Recruiting Self-Sabotage

Employers recruiting today are faced with candidates who have lots of ways to find jobs, easy access to information about employers, and lots of options, despite high unemployment levels. This means employers still need to be diligent in their recruiting process. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways recruiters may be self-sabotaging their own efforts.

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Here are some examples:

Being too specific about required education or years of experience. It’s rare that a job truly requires 5 years of experience, so 4.5 simply won’t work. The point is that if you’re being too precise—and eliminating candidates without even reviewing them if they don’t meet specific criteria—you could easily overlook someone who could perform the job perfectly well.

Consider instead having a range of criteria or being more general regarding what experience is required. Or, at least consider eliminating any process that discards applicants who don’t meet the exact requirements but are close to meeting them, which should instead be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Not using multiple sources. If you post your job online, remember to use multiple sources. That will not only allow you to reach a broader set of candidates but also may increase the demographic range who will view your job post.

Neglecting to take the time to improve the overall employment brand. This obviously takes a lot of work and is not a simple or quick fix. However, employers should anticipate potential employees will be researching them online—and their decision of whether to continue with the process may hinge on what they find.

It pays to take the time to work with others throughout the organization to continually improve the employer’s image online and work toward crafting the image the company wants to present—both in communications and in reality.

Neglecting the “what’s in it for me” component of job posts. Employers sometimes focus on the requirements a candidate must meet when applying for a job. But sometimes they forget that the recruiting process works both ways: The candidates are looking to ensure it’s a good fit for them, too.

Remember to include information in the job post that outlines the benefits for the employee. This can be literal—such as compensation and benefits—but can also include things like the work environment and company culture, which help make the job what it is.

Forgetting to communicate frequently. The recruiting process is all about the candidate experience. Candidates want to know where they are in the process, even if that answer is “we’re still reviewing everyone.” If applicants don’t know whether they’re still under consideration, they may assume they’re not and simply move on.

Acting too slowly. Much like the need for appropriate levels of communication, the process also should move at a reasonable pace. Just because unemployment levels are high doesn’t mean people want to sit around and wait on an employer.

They’re going to be applying to other organizations, and if the process takes too long, you could easily miss out on great candidates by not being the first one to offer them a job. By the time you do, it may be too late, and the time and effort (and money) spent will be wasted.

Misrepresenting the job or the organization. It may be tempting to inflate the job and make the salary sound more promising than it is by giving large ranges or listing the amount a seasoned candidate will get after years in the role. The catch with this is that even though it may entice more candidates to apply, it will also likely mean few will stick around once they discover the reality.

What has your experience been lately? What other recruiting behaviors have you eliminated to help get the candidates you need?

Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.

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