Common, But Avoidable HR And Recruitment Mistakes

By Cassandra Diamantis

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COVID-19 has significantly impacted the unemployment rate, with unemployment across Australia at 7.4% in June. Therefore, HR must expect to see an influx of applications per vacant position listed on job boards. 

As well as this, it’s more important now THAN EVER to hire the right candidate! It would be inaccurate to presume hiring a candidate is simple as there are many variables that affect a candidate's suitability, (such as; hard skills, soft skills, cultural fit, etc), however, the cost of hiring the wrong candidate could be detrimental to the businesses success.

With an influx of applications, and more pressure on HR to hire the perfect candidate, hiring managers and recruiters must be aware of mistakes that are commonly made in recruitment.

Without further adieu, let’s dive in. 


1.   Job Description

It’s the recruiters' responsibility to post a job advertisement that accurately reflects the position they are hiring. Use the correct terminology, don't be too fancy- keep it simple and neat. Often recruiters try to jazz up a job with jargon that makes it difficult for applicants to digest and analyse, which may result in applications that aren’t suitable.

2.   Job Boards

Use the correct job boards! Don’t simply stick to one posting board, make sure you utilize your resources and post to a variety of boards to increase your chances of receiving quality applications. You want variety in your audience and applicants. Do your research and utilize boards that are best suited to your industry, business and requirements.


  1. Passing an Overqualified Candidate

Recruiters reject candidates who they believe are TOO qualified, meaning they might outshine current employees or try to ‘run the show’. Overqualified candidates are usually over-educated for the position or have significantly greater experience than the listing of the position. Therefore, meaning they are stepping down on their career ladder rather than stepping up.

Recruiters should be expecting greater amounts of overqualified candidate applications to apply for positions now due to the rising unemployment rate.  The fear regarding hiring an overqualified candidate stems from the employer worrying the candidate will leave as soon as a better position becomes available, therefore costing them more money by having to go through recruitment again (job advertisements, phone screening, interviews, induction/onboarding). As well as this, the employer may worry the candidate will become bored, which is directly linked to job dissatisfaction and poor engagement rates.

Whilst understandable, this may be a huge mistake. Whilst there’s some risk associated with overqualified candidates, there are huge benefits from them! Overqualified candidates are better experienced, therefore easier to train and self-sufficient. Their expertise also enables them to assist other employees that don’t have the same experience.

In order to be sure you’re making the right decision, be open and ask them the reason for their application during the interview.

  1. Passing an Under Qualified Candidate

Yes, experience is definitely valuable. However, hard skills can be easily taught- soft skills… not so much. If you meet a candidate who is the perfect cultural fit and displays enthusiasm and determination, but just misses the benchmark of required years of experience- DONT TURN THEM AWAY. You can nurture them, and develop their skills based on your preferences. Arguably, having less experience is beneficial as you can tailor their skills to your company and procedures!

  1. Waiting for the Right Candidate

Recruiters usually have an ideal candidate profile in mind prior to the hiring phase- which is understandably necessary in order to receive approval from their request-to-hire. The issue arises when those responsible for hiring won't budge on their ideal candidate profile. Let’s face it, you're never going to find the perfect match for your description! They just don't exist- you can't create an imaginary person and then turn everyone away who doesn't quite suit the description. Don’t hold out for someone you hope might apply, instead hire the best candidate you’ve interviewed for the position.


4.   Relying on Interviews

Speaking of interviews, there are a few recruiter behaviours that negatively impact the recruitment of a candidate. Make sure you’re prepared and ready for the interview! It's not only the interviewee’s responsibility to be prepared, but it’s also the interviewers! Prior to the interview, write down key questions you need answers to, and what you hope to achieve from the interview. Etiquette and professionalism are needed from both parties in order to have a successful interview.

Also, take interviews with a grain of salt! Interviewees prepare for interviews in order to shine and seem as though they’re the perfect fit. SOMETIMES, the perfect candidate does the opposite and completely flunks the interview! This is where your gut instincts need to come in, and you need to be objective and not rely entirely on the interview.


5.   Unconscious Bias and First Impressions

Whilst you need to be objective and trust your gut instinct, you also must be subjective! Remember, it’s human nature to have unconscious bias. It’s not about ignoring it, it’s about acknowledging it and being aware of your first impressions. Recruiters commonly choose to ignore the presence of unconscious bias instead of analysing their thoughts logically and objectively, which results in suitable candidates being unsuccessful.


1.   Waiting too long to complete onboarding

Let’s be realistic- if a candidate is applying to your position they’ll also be applying to alternative positions… they’re on a job hunt! Some recruiters are impressed with a candidate, but take their time organising their paperwork and onboarding documents (like their contract, letter of employment, etc). During this time, their candidate may receive another offer, who onboard them faster, and accept the other position! Therefore, slow onboarding results in candidate drop off. Be counter-intuitive, use recruitment software and be on top of your work!


Recruitment isn’t easy! Matching a person to a position is difficult, and although there are many tips and tricks on how to be a good recruiter, it takes practice and experience to develop your talent acquisition skills!

Whilst making mistakes is frustrating, it’s a method of learning. So, if you’ve made one of these recruitment mistakes, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, acknowledge the mistake, and adapt your strategies to avoid these common mistakes!


About the Author: 

Cassandra Diamantis is the Marketing Specialist at MyRecruitmentPlus. MyRecruitment+ is a recruitment and onboarding software whose product aims to assist HR and recruiters overcome commonly faced challenges.

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