Top 8 Recruiting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Top 8 Recruiting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Experts suggest that the cost of losing one single employee can extend anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to as much as double that employee’s annual salary. These numbers may sound outrageous, however, when you take into account all of the elements that go into hiring, onboarding, and training, it makes more sense. There are several methods to try and retain your employees for longer, whether it’s with engagement tools, offering benefits over difficult periods to increase productivity or by reskilling them in order to avoid redundancy.

However, in many situations, by avoiding the most common recruiting mistakes, you can make sure that you hire the best employee for the role; one who will want to stay for longer. Additionally, some common recruitment mistakes can end up costing you money by leaving the vacancy open for much longer than anticipated. So by making wrong recruiting decisions, not only will you be attracting the wrong people for the role, you may not be attracting anyone at all! We’ve gathered the top 8 recruitment mistakes to avoid, so you can be ready the next time you start your talent search.


8 Most Common Recruiting Mistakes and How Not To Make Them


1. Overreaching With The Job Description

Wanting to find the absolute perfect person for the role, doesn’t mean you need a laundry list of 40 requirements, including “out-of-the-box thinker,” “problem solver,” and “works well under pressure”. Your candidates are most likely to click away from the job ad if they see something too long or complicated, so it’s best to avoid redundancies and clichés. Additionally, studies have shown that women tend to apply for jobs where they meet 100% of the criteria, while men only settle for 60%. Meaning, the more you ask for, the fewer diversified candidates you’ll receive — so maybe that role doesn’t have to require an MBA after all.


2. Blasting the Job Ad Everywhere Possible

One of the most common recruiting mistakes is overexposing the job ad, especially if you are under a time crunch to fill the vacancy. You may think that the more means of exposure you use, such as social media, job boards, hiring recruiters, approaching universities and more, the better your chances are for finding the right talent. In reality, this may be a huge time-waster, as you can end up approaching the same applicants several times. Or worse than that, you may end up with a massive pile of irrelevant resumes that you have to sift through. Instead, you can use an ATS software, to help you track where you’re getting the most candidates from and focus on those channels. It can also help you recognize the quality of the candidates.


3. Not Considering the “Culture Add”

There is a lot of talk about recruiting for “cultural fit,” which means that you should make sure that the person you are hiring is not just qualified for the role, but will also get along perfectly with your team. We want to dispute that common belief and actually encourage you to hire people who are not exactly like your current team but will add new cultural perspectives, attitudes, and points of view (the “culture add”). If you recruit only people who are similar to you, you run the risk of unconscious bias, which will lead to a lack of diversity.


4. Losing Contact with Candidates During the Process, or After the Offer

Another one of the most common recruiting mistakes is to not keep close contact with your candidates. As job seekers today have so many opportunities to find employment, it’s safe to assume that while you’re busy with processing their data, they’re getting calls from other companies. If you don’t communicate at every step of the process to let them know where they stand, they can take that as a rejection and move on to the next offer. This can even happen after an offer was made. If you simply disappear they can interpret that as a change of heart. So it’s best to onboard your candidates as soon as possible.


5. Turning Away Overqualified Candidates

A lot of employers fear that workers with a greater skill set than what’s required will not last for long. It’s a common misconception that these employees are simply biding their time until they find something better. In fact, they may be looking for a career shift, may want to work in a differently structured company or have any number of reasons to choose this role. If you provide them with development opportunities, give them a place to showcase their skills and reward them, they won’t just stay longer but will help your company grow in new ways. 


6. Not Asking Your Employees For Referrals

One of the most familiar recruiting mistakes is going straight to outside sources. Instead of wasting all of your time on job boards and social media to reach completely new people, who you’ll then have to vet, you can use your employees to reach people that are pre-vetted. Since your employees don’t want to make a bad impression, they will most likely recommend people who are actually suited for the role and they will also come to the interview knowing more about the company and the position, which will make the process that much shorter and more effective.


7. Freestyling During the Interview

Many candidates are interview-savvy, have done their due diligence and have probably prepared their answers to the most common questions, such as “what’s your biggest weakness” and “why should we hire you.” This, however, does not mean that you should throw the interview questionnaire out of the window altogether. 

When choosing to conduct a freestyle conversation with every candidate, it’s easy to go into personal details and also fall into unconscious bias, as we’ve already discussed. If there’s no set of variables for you to compare among candidates, you may end up choosing the one you liked the most, instead of the most qualified. So you can dump the boring questions and try for new angles that will surprise the candidate, but it’s important to have a structure nonetheless.


8. Holding Out For the Perfect Candidate

While we’ve discussed how hiring the wrong person may lead to high turnover, this does not mean that you should not consider anyone who doesn’t exactly match the set of requirements you set out for the role. This approach can keep you waiting for a very long time, or worse, get you to hire someone who’s exactly right for that role, but when the role grows, they’re unwilling to change. It’s better to look out for a person with the right attitude, who is looking to learn and develop along with your company.