and make the right choice the first time.

1. Stop ignoring the red flags.

Is their charm or wit clouding your judgment and distracting you from what really matters? It's easy to be wowed by someone who shares the same interests as you, but you need to keep your focus in order to recognize any red flags.  

If you are consistently off topic in the interview, it will be tough to assess your candidate against all of your criteria. How well will they fit in with the team? Are they aligned with the company's core values? Regardless of how likable they are, it is important to ask questions regarding your company, their experience and cultural fit.

2. Start asking for help.

Your employees know best what skills, knowledge, and temperament it takes to be successful within your company. When you are the only one involved in the interview process, it can be challenging finding the perfect fit for your team.

In order to start making the best decision, you need to enlist help. I always involve different levels of staff to meet with potential candidates. Just be sure to communicate clearly your expectations and criteria for the role. It's likely that they will return with valuable information you need to help make the right decision.

3. Stop handing out favors.

Hiring friends and family is always a gamble. Sometimes it works; most times it doesn't. While everyone deserves a fair shot, it's important to remember that favors should not be given out at the expense of your company.

Be open to referrals but always hold to the same hiring standard. Give each candidate an equal chance to impress you. Always remember your business is the top priority when you're considering helping someone out.

4. Stop hiring fast.

Business is booming, and it's time to hire additional staff. Naturally, your first thought is to get someone in before the pressures of deadlines start to pile up.

There's a the huge risk when you rush the process. Hiring quickly means you're not screening enough talent. After a couple months at the job, you'll soon discover one of three things: they don't have the right skills, they're a bad cultural fit, or even worse -- they're both.

To avoid this hiring disaster, take the time to define exactly what your new role looks like. Create steps and stages that candidates have to complete before you offer them that contract. This may include an initial skills test followed by multiple interviews with staff, and then pilot projects so you can gauge their working style.

5. Stop searching for talent clones.  

Finding a candidate who walks, talks, and works like everyone else on your team may seem ideal, but chances are you're setting yourself up for disappointment. You're also not doing your business any favors.

The key to a great performing team is diversity. If everyone thought the same, then you're never going to have innovation. A candidate's selling feature should be based on what new perspectives they can bring to the table.​