These Bad Hiring Practices are Turning Off Candidates

February 26, 2015 at 12:45 PM by Kathleen de Lara

pissedoff_blog.jpgYes, recruiting is very much like dating.

The incessant metaphor is one you’re probably familiar with, one you love to hate because it’s hackneyed and true.

Courting people is an art, but charming candidates comes with higher risk. As a recruiter, the courtship represents you and the company, success relies on who you hire, and emphasizing quantity over quality simply isn’t smart or cost-effective. No pressure, right?

Avoid these five candidate pet peeves to hit the hiring home run.

Reaching out at the wrong time

More specifically, after a candidate just started their new job. Pouncing on talent 1-2 months after they’ve been hired gives the impression you’re not paying attention to their job activity and can seem inconsiderate to someone excited to ramp up on their new role. Take the time to check out if candidates have been recently hired, and consider waiting about three months to ping them with your opportunity. By then, it’s likely they’ve made up their mind about wanting to leave or stay at their current job, and in the former case, your open role may be their one way ticket out.

Neglecting to check up on hiring managers’ interview techniques

It’s common practice to train, evaluate, and check up on the way your recruiters interview candidates, but are you doing the same with your hiring managers? Try running recruiters, recruiting managers and hiring managers through a pre-interview prep session, discussing a candidate’s background and resume, and questions each interviewer can ask to get a better evaluation without overlap. One way to get a feel for the way your team interacts with candidates is to have hiring managers do a mock interview. Keep an eye out for managers whose approach seems arrogant, pushy, stiff, or hostile. Interviewers should be curious and interested in learning more about a candidate, but a manager who comes off more suspicious, doubtful, and unfriendly than inquisitive isn’t someone a qualified person would want to work for, and it’s an unfair representation of the team’s employer brand.

Asking a candidate to complete an assignment and blatantly using their work before they’ve got the job

For some positions, hiring managers may ask a candidate to finish an assignment to evaluate their skills and fit for a role, like writing up an article or creating a web page design. Resist the urge to use their work for the company, no matter how good it is, until they’re actually employed. Not only is it distasteful to apply an unsuspecting candidate’s creations as the company’s own, it may teeter along the lines of illegal use of works made for hire because the content comes from someone who doesn't work for the company.

Playing the recruiter roundabout

Getting a candidate to reply to your outreach is part of the battle, so when someone does respond to your message, hold on. The key to keeping candidates interested isn’t to continually pass them off to someone else further down the assembly line. If your team size allows it, think of each candidate you reach out to as your personal account to manage. This also helps you build rapport with talent and keep track of who each recruiter messaged and when.

Leading with company information in your outreach message

When creating emails to candidates, think of this question from their perspective, “How does this help me?” Some outreach messages are keen on prioritizing a brief history on the org – the founding date, number of employees, names of customers – and then following up with a description of the open role. For a candidate who may have never heard of your company, this info can serve little purpose. Start with the role, a mention of a mutual connection, if you can, and save the company information for a single line, or even as a link in the email message further down the email. Think benefits, not features.

Other common hiring practices to avoid: 

  • Reaching out with a role junior to their current role
  • Reaching out with a role irrelevant to their experience
  • Lacking personalization in your message – no name or mention of their previous work, for example
  • Taking too long or forgetting to respond to an applicant, or candidate’s reply to your message

As a job seeker or recruiter, what are other obnoxious hiring practices keeping companies from finding and engaging qualified people? Share them with us the comments! And if you’re looking for techniques on how to boost your employer brand through the candidate experience, check out our recent webinar with Officevibe! how to improve your employer brand

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