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Steer Clear: Common Recruiting Blunders to Dodge

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Has it become a challenge to find quality talent? Make sure you don't make the biggest recruiting mistakes that will only make the process more difficult. Here are some of the most common recruiting mistakes your team can make and how you can avoid them.

1.Simple, unconvincing job postings

Check your company's latest job postings. Do they only contain basic information about the job - a dry list of responsibilities and a list of minimum requirements?

If so, then you may be boring the audience you're trying to target.

Standard job descriptions simply don't inspire enthusiasm among applicants. Similar to how hiring managers skim resumes and quickly move on if a candidate doesn't catch their attention, applicants often decide whether to pursue an open position at a company based on the job posting.

Your goals should be:

  • To stand out from the competition
  • Arouse attention and interest
  • Attract candidates to apply

To achieve this, you need to learn how to write a compelling job posting. Provide more information than just the basics and convey what makes your company special. Be prepared to “sell” your company to selective applicants.

  • Describe your company’s mission, vision, core values and culture.
  • Give applicants an idea of what their everyday life will be like in your company.
  • If possible, include a salary range.
  • Highlight desirable benefits and other unique workplace perks.

It's also a good idea to review the text of job postings to eliminate unintentional biases that might scare off some applicants or limit your company's target audience.

2.No external advertising and brand management strategy

Find your candidate

This is a common mistake that many corporate HR managers make: they advertise a position on their website's job board, sit back and wait for the applications to pour in.

But what if your company isn’t on an applicant’s radar? How are they supposed to find you then?

What about passive applicants who are highly qualified but are not actively looking for new positions?

First, imagine your ideal candidate:

  • Who is this person?
  • What type of professional is he?
  • How much experience, knowledge and seniority does he have?
  • Where would you look for a new job if you were her?

To identify and reach your desired candidates, you must advertise strategically and take targeted, proactive measures.

  • Consider both the most popular job search platforms and industry-specific job boards. If you are looking for specialized, highly qualified applicants, the lesser-known job boards with their niche offers are more important.
  • Take advantage of social media, particularly LinkedIn, which can be a powerful research and recruiting tool and a platform for targeted job postings.
  • Use your network to get recommendations.

In some cases, budget constraints may limit your advertising efforts. It is important that you think through your advertising strategy with the target candidate in mind and take the measures that have the greatest chance of success.

Show your brand

Part of strategic advertising is delivering a consistent brand experience across your website and social media. Expect applicants to research your company as soon as they see your job posting. You want your company's online presence to reflect the company's mission, vision and values - and at least convey a professional and reputable image. Otherwise, they'll be turned off before they even get to the application stage and you'll lose out on a potentially great candidate.

Protect your brand

Also, be aware of your company's presence on major review sites like Glassdoor and assign a staff member to handle negative reviews - in a courteous and professional manner. Don't allow just one side of the story to dominate, and don't allow bad impressions of your company to go unaddressed in the public eye.

3.Lack of preparation

We've already mentioned that hiring managers rush through resumes, sometimes spending just a few seconds reviewing them before making a decision about candidates. This can be a problem when it comes to an interview with a candidate.

Don't assume you'll get the information you need to make an informed hiring decision.

To properly screen applicants, hiring managers must take the time to prepare.

  • Start with a standard set of questions that you will ask each applicant during the interview, and be sure to use these questions with each person you interview.
  • Supplement the standard questions above with some targeted, individual, thoughtful questions based on the applicant's unique background.
  • Assess employment gaps and formulate questions to find out the reasons for these gaps.
  • Assess the applicant's average length of service and professional career and, if necessary, formulate questions about this career.

From a candidate's perspective, the apparent lack of preparation or questions about basic information from the resume can be interpreted as disinterest and lack of respect for the interviewer's time. This can lead to a negative impression of your company.

Hiring managers should also be prepared to answer applicants' questions. Remember that applicants are not the only ones being interviewed. It's a two-way conversation - they, too, are trying to decide whether they want to work for your company in this role. If you are unable to anticipate and answer their questions, it could leave them feeling insecure and lacking in confidence.

4.Predictable interview questions

Hiring managers have long moved away from yes/no questions in favor of behavioral questions that allow them to glean deeper information about a candidate's personality and mindset.

The problem is that some behavioral questions have become so common and expected that candidates have a polished, rehearsed answer ready. Examples:

  • What was your biggest challenge?
  • What is your greatest strength (or weakness)?

What was your greatest achievement?

These questions no longer surprise applicants and instead lead to a ready-made answer.

Encourage candidates to demonstrate their interpersonal communication skills and ability to think on their feet by asking less predictable questions. Examples:

  • What are you proud of?
  • How would you describe yourself in one word and why?
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
  • Tell me about a situation where you disagreed with a manager and what did you do as a result?
  • Tell me about a time you failed and what did you learn from it?
  • What makes you memorable, aside from your skills and education?
  • When you one day look back on your career so far, what will be your greatest achievement?

