5 Bad Recruiting Habits that Are Keeping You from Succeeding

By Andre Smith

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Whether you enjoy it or not, recruiting is a fundamental component of effectively growing almost any industry. And truth be told, if you’re not enjoying it, it’s probably because you have it all wrong. While recruiting is never “easy,” it becomes even harder when you are ineptly applying bad habits or poor practices to try to grow your network. So, if you want to become a better recruiter, take a hard look at what you’ve been doing and make sure you're eliminating these bad habits in favor of more effective, beneficial practices.

1. Doing the Same Old Thing

You’ve probably heard the old adage ad nauseum, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” But, it’s true more than ever with recruiting.

If you follow the same old routine for sourcing, writing advertisements, interviewing, headhunting, using social media…then you’re going to keep getting the same thing – the same candidates, the same responses, and the same lackluster performance. 

Instead of doing the same routine, shake it up a bit. Don’t abandon all of your best practices, but be a little more mindful about the process. Break away from the routine and try something new. Switch the order of your routine. Create a new email template for your business or headhunting. Invite someone with a different perspective to sit in on your interviews. Request a video submission instead of scheduling a telephone interview. Or let someone else help you do a little of the “leg work.”

2. Avoiding Making Phone Calls

One of the biggest mistakes most recruiters are making is avoiding phone calls. Everyone knows that cold calling is hard and can be awkward and even uncomfortable. Most recruiters avoid that feeling and revert to “easy” methods of interacting, like email and social media. But a partial effort yields a partial return.

So if you really want to up the ante on your recruiting game, you need to start making those calls. According to research, response rates are more than twice as high over the phone. And a recent Salesforce study even determined that telephone calls over-converted email correspondence by over 200%.

If you were previously among the 94% of recruiters refusing to pick up the phone to prospect, make that one change this year, and you’ll automatically be ahead of the pack.

3. Sending Generic Emails

While there is a time and a place for a well-worded email, the reality is that email opens up the big possibility for low effort and little return. And the extended reach that email offers presents an even greater challenge – spam.

Some recruiters follow a faulty line of logic or mathematics. If a recruiter averages one candidate per 25 cold calls, he may falsely believe that he will achieve 4 new candidates having sent 100 emails with a fraction of the effort. The math is all wrong here, though. Generic emails are only worth a fraction of a unique, personalized and even smaller a fraction of a personalized call.

If you want to stand out among the pack, you really must write better emails. Tailor each message to the recipient, and be sure to focus on the individual’s background, likes and dislikes, activities, mutual connections, etc. Anything that is specific to the unique individual you are trying to attract will have a way of showing the prospect that you took the time and made the effort. 

4. Forgetting to Follow Up

Candidate experience is crucial when it comes to attracting quality potentials. The candidate’s experience builds a stronger brand, makes better hires, increases retention rate, and establishes a more loyal prospect base. A bad experience will spread like wild fire, and your brand will burn with it. 

That being said, one of the biggest complaints most candidates make about recruiters is that recruiters never call back. Obviously as a recruiter you are busy and can’t possibly get back to every single person with whom you speak. So instead just be upfront with the candidate, and let them know when they can expect to hear from you. And, if a potential really wasn’t the right fit, be up front and tell the person before he or she walks out the door. If nothing else, explain you have to rely on generic emails to communicate the bulk of your responses due to the nature of your position.


5. Shying Away from New Technology

Very similar to getting stuck doing the same old routine, you may be tempted to stick with the technology with which you are comfortable. The problem is that you’ll be severely limiting yourself if you do. New tools, technologies, and innovations are released almost daily, and you’ll be left in the dust if you don’t at least try to incorporate them.

Experiment with social media recruiting. Or, give online recruiting software a try. Don’t avoid new technologies just because they are new. If you do, your competitors who are embracing the new technologies are going to blow you out of the water.

Quit thinking that the recruiting age is done and start focusing on what it is that you are actually doing in your business. Take a look at your habits, and make sure you aren’t employing these bad recruiting habits, otherwise you may continue to see your livelihood dwindle.


2. Avoiding Making Phone Calls


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