Hiring Mistakes You Might Be Making (& How to Fix Them)

Hiring mistake

Common hiring mistakes and how to fix them.

While it’s easy to blame the job market, the skills shortage, the pandemic, or even climate change for recruiting challenges today, it’s also easy to overlook what’s right in front of you. Could your business be guilty of making hiring mistakes that add up to big talent losses? You wouldn’t be alone.

Some Recruiting Models No Longer Apply
Everyday HR and recruiting teams leverage old recruiting models that no longer apply to today’s digitally transformed, quick-moving talent marketplace. As a result, frustrations are high and applicant pools are insufficient.

Curious to know if your business is making some of the same blunders and how to fix them? Here are three common talent engagement and acquisition mistakes we’re seeing across the marketplace and what you can do if your business is making them.

Mistake #1: Catering to the Employer, Overlooking the Candidate

Many employers approach stages of the recruitment life cycle in terms of their needs: the credentials and experience they want, their timing, their wage structure, their communication protocols, etc. They overlook opportunities to accommodate and enhance the candidate’s experience, such as:

  • Timely application communications. Many employers, for example, only respond to candidates they are pursuing, failing to acknowledge applications, resumes, and other inquiries from talent. For employers the exact same behavior from candidates is maddening.
  • Considering candidate schedules and pressures. The same can happen in terms of speed-to-offer and speed-to-hire. Many employers have a set process of approvals and requirements that have to be completed long before an offer can be made. The result is a slowdown that in-demand candidates are unlikely to tolerate. In a recent discussion with a frustrated talent acquisition leader from a longtime “employer of choice” enterprise, I heard how the company’s formerly great recruiting process no longer works. It had been a well-oiled machine that could manage 20,000 applications at any time and included a battery of tests and interviews. Now the company’s recruiting teams are underwater because the process cannot move quickly enough to make hires, candidates are moving on, and the broken talent acquisition process restarts. 

The lesson: when recruitment stages advance only with the business’ timeline in mind, great candidates will move on.

 How to Fix a Lopsided Recruitment Process

  • Take a fresh look at the entire recruitment life cycle. From job posting to onboarding, and analyze where candidates are being considered in each phase of the process and where they are being overlooked. A good practice is to interview those who have been through the process, both those who accepted jobs and those who declined, to find out where the recruitment phases could be frustrating candidates, what’s working, and what could be done better. 
  • Balance automation with interaction. It’s also a good idea to balance automated engagement and personal engagement. Automation can be a wonderful tool for quick updates: We received your application and someone will be in touch with you within 24 hours with the next steps. Thank you for applying! Automation is also useful for event reminders in the employment life cycle: Your interview will be at X time and X location. Please arrive 15 minutes early. We can’t wait to meet you. While automation makes employers’ workloads easier, personal outreach–even in small doses–helps candidates build a real connection to your business. And compared to a chatbot, real connections are much harder to walk away from. 
  • Check your speed. It’s also important to track how many candidates declined your offers because they came too slowly. While the speed of the offer depends on the role, level in an organization, assessment process, and employment package, there are many roles in which the process can be accelerated. Just ask Macy’s, Kohl’s and companies that employ truck and delivery drivers across the U.S. Many of these organizations have recently announced same-day job offers as a part of their hiring events. 

Mistake #2: Not Going Far Enough with Data

Good data doesn’t lie. It’s a wonderful tool for exposing flaws and opportunities in the recruitment process. However, many businesses only use recruitment data as a one-time snapshot, such as:

  • Looking at a cost-per-hire ratio but not analyzing the quality of hires. How can a business measure value if they are not assessing talent quality?
  • Assessing the number of applicants per job posting without looking at the analytics from other versions or like postings. Perhaps the post length or list of requirements are too daunting to most candidates? If comparable positions with shorter descriptions and fewer requirements perform better, it’s an indication that strategic job posting changes make a difference. 
  • Ignoring market trends. If application numbers fall, is the business examining the marketplace and competitive events that might be impacting the numbers? Understanding recruitment means understanding both what’s happening in your organization as well as what’s impacting candidates outside in the marketplace. 

How to Take Data to the Next Level
Make data analytics a central part of the recruitment tracking and analysis process by setting targets to measure. For too long, recruiter and HR teams have relied on anecdotal evidence of hiring struggle and success while ignoring the data. With the capabilities of applicant tracking systems (ATSs) and other recruiting tools, businesses can measure all areas of recruitment performance, from identifying which postings are performing well to seeing from where and when the most applicants arrive, helping businesses analyze the results with data and make transformative changes based on real insights. 

Mistake #3: Half-hearted Tech Integrations

Many businesses are guilty of purchasing recruiting tools and tech without making the time or effort to fully integrate them into internal recruiting systems and processes. They miss out on the efficiencies and insights of the system while the recruiting process stays about the same. 

How to Find Your Pilot
The question to ask with any new recruitment tech solution or tool is this: “Do we have someone who can fly this plane?” Is there an expert in-house with the time to dedicate to ensuring the system’s successful rollout and integration? Is there someone who can also support technical challenges and strategic questions? If not, an outside partner, such as an RPO partner with expertise in the technology, is worth engaging. Advanced RPO, for example, has an internal tech, research and data team dedicated to ensuring clients can leverage the best of technology as they build a modern, digital, efficient recruitment process. 

Goodbye Errors, Hello Excellence
For any business making one or more of these recruitment mistakes, there is good news. You have just identified several ways to make significant improvements to your recruitment outcomes. With more applicant-centric, data-smart and tech supported recruitment, hiring and retention results are going to improve.