5.Unconscious bias

Every person, including HR managers, can have unconscious prejudices about other people based on their own experiences. So it's possible that recruiters, hiring managers, and other managers don't know that they:

  • Give preference to applicants who they believe are more similar to themselves or with whom they share similar interests
  • Reject candidates who do not match your personal preferences
  • Not considering candidates who do not fit their preconceived ideas
  • Favoring experience over talent and knowledge

If a company allows unconscious bias to influence its hiring decisions, it may result in it hiring the wrong candidate for a job. This can also lead to a homogeneous, static workplace plagued by groupthink and a lack of innovation.

To avoid this:

  • Review resumes using a standard set of rules. Or use an applicant tracking system to automatically screen resumes for an open position.
  • Use a set of standard interview questions for each candidate to create a consistent experience and make it easier to compare candidates' answers (while still allowing you to ask individual questions based on the candidate's background).
  • Rely on facts and objective information, not your gut feeling.
  • Look not only for a candidate who will fit well into the existing workplace culture, but also one who can potentially bring something new and unique to the culture.
  • Include more than one person in the recruiting process to broaden perspectives and reduce the risk that one person's bias will exert undue influence.

6.Poor support of applicants

Basically it's this: Treat applicants the way you would want to be treated if you were in their position. Show common courtesy.

It seems like an easy hiring mistake to avoid, but many applicants report experiences like this with companies:

Too many hurdles have to be overcome

It's understandable that companies want to be thorough in their hiring efforts. But requiring applications that are too long, multiple interviews, or too many assessments can turn applicants away.

Job candidates don't want to go through a lengthy, stressful experience that unduly disrupts their schedule.

Keep it short and sweet - just long enough to get the information you need to make an initial assessment of the applicant. Overall, the process should be user-friendly and enjoyable.

If you decide to interview a candidate, you should communicate all steps of the hiring process in advance. Candidates want to know what to expect so they can plan accordingly and make informed decisions.

Ask candidates if they are in the final stages of considering other positions or if there are other issues that require you to expedite the process at your company.

Lack of respect for their time

Build on the discussion about the ease of use of the application process and show respect for applicants' time.

Participate in phone calls or arrive on time for interviews. Stick to the agreed times - don't allow an interview to drag on for another 45 minutes. Remember that applicants often need to return to their current position as quickly as possible.

If for any reason you are late or need to reschedule, inform the employer as early as possible. Politely apologize if you are a few minutes late to the meeting.

Lack of communication

It's incredibly frustrating and disheartening for a candidate to apply for a job and then hear nothing - especially if the candidate is further along in the hiring process. Whatever your reasons - you're busy, have a backlog of applications, can't decide between different applicants or just want to avoid an awkward conversation - it's never acceptable to leave applicants hanging without an answer.

They often lose interest in the job and move on - and you miss out on a great candidate.

In most cases, they will develop a negative image of your company. Over time and with many applicants, this can damage your company's reputation.

Maintain regular and timely communication with top applicants to keep them updated on their status and the status of the hiring process. Of course, this can be challenging if you have multiple open positions and hundreds of applicants for each position. An applicant tracking system can help manage applicants by monitoring their progress, documenting their interactions with your company, and sending automated messages and reminders on your behalf.

Be personal in your communication. Use first names and not “Dear Candidate”. You want people to feel valued, not like a number.

If an applicant is not selected for the next step, inform them as soon as possible. Thank them for their time and let them know that they will be considered for future positions that match their skills and experience.

7.Failure to recruit from within the ranks

Often recruiters are so focused on finding the perfect candidate “out there” that they overlook the people who are already very familiar with the company and have a solid track record of performance: the current employees.

Hopefully you've developed the following for your current employees

  • A transportation policy
  • Career paths (a plan for how to move within your company to develop specific skills)
  • Succession plans
  • A process for internal job applicants

When a position opens up in your company, there may already be a suitable internal candidate, reducing the cost and time of recruiting. Knowing they can grow within the company can also boost employee engagement and motivation.

Additionally, encourage your employees to act as brand ambassadors and recommend their own contacts.

  • Make job postings easy to share and mobile-friendly.
  • Offer incentives for referrals.

8.Not adapting to the remote work era

Remote work has created new opportunities for recruiting errors and other hiring challenges. Make sure your company is prepared for remote hiring and has thought through every step of the process and how it will work in your company.

A few quick tips:

  • During video interviews, pay even more attention to the signals and body language of the applicants.
  • Take extra measures to minimize distractions during at-home video interviews. At the beginning of the interview, point out possible distractions to candidates, such as: by children, pets or deliveries.
  • Consider what questions you should ask candidates for remote positions.

All in all

Many companies make the same big recruiting mistakes, and it can impact their ability to find and hire the right candidate. It can also affect their reputation in the job market. However, if you take the right countermeasures, you can be more successful when it comes to finding quality talent.

  • Create eye-catching and interesting job advertisements
  • Advertise strategically
  • Prepare yourself well
  • Ask unconventional questions
  • Reduce the risk of unconscious bias
  • Treat applicants politely
  • Internal and external recruitment
  • Prepare to hire remotely

As an additional measure, you can consider hiring a recruiting expert to further reduce the error rate and make your recruiting processes more efficient and successful.

Steer clear of recruiting pitfalls to secure top talent. Leverage IceHrm for streamlined processes and expert insights.

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