Recruiting Mistakes That Attract The Wrong Candidates

By Eric Czerwonka

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It’s no secret that attracting talent is crucial to the success of your organization or business. However, hiring the right candidate for the right job can be a daunting task. Perhaps if you have ever served as a recruiter, at one point you have hired a candidate that turned out to be a bad fit for the role, and you had to maneuver around to find alternatives for the costly decision you made.

Unfortunately, no matter the amount of effort put in for a smooth hiring process, it’s the smaller details that often make things to go wrong. Yes, the smaller details are seemingly the faux pas that drives away potential candidates. Simple mistakes such as creating a rigid checklist of qualities and qualifications for candidates can make your recruiting process ineffective.  

That said, the first step to hiring the right candidates is not just pegged on knowing what to do, but also anchored on Knowing what mistakes to avoid. Here are 10 common mistakes that recruiters make and how you can turn things around in your favor:

The job description is not exhaustive

The era of dry and generic job descriptions is long gone. Today, candidates anticipate more from any job post and will quickly lose interest if it is not well-crafted. In fact, posting up a job description that is not comprehensive may not spark interest from talented candidates consequently leaving you with the wrong ones.

As the hiring manager, ensure that the job description is creative and exhaustive.  All the desired qualifications and specific qualities that you are looking for in a candidate should be clearly defined. Resist the urge to settle for generic qualifications that entail bullet-list qualifications and duties only. Instead, elaborate more on the culture of the company, its goals and how a candidate can perfectly fit if he or she decides to take the job.

A Job description should be customized in such a way that a candidate easily gets a sense of what the organization is about at a glance. In addition, the manner in which the job application is crafted should be appealing to the candidate. Note that job titles and job descriptions change over time. Therefore, it is paramount to use up-to-date job title and job description so you can easily appeal to potential candidates.

Not recruiting internally

Sometimes the perfect candidate for the job opening may just happen to be right under your nose. So, it may not be necessary to go out looking for potential candidates. The best thing about internal recruiting is that it’s economical. It significantly cuts down all the cost associated with advertising for external candidates.

In addition, your existing staff is well acquainted with the business environment, organization processes, values, mission, and vision. Therefore, there are high chances that an internal recruit will quickly catch up in his new role and perform way better than an outsider.

Internal recruitment can also come in handy in boosting employee morale as it entails training and promoting staff to newer and more exciting roles. Since all employees like promotions, they are likely to perform at their level best so that when an opportunity arises, they may be considered.

Too much dependence on the interview

Some hiring managers over-rely on an interview when recruiting candidates. While it may be effective in the screening process, an interview presents its own setbacks and losing potential candidates is actually one of them. A number of experts suggest that an interview is not entirely effective on its own because some interviewers tend to be biased and may spend their time trying to confirm the impression they formed on applicants in the first 10 seconds.

Furthermore, candidates will say anything just to get a job offer. Thus, you need other criteria such as exercises and test that gauge the performance level of candidates. These exercises and tests can be an asset in determining the skills of candidates from planning to organization and prioritizing skills.

Failing to create a definite timeline for the hiring process

When the hiring process is either too quick or too slow, the chances that a wrong candidate will be hired increases. You see if the hiring process is rushed, recruiters are likely to overlook critical routines such as background checks, and this can be a recipe for disaster. Alternatively, if you drag your feet, most potential candidates usually end up looking for job opportunities elsewhere.

You need to create a definite timeline for the hiring process; determine the amount of time that will be spent on reviewing applications, make follow-ups with the applicants, and figure out the possible time span for the entire interview process. These way, you won’t be sluggish or rush things and miss out on critical elements.

Interviewer’s conduct during the Interview

Such things as punctuality and professional etiquette are commonly emphasized on the interviewee’s side while little attention goes to the interviewer. As a result, you will find that some interviewers show up extremely late for the interview, rush the candidates through the entire process while giving them little time to answer questions.  Other interviewers have also been accused of answering phone calls and emails while still conducting the interview and even discussing other candidates openly or mocking the current candidate.

All these are deterrents to potential candidates and usually harm the company’s reputation by sending the wrong message to candidates. After all, if the interviewers are showing pure contempt for professional etiquette, it is more likely that the organization as a whole doesn’t highly regard professionalism and work ethics.

In fact, even if a candidate was to successfully pass the interview and move on to the next phase, there is a higher likelihood of him/her declining the job offer owing to the manner in which the interview was conducted.  Interviewers should, therefore, uphold professional ethics and etiquette to ensure that interview activity is conducted in the most professional manner.

Not Checking Your Candidate’s References

Every recruiter should aim to get a pool of diverse candidates with a wide range of skill sets that may perfectly fit an open job position. However, they should not overlook the references provided by these candidates despite their professional experience, gender, race, origin, age and socioeconomic background.

The references should be checked out before hiring to ensure that everything presented by the candidates adds up. Even though most companies today reveal little about their former employees, recruiters need to have good knowledge of the candidates’ skills as well as conduct by simply checking out their references. The following are three areas that recruiters should focus on when questioning the references of candidates.

  • Responsibilities of the candidate - knowledge on the previous responsibilities of a candidate can really help a recruiter determine how well he/she can handle the responsibilities of the open job position in the event he is hired.
  • Strength of the Candidate – this simply gives the recruiter an idea of what a candidate can bring to the table when hired. In addition, the question should factor in any possible pay raise or promotion that the candidate has achieved as a result of his/her strength.
  • Weakness of the Candidate – It is as equally important as the strength of the candidate, and while most references will rarely highlight candidate’s weaknesses or anything negative, a recruiter can get a good idea by just paying attention to the candidate’s voice tone and hesitations when asked about personal weaknesses.

Hiring underqualified candidates

Some managers may actually be afraid to hire people who they feel are more confident and talented because they perceive them as threats. As such, they end up recruiting a candidate who is less qualified for the open job position.

However, smart managers appreciate the importance of having bright people in their teams. They understand that these special people usually offer insight on critical matters and use their strengths to the advantage of the entire team.

Therefore, hiring people who are better than you can be more beneficial than you imagine. First, you are likely to improve your skills and propel your business to success. Secondly, you can always get brilliant solutions when faced with tough situations.

Rejecting candidates that are overqualified

When screening resumes for shortlisting, it may be tempting to weed out applicants who have skills and education beyond the job requirement. However, the truth is having a higher education level does not necessarily mean a candidate is over-qualified.

The vital factor to consider here is whether that education qualification or experience is a great fit for the job.  If not, such a candidate is actually starting at a more or less similar level as any other applicant. Furthermore, there is more to gain from hiring a candidate who has more skills and experience. It is vital that hiring managers steer clear of any “overqualified” discrimination when recruiting. 

Focusing solely on money

Some companies assume that by offering a slightly higher salary than their competitors they would automatically attract and retain talent.

While it true, salaries are one good indicator of how much an organization values its workforce, other studies indicate that satisfying employees’ inner motivational needs supersedes economic considerations.

No Follow-Up for Interviewed Candidates

One of the major concerns interviewees have about the recruitment process is never hearing back from the recruiters. Following up is an essential part of the hiring process, and all hiring managers need to ensure that there is a follow-up for every applicant.

Over and above everything, a polite follow-up with candidates even if they ultimately don’t end up being selected for the job is a clear and sincere way of telling them that you truly value them and appreciate their time irrespective of the final decision. This not only takes away the uncertainty they may have had regarding the possibilities of getting the job but also allows them to stay open for other job opportunities.

In Conclusion

The recruitment process can be a costly and time-consuming affair. Therefore, it is very important that you endeavor to get it right.  You need to be sure that you are doing the right thing to attract the right candidates who are a good fit not just for the job but to your organizational culture too.

As highlighted in this article, the sure way to steer away from hiring the wrong employees is by first knowing the pitfalls to avoid during the recruitment process. So, take a moment to know where everyone goes wrong so that you can make your next recruitment successful.

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