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Hiring candidates is no easy task. Recruiters must ardently search for and recruit potential candidates, vet them, as well prepare rigorously for the interviews, and then find the best match amongst the candidates they’ve acquired and the job positions they are hiring for. However, no matter how strongly a recruiter prepares for the hiring process, it is the smaller details in the entire process that often go awry. And, it is these seemingly “smaller” recruiting faux pas that could cause a recruiter to potentially lose a valuable candidate.
In fact, of late, more and more cases are occurring where recruiters are losing good candidates simply because of small mistakes – mistakes like having a rigid checklist of qualities and qualifications that candidates must adhere to in order to get the post; or even not tapping into social media to find potential candidates.
In order to snag candidates that best match the positions they are hiring for, recruiters also need to be creative with their strategies today – especially when recruiting for roles within small businesses. However, in addition to that requirement, clumsy recruiting mistakes need to be avoided lest a great hire is lost.
Here are five common mistakes that small-business recruiters need to guard against:
1. Job Description Is Not Inclusive
The age of the dry and generic job description is over. In today’s scenario, job candidates expect more from a job post and will lose interest in it if it’s not well-crafted. In fact, putting up such a job description could very well chase away great candidates and even cause the recruiter to make the wrong hires.
Hence, the recruiter needs to be creative with the job description: Make it inclusive and clearly define the “specific” qualities and qualifications that the recruiter is looking for in a candidate. Don’t use a generic description that has a bullet-list of qualifications and duties alone; explain the company’s culture and goals and how the ideal candidate will fit into the company when they fill that particular job post.
In short, the job description should be customized to give candidates a sense of what the company is about, along with an explanation of the job position. And, it must be crafted with the aim of appealing to the ideal candidate.
Also, what recruiters need to remember is that both job titles and what a job entails have evolved and diversified over time – and that is continuing to do so. Hence, an old job description or title (even one that is just a few years old) could be quite obsolete today. So recruiters need to carefully revise the old job description(s) they have for an available job post, check if the job details and title are still relevant to what a candidate is required to do today, and then customize or revamp that entire job description to better attract the kind of candidate the recruiter wants for the post.
This not only makes the job position much more relevant and interesting to the ideal candidates, but also clearly informs potential candidates what they can expect if they’re hired for that position. Plus, it’s the job description that also instructs candidates on how to prepare for the upcoming interviews for the position.
2. Poor Application For Job Search Strategy
A poor application process can harm not only a business’ chances of acquiring great candidates, but also the business’ reputation for hiring practices.
Narrowing the pool of candidates to rigidly specific qualifications, educational backgrounds, or even similar skills and experiences, can all adversely affect the recruiting strategy. Instead, creating a strategy that encourages a diverse workforce is much more advantageous when it comes to hiring a great candidate and it will only also add to the good reputation of the company.
Using outdated or duplicated applications is another mistake that is fairly common. For, potential candidates for different posts require different job applications, just like different job descriptions are required for different job positions.
Yet another oversight that should be avoided in the application process is not creating a definite timeline for the recruitment process. After all, if the recruitment process moves too fast, key factors can be overlooked and the business can wind up hiring an unsuitable candidate for a particular job position. Including qualifications and other requirements in a job posting that are actually not is another kind of clumsy mistake that recruiters should take care to avoid in the application process. These unnecessary “requirements” actually chases away potentially ideal candidates.
3. Interviewers Bad Behavior During The Interview
Punctuality and professional etiquette are not just required from the interviewee’s side, but also from the interviewer’s!
Such bad behavior includes being extremely late to the interview, rushing the candidates and not giving them time to answer the questions, talking throughout the interview, not paying attention to the candidate being interviewed, answering phone calls and emails during the interview, and even discussing the other candidates or mocking the current candidate! These are not only big deterrents to the hiring process, but could also greatly damage the company’s reputation. After all, if the interviewers themselves disregard professional etiquette, it’s not a big leap to consider that the business as a whole will behave in the same way. In fact, even if a candidate gets through the interview and passes to the next level, there’s a good chance they will refuse the job anyway due to this kind of unprofessional behavior. After all, it isn’t likely that such a company will treat their employees well.
In fact, even if a candidate gets through the interview and passes to the next level, there’s a good chance they will refuse the job anyway due to this kind of unprofessional behavior. After all, it isn’t likely that such a company will treat their employees well.
4. Forget To Check The Candidate’s Reference
Attracting a diverse pool of candidates with a versatile pool of skill sets to a position is what every recruiter should strive for. However, no matter what a candidate’s range of experience, skills, origin, gender, socioeconomic background, race, or age is, it is still crucial to check every candidate’s references before they are hired. And while most companies do not reveal too much about their employees these days, recruiters should try to gain at least a brief summation of the candidate’s skills and conduct from their references.
Here are three basic areas recruiters should question their candidates’ references on:
The candidate’s responsibilities:
Learning about the candidate’s previous job responsibilities will inform the recruiter about how well the candidate can handle their job position’s responsibilities if the candidate is hired.
The candidate’s strengths:
This will give the recruiter an idea about what the candidate could bring to the table if they are hired. This question will also include information about any possible raises or promotions that the candidate was in line for.
The candidate’s weaknesses:
This information is just as important as the candidate’s strengths. And, while most references will be reluctant to mention the candidate’s weaknesses or anything negative about them, paying attention to the reference person’s tone of voice and hesitations should give the recruiter enough of a good idea about it.
5. Failing To Follow Up With Interviewed Candidates
Following up with interviewed candidates is a crucial part of recruiting. All candidates – whether they only applied for the job position, or they passed the application stage to any point of hiring consideration by the recruiter – deserve to have a follow-up communication about their status.
Among other things, following up politely with potential candidates, even if they don’t become the chosen hire for that particular post, is a clear way of saying that you value that candidate and appreciate their time regardless of the final decision. This, in turn, not only eases the uncertainty the candidate would have been feeling about their job application, but it also keeps the candidate open to other (future) job offers in the company that they may be a perfect match for.
Tips on Recruitment Strategy:
Here are a couple of other tips that should make the entire recruitment process more effective (as well as altogether more appealing to potential candidates):
Avoid Salary Ranges in the Job Description:
While recruiting candidates for small businesses, it’s a good idea to avoid mentioning the salary range in the job description. What recruiters should aim for in this initial contact with a potential candidate is to simply connect with them and get them interested in the job. Not mentioning the salary also has two advantages: One, it keeps the salary negotiable; and two, it won’t limit the applicants to those who are looking for jobs only within that salary range.
Offer More Than the Expected Salary:
Another salary-based tip recruiters can put to use is offering a salary that is above what the candidate is getting. This will make the candidate feel valued and inclined to be loyal to the company.
Offer New and/or Above Par Industry Benefits:
Offering the basic industry-standard benefits to employees is a must for any good business. However, offering higher and/or newer industry benefits in addition to the norm will attract more candidates, as well as keep your existing employees happier.
Work flexibility, extra bonuses (based on achievements), stock options within the company, etc., are some of the extra benefits a company could offer in a candidate’s job package.
Conclusion: With job titles and positions becoming more complex and diverse than ever, it is exceedingly important for recruiters to keep an open mind and adapt quickly to the coming changes in the recruitment and job sphere. And while there is no formula to ensure immediate success, the above recruitment tips offer a sound base for recruiters to use in their recruitment strategy.
About the Author: Bezon Karter is a senior recruiter in UK, and also works as a consultant & trainer for top IT companies. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the tech scene.