Recruiting Mishaps to Avoid in the New Year

January 4, 2016 at 11:37 AM by Rob Stevenson


New year, new you! Isn't that right recruiters?


I'm sure you've seen the myriad "X Recruiting New Year's Resolutions" floating through the ether, so rather than continuing to inundate you with such wise precepts as "make hiring a team sport!", let's instead cover some of the tragic mis-steps recruiters often make, and how you can go about eliminating them from your own workflow as well as your organizational hiring process.

Don't Assume Candidates Want to Work For You

Err on the side of humility, folks. When you go out and source someone, the honus is on you to demonstrate why the role is truly an opportunity for them. This doesn't just mean delivering a spectacular pitch. You need to provide an exemplary, hyper-responsive candidate experience as well. Allowing people to dwindle in the purgatorial void of interview scheduling is a great way to lose the interest of great candidates, and signify to all others that you just don't care about them. The best recruiters I've spoken to make it a point to action candidates as quickly as possible, provide feedback throughout the hiring process, and never leave candidates hanging. Even if you don't think a candidate is a good fit, stringing them along is disrespectful, and encourages people to speak ill of your hiring process.

It doesn't matter if you're a hugely respected company with a massive amount of inbound applications. If you 'big time' your applicants, continually asking them for more details via email instead of picking up the phone, rescheduling calls and interviews, or just flat out being non-responsive, you are providing candidates with reasons not to work for your company. Nothing scares off candidates faster than a recruiter or sourcer who acts like a gatekeeper in the early stages.

Stop Performing Back Channel References

Calling unlisted references of your candidates is common practice, but as we've learned, the potential repercussions far out-weigh any evaluative benefits. 

First, it demonstrates a lack of faith in your own process. You need to be able to make calls on candidates without the input of external people who don't know your organization's needs, business model, or company values. Try and think about what you've actually learned from back channel references in the past, and explore whether it's something the team wouldn't be able to figure out on their own.

Next, it's insensitive to the candidate's situation. Searching for a new role while already employed is often a delicate, furtive process, and when you bring in people outside of your organization, you have effectively outed the candidate and betrayed their trust. By agreeing to interview for a role, you've entered into an understood contract with that person, and by reaching out to people from their past, you effectively reneg on that contract.

There's a handful of other reasons why you should abandon this process, which are detailed in full in our conversation with Yahoo's Talent Engineer, Erin Wilson.


No More Trapdooring

Most recruiters have at some point had to "trapdoor" a candidate, meaning cutting the interview short before they've completed all scheduled evaluations. Short of a shocking comment completely out of the grassy knoll, you have committed to a full day of interviews with the candidate, and you can't just pull the plug after a couple "Definite No" decisions. 

Bringing a bad fit candidate on site is an internal failure. As long as you have the candidate on site, it represents an opportunity for all of your team to provide feedback to the sourcer, hiring manager, or whoever it was brought this person in. While some may feel having your whole team meet with a candidate who definitely won't work out is a poor use of time, if their feedback on the candidate leads to fewer poor candidates making it so far in the hiring cycle, it will be worth the time in the long run.

There's no warm or diplomatic way to say "we're cutting this short because the team thinks you're blowing it", and there's a real chance people you eject will leave confused or insulted. Hold yourself to your previous commitment, take away some lessons from the bad fit candidate, and improve your process.



  candidate experience and the employer brand