We are all human, and we all make mistakes. This is inevitable. Some mistakes are easily avoided, such as scheduling important meetings for the wrong time, or sending emails to the wrong recipient. The good thing about these is that even if they do happen, they can be easily prevented from happening again. However, as recruiters, some of the most common mistakes are ones that we probably don’t even realise we’re making.
Read on and find out about some of the most common recruiting mistakes, and how to avoid them in the future.
Asking predictable questions that lead to rehearsed answers, and reveal nothing about the candidate
Some of the most commonly asked interview questions include things such as “What is your biggest weakness”, or “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. Don’t make the mistake of relying on these simple, predictable questions. Although there is nothing inherently bad about these questions, the problem is that candidates will be expecting them, and will have preprepared and rehearsed their answers.
Chad MacRae, founder of Recruiting Social, suggests asking questions such as “What skill do you feel you’re missing out on?”. Asking this will reveal more about a candidate and will make them think more deeply about their answer, and how it is applicable to the role.
It is important to make sure to ask questions that reveal something more about the candidate, rather than asking standard surface-level questions. Aviva Leebow Wolmer, chairwoman at Vistage Worldwide, says that “If you want to actually learn a thing or two, ask questions that you don’t know the answer to, and ones for which the candidate can’t prepare”.
Equating education and experience with skills
You can’t deny that education and experience are important and relevant, but a candidate’s most important asset is their ability to do the job. This is best assessed through the skills they possess, rather than where they have studied, or how many previous jobs they have had. Rather than dismissing candidates because their studies or experience do not look as impressive on paper as those of other candidates, strive to discover whether they have both the ‘soft skills’ and ‘hard skills’ needed for a job. This can be difficult – in fact, over 60% of hiring managers agree that screening for soft skills is tough.
By narrowing the criteria for a job to exclude those without certain skills or education, the talent pool is greatly reduced.
Not staying in contact with candidates throughout the entire hiring process
With such a high demand for talent, you should be aware that the best candidates will not be willing to go through a long and drawn-out recruitment process. Always keep candidates informed of the stages of the process, even if there is no progress. Be transparent and always communicate the status of the process. You will gain their trust, and that is the most important thing!
Maintaining contact with candidates helps to keep you in the candidate’s mind as a preferred option. It can also help humanise the recruitment process and make it less bureaucratic.
Relying on external candidates only
Today, less than a third of companies fill their vacancies with internal candidates. However, this can be a mistake. It is important to remember that the best candidate for a position may already work in your company.
In many search processes, the vacancy is opened to both inside and outside the company, so that internal and external candidates compete on equal terms, and the most suitable candidate is chosen. The advantage of internal candidates is that they already know the organisation, the culture, and in many cases, we know how they have performed on projects and their most important skills, so the assessment can be more complete than with an external candidate.
In fact, according to Matthew Bidell, professor of management at Wharton, it is estimated that it can take 3 years for externally recruited professionals to perform as well as internal recruits in the same position.
Internal promotion is also a great way to retain good professionals, preventing them from leaving for opportunities at other companies. Internal recruitment has not only immediate benefits but can be good for the company in the long term, and help to reduce turnover.
According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 report, employees stay 41% longer at companies that regularly recruit from within.
Focusing on finding candidates who fit with the company culture, rather than those who bring new values
Many companies focus on trying to recruit the candidates they believe will best fit with their company culture.
According to Lisa Lee, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and Marta Riggins, Director of Employee Experience and Marketing at Pandora, we need to stop using the term ‘culture fit’ and focus on better recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce.
Recruiting only those you think will fit your company’s culture will lead to a lack of diversity.
In fact, according to a Harvard Business Review article, a lack of diversity in teams leads to a lack of innovation and a tendency to underperform overall. Therefore, having cultural, gender, and generational diversity, different points of view and ways of working will lead to a company being much more competitive and rich in nuance, and being led by a diverse group of people, perspectives and ideas.
Ignoring “overqualified” candidates
Many recruiters may overlook candidates they consider to be overqualified for a variety of reasons. It may be for reasons such as that these candidates are above the salary band, or that they will eventually become bored with the job.
However, it is important to understand that there may be other reasons for “overqualified” candidates to apply for a certain position; for example, a better work-life balance, or better non-financial benefits.
These candidates are often quicker to train and start in the job, and require less supervision, which is clearly an advantage for the company. They can also bring a wealth of experience and ideas to teams.
Recruiting candidates who are less qualified than oneself
In an interview with the New York Times, American entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki said that many employers hire below their own level of qualification. Some managers are afraid to hire those they consider better or more qualified than themselves, as they may feel threatened.
However, it is important to bring in people who are an asset to the team, and who add value with their strengths and knowledge.
Recruiting people with a high level of qualification can help improve the skills of others and can be very beneficial to your company.
Now that you know the most common mistakes and how to avoid them, you are sure to find your best candidates. Good luck Recruiter!