Recruiting during a time of talent shortfalls can be daunting. During these times, it’s imperative to not be doing things that will scare off those who are interested; there are fewer applicants for any given job opening right now, so losing even a few can mean the difference between having a good pool to choose from and not finding a good fit.
There are actually a lot of recruiting practices that are quite common but nonetheless frustrating for applicants. Any one of these things could make an applicant have second thoughts. Take a look at this list and see if there are ways your organization could make the process more candidate friendly.
Recruiting Practices that Scare Away Candidates
Here are a few examples of things that can scare away candidates:
- Taking too long. This can be true at any stage of the process:
- If it takes too long to reply to an applicant, it will make it more likely he or she will turn in more applications elsewhere.
- If it takes too long to reply after the interview process, it’s more likely he or she will have other opportunities and no longer be available, especially if the candidate is in high demand.
- Even if the candidate is still available after a lengthy recruitment process, it can leave a sour taste and leave him or her less than impressed—not a good way to start off a working relationship. This can be detrimental to the employment brand if word gets out that the organization is slow to respond during the process.
- Not communicating well. This is a corollary to the first point—taking too long is an issue but so is complete silence when a candidate expects communication. People expect to have their application acknowledged. They expect to have a communication of whether or not they’ll be progressing in the process (getting an interview). They expect a follow-up after the interview to either say they were not selected or to schedule next steps.
- Not appearing to be organized. This could manifest in many ways, such as:
- Not being ready for the interview when the interviewee arrives. This includes the interviewer(s) being on time and having an appropriate space set up for the interview to take place.
- Not having answers to questions about next steps.
- Asking questions during the interview that have already been answered as part of the application process or have already been asked by another interviewer.
- Leaving out important information from the job posting. While many candidates are, of course, accustomed to researching to find more about an organization during the application process, it would be better if they had all pertinent information about the job up front. Ideally, from the candidate perspective, this would include things like:
- Job requirements, so they know what to expect up front. This includes information about the working environment.
- Salary range. This can help the applicant and the employer by preemptively allowing candidates who are not willing to work for a salary in that range to self-select out of the process. It can make the negotiation part of the process less daunting for both sides, too.
- Information about the organization itself and an indication of where to find more.
- Making the requirements for the job more intensive than actually necessary. First off, this is a recipe for discrimination claims by unintentionally excluding applicants who could do the job but don’t meet the overly stringent criteria. (It can have a disparate impact on protected groups). But even if that wasn’t a risk, it also could be a turnoff for otherwise qualified jobseekers who hesitate to even apply because it gives a bad impression—appearing as though the organization is looking for someone overqualified and thus unlikely to be paid what those skills are worth.
- Asking about salary history. This practice may be traditional in a lot of workplaces, but here are a couple reasons why employers should consider eliminating it:
- First, it’s illegal in some jurisdictions.
- Even in those areas where it’s still legal, it can create a situation where an employer is inadvertently cementing in previous pay discrimination—prolonging a pay gap unnecessarily. This means the employer is creating a situation where current pay is based on previous pay rather than on the position being hired for—which can set up a situation in which different genders or different races have differing pay for the same job. It’s easy to see how quickly this can become problematic.
- And on top of everything else, it’s a dreaded question for candidates—so, it sets a bad tone, too. It feels very invasive and unnecessary to the applicant.
- Making the application process too long or cumbersome. While it may make sense to have some preemployment qualifications before making an offer, be careful not to require too much in the very first interaction with the organization. If the application process takes too long to complete, it may turn great candidates away before they even finish the process. If multiple types of screening are helpful, consider adding them after the first interview instead of before.
- Not giving the applicants multiple means to complete the process and to communicate with you. With recruiting technology ever advancing, many candidates expect to be able to text or chat with recruiters and to be able to complete the entire process online, likely even on a mobile device. Being unavailable for this may be a frustration or even a red flag against the company in the eyes of some candidates. Meanwhile, other candidates will appreciate being able to make a phone call, or send an e-mail, or turn in a paper copy of their résumé in person. Keeping communication open and giving options will allow candidates flexibility and will lose fewer of them along the way.
If any one of these items is something your organization struggles with, it could be a good starting point to improve in order to get more applicants and have more top talent complete the recruiting process. Bad candidate experiences can tarnish the employment brand, making it more difficult to hire in the future.