7 Employee Recruitment Mistakes Your Business Should Avoid

In today’s tight job market, businesses can’t afford to make significant employee recruitment mistakes. These missteps often hinder a company’s efforts to hire top-flight job candidates or, worse, tarnish the company’s reputation among the small pool of desirable recruits.

Why do these mistakes occur? Is it simply a matter of not having an established hiring policy in place, or do employers come burdened with certain attitudes that sabotage their recruitment efforts? According to Forbes, some employers “were taught long ago and we still believe, deep down, that job-seekers are beneath us and should grovel to get a job.” Naturally, such a perspective “will drive the best candidates away … the very people we profess to care the most about.”

A host of other employee recruitment errors are all too common. Here’s what to watch out for and suggestions on how to improve your recruitment efforts.

Failing to Embrace Diversity

One of the biggest challenges among employers is a tendency to employ people who are just like them. In reality, a homogeneous workforce (where employees and leaders tend to think and talk alike) leaves itself open to dead-end planning and an overall stagnant perspective. A more diverse workforce almost inevitably spurs fresh thinking, new solutions to long-standing operational problems and a more upbeat company culture.

To embrace diversity, expand the pool of candidates by reaching out to local colleges or cultural institutions that support particular demographics. Also, explore the use of recruiting software that eliminates names, genders and even dates of employment.

Posting Unclear, Misleading Job Descriptions

A clear, compelling job description is your best bet against receiving a landslide of inappropriate resumes to wade through. Closely examine the language with regard to accuracy (describing what the open position requires, along with key responsibilities) and for motivation (getting applicants excited about this unique opportunity). Remember, every word counts.

Neglecting to Promote Your Culture

If you have a thriving, positive company culture but you neglect to mention this in your job postings, you’re missing a great way to build interest as an employer of choice. “Culture” can entail everything from the design of your workspace to flexible schedules, competitive salaries, benefits packages and more. Promote your culture in social media and on your website, so that candidates doing research may come across something they like.

Lacking an Efficient Hiring Policy

Many businesses mistakenly wait until a job opening occurs and then begin the frantic search to replace a “lost” employee. Without a clear-cut hiring policy and process, there will be duplicated efforts, time wasted with the wrong types of candidates and confusion among hiring managers and job-seekers themselves.

More specifically, the hiring process should be transparent from the candidate’s perspective. An applicant should “feel comfortable knowing the process, next steps, and what to expect from the interviewer,” notes HR Dive, though all too frequently “recruiters fail to set the right expectations on communication with the candidate.”

Conducting an Off-the-Cuff Interview

Some hiring staff — or their counterparts in a company’s executive team — are so confident in their interviewing skills (and knowledge of the organization) that they feel comfortable winging the job interview. It’s a potentially disastrous choice, given that asking irrelevant or unplanned questions leaves employers with no tangible way to compare different candidates. The same series of key questions should be asked of every candidate, so there’s a baseline with which to compare and contrast.

Another interview-related error is “going by the gut” when it comes to first impressions. There are job applicants out there who have diligently honed their interview skills and can come across as just short of spectacular — and still be the wrong person for the job. Try to divorce your emotional responses to candidates, seeing as their ultimate success doesn’t rely on whether or not you simply like them. When first impressions are used as a yardstick for employee recruitment, recruiting errors are probable.

Waiting for the ‘Perfect’ Applicant

It’s understandable: every employer or hiring manager secretly hopes they’ll find the one person who’s absolutely perfect for the open position. But if they’re not careful, they’ll overlook a promising candidate or someone with most, if not all, of the traits needed for the job. One candidate after another gets rejected while, in the meantime, great applicants end up elsewhere (maybe with the competition!) and the unfilled position languishes, at potentially considerable expense.

Of course, you must locate and choose someone who closely fits. But, if you find someone who matches this description and shows a keen inclination to learn and grow, stop and take the time to learn more. You may have the best possible candidate sitting right in front of you.

Hiring Great Candidates and Squandering Their Potential

Recruiting and hiring the best person for the job is just the first step. Equally important is the new employee’s onboarding experience. It’s often within this 60- to 90-day stretch that new hires become disenchanted with the workplace for one reason or another and decide to leave.

Most often, the fault lies with a lack of in-depth and helpful onboarding and orientation. This approach can inhibit building a relationship and connection with the new hire, and that can impact keeping them. Assess your current onboarding process, and consider implementing a detailed plan that includes benchmarks for the new employee’s first day, week, month and quarter.

Moving Forward

The need for high-quality talent has probably never been greater than today. So, it’s essential that employers avoid common recruitment mistakes and design an A-to-Z recruiting process that yields the best results for everyone involved.

Lee Polevoi
Lee Polevoi
Lee Polevoi is a veteran freelance business writer specializing in exploring the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses in the U.S. today. A former senior writer for Vistage International (a global membership organization of CEOs), Lee regularly produces articles, white papers, blog posts and more for the diverse small business audience.

See all posts by Lee Polevoi
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