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By: Debra Kabalkin on June 7th, 2021

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5 Hiring Mistakes That Could Drive Away Your Dream Candidate

Best Practices | Talent Acquisition

Unemployment rates are at an all-time high, which might make you think that employers hold all the cards in today’s recruitment market. In fact, many businesses are finding it harder than ever to fill vacant positions, and competition is especially ferocious at a senior level. Landing a top-tier candidate is a real challenge that requires an airtight recruitment process.

And yet, many companies make avoidable mistakes when recruiting. These errors often arise from indecisiveness, inadequate planning, or a lack of recruiting expertise. The results can be devastating, with a longer time-to-hire that can leave key positions unfilled.

So, how can your business get things right and build the best possible team?

The 5 worst mistakes in any hiring process

Here’s the good news: the most common recruiting errors are relatively easy to fix. Often, the hardest part is identifying the issue. It’s a good idea to take an honest look at your current process and ask if you’re making any of these mistakes.

1. You’re not defining the candidate profile

It’s easier to find your ideal candidate if you know exactly what you need. That might sound obvious, but sometimes an employer will start the recruitment search with a slightly fuzzy notion of who they need.

Whether you’re recruiting for a new position or doing a like-for-like replacement, every new hire is a chance to review your current requirements. For example, say you’re replacing the current Chief Marketing Officer. Even if the incumbent did a great job, there’s still an opportunity to rethink the kind of value this role delivers. Maybe you need a CMO who’s an expert on analytics? Or with experience in international markets?

To define a candidate profile, you’ll need to:

  • Consult with all relevant stakeholders about their expectations of the new hire
  • Look at current business requirements and examine how a new hire might meet your needs
  • Draft a reasonable profile of a candidate that meets your needs
  • Distinguish between must-have and nice-to-have candidate attributes

Once you know what kind of employee you need, you’ll be better able to identify your ideal candidates.

2. You’re waiting for candidates to approach you

Every employer knows that you can’t just put a HELP WANTED sign in the window when you need a top-tier recruit. And yet, many companies rely entirely on job boards and recruitment sites to connect them with talent, which is the digital equivalent of a HELP WANTED sign.

Active job seekers only account for a small percentage of the talent pool. The majority of top-tier candidates are not actively looking for new opportunities – because they already have a job. To connect with these people, you need to get the message out about your current opportunities.

You can reach out to passive job seekers by:

Even if you’re not currently recruiting, it’s a good idea to use these strategies to build a pool of talent. That way, you can reach out to people when something becomes available.

3. You’re taking too long to make an offer

The best candidates will explore every available opportunity, which means that they could end up with multiple offers. Wait too long to make an offer, and you may find that they’ve already accepted a job elsewhere.

This doesn’t mean that you should rush into a hiring decision. You must thoroughly vet every candidate, of course. Instead, you need to look at your current recruitment process end-to-end and ask if there’s any way to speed things up.

You might identify some efficiencies like:

  • Knowing your ideal candidate profile ahead of time
  • Structuring your interviews so that you cover all relevant questions in one meeting
  • Using technology such as Zoom to conduct additional interviews as quickly as possible
  • Ensuring that all stakeholders are available to sign off on a decision

It also helps to set expectations with the candidate. Let them know when you’ll reach the next stage in the recruitment process, and notify them if you experience delays.

4. Your offer isn’t enticing

So, you make an offer, only to receive a polite “thanks but no thanks.” This usually means that the candidate has had a better offer elsewhere. What do you do now?

A common mistake is to assume that salary is the only factor in such decisions. Salary is hugely important, of course, which is why you should consider working with a remuneration consultant to help you arrive at a fair offer. But salary is only one aspect of a total rewards package, and candidates will consider lower pay for a better overall deal..

If you can’t compete on salary, you can still attract talent with things like:

  • Attractive benefits and perks, including fundamentals like health insurance and gym access
  • Strong commitment to the work-life balance, with generous paid time off allowances and flexible working patterns
  • A positive, supportive culture
  • Top-quality professional development opportunities, including mentorship and certification

Remember that you do have to communicate these things to the candidate during the recruitment process. Be sure to brag about what makes your company such a great place to work.

5. You don’t have in-house recruitment expertise

Every aspect of the recruitment process is complex and challenging. Your HR leader simply may not have the skills or time to help build a reliable talent pipeline. This is when many companies reach out to a recruitment service for help to find suitable candidates.

But often, you’ll need help on a deeper level than this. For instance, you need experts to help you:

  • Create and refine candidate profiles
  • Organize a fast, effective recruitment process
  • Connect with the best possible candidates
  • Build offers that attract the best talent
  • Onboard new hires so that they start delivering value right away

If you’re having trouble landing your dream candidates, it might be time to bring in a talent acquisition consultant. They’ll help you build a process that always puts the right person in the right role.

Want to learn more about top-tier recruitment? Download our guide to Recruiting the Best and learn techniques that work for employers of every size.

Download the Recruiting The Best ebook from Helios HR