4 Common Recruitment Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

September 2, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Kathleen de Lara

common recruiting pitfallIt’s tricky – recruiting, that is. 

Between the fast-paced hiring demands and the seemingly endless hunt for pools of qualified talent, any time lost in the engagement, interviewing, and onboarding process is an unfilled position and dollars wasted.

Is your recruiting strategy helping or hurting the team? Check out these common hiring drawbacks and find out how to better manage your open reqs.

Allowing a candidate’s online presence (or lack of) to wholly measure their qualifications. 

The size of a candidate’s digital footprint shouldn’t make or break their fit for the job. An applicant without an online portfolio isn’t necessarily less qualified for the role than an applicant with an online portfolio. These days, while being virtually accessible is a more convenient and often preferred means of learning more about a candidate, recruiters should try to steer clear of allowing a candidate’s online, social clout to pull the wool over more quantifiable factors, like a recruiter’s outreach response rates, or a salesperson’s first appointment-to-proposal ration, or an engineer’s ability to succeed during a coding challenge. After all, a candidate’s online portfolio and profile is an expression of what the candidates chooses to put online. 

Try this: Vet a candidate’s online portfolio or professional profile before the interview, and save the deeper digging for post-interview. A LinkedIn profile doesn’t (and shouldn’t) hold the same weight as a Facebook profile, which tends to err on the side of personal, casual interactions and updates.  

Banking on curveball questions to determine creativity, agility, competence, or personality. 

Google is famed for asking candidates what some recruiters may call crazy or ridiculous questions, some of which measure employees’ innovation and their ability to rationalize a solution to a problem, but recruiters, if you’re merely using curveball questions like, “If you could be any animal, what would you be and why,” or “What color do you associate with success,” to measure a candidate’s fit by means of entertainment, you’re not doing it right. 

Here’s what The Undercover Recruiter had to say about the cons of curveball questions: 

Analysing the responses to an unusual question can prove difficult. Amateur psychology is rarely accurate, and you could be left with more questions than answers. If you really want to learn about your candidate’s capabilities, perform a thorough reference check.

For one thing, consider the interviewer-interviewee observer’s paradox: The context of a job interview is already uncomfortable and unnatural – candidates put on their “Hire me” face and mask any nerves, taking some time to warm up to the interview. While recruiters may think their curveball questions are a fresh take to delving into a candidate’s thought and work processes, this approach could actually derail the interview and confuse candidates who aren’t comfortable with the unconventional method.

Try this: Before drumming up a list of the most off the wall interview questions, evaluate how a candidate’s answer will help you gauge their experience and skills, and whether or not the question may end up turning off a candidate.

Assigning the same sourcing assignments to the team. 

Having a team dedicated to sourcing specific roles and spitting out new hires like a well-oiled machine may sound ideal, but fixating employees on the same roles can actually harm the company.  

While we aren’t suggesting your team become Jacks and Janes of all trades and masters of none, we encourage recruiters to allow their teams to alternate hiring assignments to get a better sense of candidate types by business, role details, and recruiting challenges that may vary between industries – an experience and tale in trial and error only possible by mixing up open reqs. Your recruiters will be better at their jobs and be able to share their know-how with new employees and fellow team members.

Try this: Rotate positions to give recruiters an opportunity to learn more about hiring across the board, rather than being specialized in hiring for one role. At the end of each rotation, meet with the team to discuss any hiring trends, tips, and other notable observations and strategies that could aid recruiters’ next rotation of hiring reqs. 

Mass recruiting for positions not yet available. 

We support the idea for preparing ahead of time for roles the company expects there to be an opening for, but flooding the job posting boards for the sake of building a candidate pipeline can communicate the wrong ideas to competitors, customers, and candidates. For one, this practice can come across as an untargeted, desperate move to fill open reqs. Similarly, “job board stuffing” – as we like to call it – can also communicate the company is underperforming, and firing and hiring quickly in an attempt to make up for missed business goals.

Try this: Home in on the company’s planned and expected hiring needs, recruit and interview for the planned, and prepare for the expected by skimming through employees’ referral networks and briefly mentioning to candidates that, overall, the company plans to make more additions to the team, and to connect you with anyone they know who could be a good fit.

If none of the above apply to your current recruiting and hiring situation, here’s our quick list of other practices to avoid: 

  • Mass messaging candidates. Personalize it!
  • Discussing your impression of a candidate with other interviewers during the interview process. Save your review until the interview rounds to avoid creating a pre-interview bias.
  • Giving the white glove treatment to referrals or highly qualified candidates. All potential hires may not have been created with the same connections, skill sets, qualifications, work experiences, but their candidate experience shouldn’t be a reflection of preferential treatment.
  • Not informing candidates about their progress in the hiring process. Communicate a follow-up email deadline to the candidate and stick to it. 

Have a story of a recruiting mistake you’d like to share to help other recruiters avoid the same flub? Share it with us in the comments. Don’t forget to watch our social recruiting webinars to get even more ideas on improving your candidate engagement and outreach!

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