4 Painfully Common Marketing Mistakes That Turn Candidates Away

By Qandidate.com

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Have you ever laughed at a television commercial that was out-of-date and wondered what the writers were thinking when they created it? Has the way you felt about a person changed because they made an assumption about you that rubbed you the wrong way? Do you unsubscribe from email newsletters when they stop delivering the value that you expected from them at the initial sign up?

These kind of reactions happen every day in recruitment.

When hiring someone new, you probably have a good idea as to the type of person that you think would be a good fit for the role. You may even have that information written down such as the ideal skills, professional background, and years of experience that an ideal candidate would possess.

Before you can learn that information about a candidate, however, you must first know your audience, catch their attention, and then pique their interest in learning more about your company and the role.

Recruiters who fall short in the marketing aspects of recruitment find themselves left behind with growing frustration as 2 weeks snowballs into 4, advertising costs increase without qualified applicants to substantiate the value, and other recruiting problems amplify with no end in sight.

Today, we look at 4 painfully common recruitment marketing mistakes that recruiters make and offer our tips for achieving more effective recruiting by avoiding them in the first place.

1. Assuming that all candidates want the same thing in a new role

Although industry surveys and research are great starting points, their relevance is limited when it comes to recruiting someone to your business because they don’t reflect the unique context of the position that you are recruiting for.

A key mistake that recruiters make is failing to identify the key selling points of the specific position and business. If you rely on broad data and general insights, then how can you expect to attract candidates that are going to be a match with your organisation’s unique culture, needs, and vision for future growth?

The top performers on your current team are prime examples of your successful recruiting strategies and practices. If they seemed to connect with you initially by happenstance or were a referral, gaining insight from them will still be valuable because they can open your eyes to career motivations, interests, and talent communities that you may have not considered before.

Ask them if the job is as they had expected when they were hired and if there are any disconnects between what was discussed and the reality of working there. This will  help you more effectively target your message to attract the best fits as well as reduce your turnover by attracting individuals who are looking for what your company offers rather than an idea that they would soon find out doesn't match up with the reality.

You may find that the things you thought they were responding positively to are completely different from the elements that the things that actually pulled them in and got them excited about the role.

2. Posting job descriptions as job ads

If you were to search any given job board or job posting website for the position that you are recruiting for, you are likely to see lists and bullets of detailed information that focus on the company and the company's needs.

This format is common, but not because it’s effective.

It’s easy to come up with a template and then fill in the sections with the information that you know. It may even feel comforting to see that your posting is accurate, even if it isn’t very compelling or relevant to the candidate’s interests or motivations.

As a recruiter, you know what you want them to be able to do in the position, the experience that you would like them to have, and the qualities that would fit best with your team. The problem is, the candidates that you want don’t care about these things unless you give them a reason to.

Take a look at this guide from Tony Restell to write job ads that convey your message in a way that attracts and compels the right candidates for the position to apply. 

3. Not tracking quality of source data

When an ecommerce business is planning their marketing strategy, one of the key metrics that they track is the cost per customer acquisition which signifies the amount of money it takes, on average, to acquire a new customer when advertising through a certain channel. This cost may vary by website visits, radio ads, social media, and other advertising vehicles.

One of the most costly marketing mistakes that recruiters make is failing to do this when advertising their jobs. It also extends the time to fill the position due to advertising through sources that may return applicants, but not viable candidates.

For example, if you purchase a job posting for £300 and it yields 60 applications, then your cost per application is then £5 for that source. This is where a lot of recruiters stop.

If you continue applying that type of analysis to each step of the hiring process—how many of those applicants are selected to interview, how many offers are extended, how many ultimate hires are made from that source—then you will have recruitment data that, over time, can help you predict how effective that source will be when advertising for different jobs. You may find that posting to one niche job board that returns only 4 applicants ends up resulting in more interviews than another that returns 30.

The more data you can collect, the more reliable it will be. If using Qandidate.com to centralise your recruitment process, then you will receive an automatic recommendation that’s based on benchmark data of more than 100,000 campaigns for which job sites to post to once you’ve uploaded your vacancy into the system. As you move candidates into different stages in the hiring process, the system tracks this data as well so you’ll be able to see where your best candidates are coming from.

4. Only looking at the "good" data

In addition to how many applicants each source produces and tracking the candidates as they move throughout the hiring process, also pay attention to any patterns that you may see in the applicants who either drop out of the process or who upon screening turned out not to be a viable candidate for the position. Some of the qualities that employers initially think make up a great hire for that position end up being the links amongst candidates who are later determined not to be a good fit.

This is true for other requirements as well, such as looking for candidates with a certain level of experience only to find that their salary level is higher than your budget allows. Catching these trends early can save you time and money throughout the hiring process.

Candidate drop off rates are also important to track. Although there are multiple factors that contribute to a candidate's decision to drop out of the hiring process, here are some steps that you can take to proactively prevent this from happening.

About the Author

Qandidate.com is a full blown recruitment system, providing you with all the information and tools you need to make your recruiting process effortless. It’s refreshingly easy. More than 10,000 companies have subscribed for Qandidate.com’s free recruitment system. Big companies, small companies, complex companies, international companies, in all shapes and sizes. Find out more by joining us for a demo of Qandidate.com in the coming days.


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