Recruiting Hell: 5 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Search for the Right Candidate

Michael Gallagher April 11, 2018

Recruiting mistakes to avoid during your next candidate search

You have a vacancy to fill.

Whether it’s an executive or specialized position in your company, you need to fill the position quickly, efficiently, and with the best available candidate, you can find.

Failure to do this can impact your team’s efficiency, cohesiveness, creativity, and morale – an outcome no team wants or can ultimately afford.

Let’s examine some of the mistakes (and potentially disastrous outcomes) that have befallen other recruiters and decision makers and learn their hard-won lessons the easy way.

Mistake #1: Drawing out the interview process

You want to find the perfect candidate. This usually means your team is going to put potential candidates through an extensive interview process. Every decision maker will want to have a chance to speak with the candidates, and you reason that this will allow the gold to separate from the dross.

On paper, this seems reasonable enough and gives your team the opportunity to meet with recruits. In practical terms, however, excessively drawing out the interview process often discourages candidates from completing the process. This can lessen your potential talent pool, possibly resulting in hiring weaker candidates as the stronger candidates go on to other opportunities open to them.

So how can you speed up this process without sacrificing the quality controls you’ve put in place?

One solution is to have a recruiting company do a lot of the preliminary legwork for candidates to help narrow the search and offer a pool of well qualified, pre-screened candidates for your team to focus on.

Whenever possible, avoid spending your time doing the grunt work of recruiting. Your time is most needed at the end of the process – making the decision.

Mistake #2: Not properly screening your candidates

You want to get this done. You are overwhelmed with candidates and their resumes so you have your staff do a cursory look-through and hope the interview process will eliminate those candidates who are unsuitable for the position.

This course of action can be quite problematic.

Candidates do lie on their resumes (hard to believe, we know). Whether it is about qualifications they claim to have, their character, or even a criminal history. In one instance, a Director of Recruiting found out (to her chagrin) that a potential candidate failed to mention his extensive criminal record.

The right recruiting agency can help you avoid this nightmare by conducting extended background checks not just on the candidates’ qualifications, but also on their work history, social media presence, and character, ensuring that your candidates are truly qualified.

Mistake #3: Not considering candidates’ external pressures and influences

You’ve found the ideal candidate. You hired him/her. They quit after a short time, which leaves you understaffed and back at the start line. Or they’re unhappy, which leads to problems with their work.

A hiring manager told us the story of a hire she made who quit after just three days. The reason? He was planning on moving when he got hired, but his wife refused to move with him.

It seems silly, but really basic questions like this can get overlooked in the interview process, especially when the candidate seems like a perfect fit.

It’s important to remember that you are not only bringing on the candidate but also his or her family and outside obligations as well.

Another recruiter had a client call him to report that a new hire was leaving the office for hours at a time. When confronted, he said he had promised to do volunteer work at an outside location. Needless to say, he was asked to do the volunteer work full time rather than continue working at the firm.

Not considering the candidates’ obligations and outside considerations will send you back to square one: With a vacancy, you need to fill.

Not only that, but the impact on your organization can be huge. If you’ve made additional sales or commitments expecting that the new candidate would be there to support the rest of your team in handling the additional responsibilities, you’ll have to figure out how to use your existing resources to get the work done, which can impact both performance and morale.

Mistake #4: Not considering the possibility of a counteroffer

If you’re involved in hiring, you have likely had a similar experience:

You make an offer and figure it’s a done deal, only to find that the candidate has received a counteroffer from their current employer asking them to stay, which they accept.

As a recruiter or hiring manager, you’ll need to discuss this possibility with them and be prepared to up the ante if necessary – without getting into a bidding war.

Mistake # 5: Failure to stay in touch with candidates.

This mistake can really occur during two stages of the hiring process.

The first mistake is a failure to stay in contact with high performing candidates during the interview process. A star recruiter will offer updates and keep the candidate interested throughout the process. This is particularly necessary if there is a considerably lengthy interview process (see Mistake #1).

The second mistake is failing to stay in contact with the person you have just hired during the period just before their start date.

Let’s examine the scenario:

You’ve made an offer and it has been accepted. You feel confident that you are done with the process and the position is filled to your satisfaction.

In a perfect situation, it goes like clockwork and the new hire shows up on time and fits right in.

Unfortunately, that may not always be the case.

Staffing professionals have found themselves in the difficult position of losing a candidate to counter offers in the time between when the candidate said yes and when they were supposed to report to their new position.

It is crucial to keep communication open, not only to forestall potential problems but to keep new hires motivated and excited about the wonderful opportunity you are offering them.

Counter offers aren’t the only deciding factors weighing on potential candidates. Recruiters should also consider questions candidates may have about the work environment, neighborhoods, housing, and schools in the area. This is particularly true of candidates moving long distances to be a part of your company.

Just a small amount of effort here can go a long way in keeping the new hire happy and feeling that they made the right decision.

Why make mistakes when you can make hires?

Recruiting can be intimidating, companies want to be sure they are making the best possible decision for their business and the candidate. However, hiring is a time-consuming process that many businesses simply aren’t equipped to handle in addition to their other responsibilities, which makes it easy to make mistakes. A professional recruiting company can easily take on the heavy lifting of finding and qualifying candidates so you’re only getting involved when there’s a potential fit and all you need to do is make a decision.

Want to learn more about delivering the best possible candidate experience? Read more from our experts here.

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