Recruitment is a long process with a lot of moving parts, so it’s easy to see how mistakes happen. But when you’re trying to find the best person possible for a position, one misunderstanding could become a huge setback. Here are ten of the most common recruitment mistakes to avoid:
1. Advertising a position with an inaccurate job posting
We understand the thought process behind white lies in a job posting: make the position seem a little harder, maybe you’ll weed out the less qualified. Make it sound more exciting than it is, with more opportunities for advancement than you can sustain, and you’ll get a wider pool of applicants to choose from. But misrepresenting the position in your job posting can actually work against you by driving away or disappointing great candidates. Check out our blog on how to write a great job description and posting, and share it with others on your hiring team to make sure you’re attracting the right people.
2. Never going back to candidates in your ATS
If you use an applicant tracking system (ATS) in your hiring process, you’ve probably got lists of candidates who you’re already at least familiar with at your fingertips. But if you go back to the drawing board every time by seeking out new applicants, you might be doing more legwork than necessary. The candidates in your ATS have already shown they’re interested in your company. Maybe it’s time for a second look?
3. Not setting and communicating a time frame
The process of recruitment takes time (over a month and a half on average, according to the Society for Human Resource Management) and that time is precious to you, your company, and your candidates. You should set a time frame for hiring at the beginning of your process, and communicate it to promising applicants. If they know to expect two interviews over the course of three weeks, they can plan their schedules and be prepared.
4. Doing everything yourself
Whether you’re doing the hiring for a company of three employees or three hundred, don’t try to handle the entire process yourself. Get input from people who work closely with the open position, direct reports, and supervisors, so that you’re getting the best fit possible.
5. Not thinking beyond the position
On the same note, don’t forget that a new hire affects the entire company, and not just because the work is getting done. Think about company culture when you’re recruiting, as well as opportunities for growth. Just because you need a specific skill set now doesn’t mean that’s all you should be focused on.
6. Looking for a carbon copy employee
Maybe you had an employee in the now-open position who was ideal for the job - it’s great to use them as a benchmark, but don’t look for an exact duplicate. Job duties, coworkers, and industries change, and sometimes a fresh take is what the position really needs.
7. Waiting for the perfect candidate
The candidate who has it all is difficult, if not impossible, to find, so don’t spend too much time looking. When job positions remain unfilled for too long, other employees have to pick up the slack, and morale could drop. Plus, someone who ticks all the boxes may not be a good culture fit, or could be exaggerating their competencies. Instead, think about which skills are actually required and which are teachable.
On the other side of the coin, don’t fret about overqualification. Some employers believe overqualified hires will get bored and have fast turnovers, and others may feel threatened by bright new talent. But candidates who may be “overqualified” for a position could have the most to offer to improve the company.
8. Conducting ineffective interviews
Interviews can be a minefield of recruitment mistakes. Avoiding the wrong questions can mean anything from leaving out surface-level questions that can be answered on a resume to double- and triple-checking for discriminatory inquiries. Be sure to prepare for your interviews by compiling questions as well as knowledge about the position and company, and prepare the candidate as well - who are they interviewing with? How long should they plan to meet?
9. Relying too much on references (or not at all)
Some recruiters swear by references as the best way to get to know a candidate, but unfortunately, they’re not fail-proof. If a listed reference has nothing but praise for a candidate, it’s okay to take that with a grain of salt. Everyone has quirks and flaws, and that’s not always a negative. On the other hand, as many as 25% of employers never even look at an applicant’s references. Failing to check in with references is willfully ignoring a large piece of the puzzle. You should use as many provided resources as possible to get to know the entire picture of a candidate.
10. Expecting too much from a new hire
So, you’ve hired a new employee: one who’s excited about the work, is well qualified, and ready to dive in. But throwing them into a new team without training or preparation could spell failure, no matter how qualified they are. Training and onboarding new employees is critical to helping them succeed in their new position, and asking them to do too much might have them packing up their desk before they really get started.
All businesses need talent, but for most companies, hiring is not their area of expertise. By avoiding these common mistakes, you’re several steps closer to a better talent search and recruitment process, meaning a faster time-to-hire and better employees. Having great HR support can help you improve your hiring practices. Learn more about how a HR partner could benefit your business: