Top 6 Mistakes Companies Make When Recruiting

Posted by Lawrence Bond March 26, 2023

Everyone makes mistakes in business. After all, we are all human and not everyone is an expert in sourcing and engaging with ‘top talent’. Therefore, the odd mistake is inevitable but when it comes to recruitment the list below covers some of the common traps that companies fall foul of.

Obviously, we work closely with our clients (and potential clients) and we’re happy to go into far more detail, share our knowledge and give step-by-step action points on these – That’s consultancy!

So, without further ado, here are some common mistakes to avoid when recruiting.

Recruitment Is Not A One-off Event
For all businesses with ambition or of a certain size, the recruitment process should be ongoing for roles that are niche or key to your long-term plans. Otherwise, you’re hoping that your search for a candidate is at the very same time that the ideal person happens to be looking too.

If recruitment is not on-going, you will naturally miss out on top talent based on timescales alone.

We work pro-actively with our clients, keeping our ear to the ground and highlighting good people that we know would fit with their growth plans. We also spend time networking with target candidates on behalf of our Clients. Therefore, when that candidate decides to look for a new role, we’re their first port of call and we can alert relevant clients. Imagine the positive impact on your business if you took this approach with your candidate search.

NOTE: This is not always an easy approach and you often have to put in the extra effort to reap the benefits, however your competitors will envy your ability to source candidate who they didn’t even know to be on the market.


Are all relevant stakeholders aligned on all key points?

Too often the process will reach the final stage, and it transpires that the CEO, CFO or the Line-Manager reject the preferred candidate because they’re looking for something different to everyone else.

Communicate and agree key points up-front.

Why are you recruiting? The competences and skills required? Is there an accurate job description (this is NOT the same as an advert!). Who is doing what part of the process?

If you ensure that your internal responsibilities are agreed, you will inevitably find that the external communication is spot on too. Who is going to keep in regular, clear contact with applicants and any third-party involvement?

The better the plan, the greater the chance of a clear, aligned impression being projected externally and a subsequently successful process.

Start with ‘the pitch’ – Adopt A Candidate Mindset
Look at what you are offering from the job seeker’s perspective.

Once you have identified your ideal applicant, put yourselves in the shoes of that candidate and look at your overall offering through their eyes? Think about the key drivers of your target candidates to increase the likelihood that they will not only apply, but that they will engage throughout and subsequently decide that their future is within your business.

If your advert, the interviews and all elements of the process are no more engaging than others within your space, you are often relying on a larger element of luck to secure a better result than ‘the oppo’!

A good exercise is to treat potential employees as well as you would a potential client.

Snooze and You Lose
“If they want the job they’ll wait for us to complete our process!”

This is a rather old-fashioned mentality, but we still hear this and is often followed by someone saying, “well the candidate clearly wasn’t right as they weren’t interested enough”.

The truth is that another business has probably just been a little more commercial and has benefitted from the determination to stick to a process that often isn’t necessary or that could be expedited.

I would never recommend that you rush into a decision, however there’s clearly likely to be competition for the top candidates and it’s potentially naïve to think you’re the only option that candidate has.

Very simply, the longer the process takes, the higher the chances of something going wrong. If the first person you see is perfect, recruit them and don’t delay because…they’re the first person.

Use your competitor’s indecision or inability to be agile in the recruitment process to your advantage.

It’s Good To Talk
So much is done via online platforms and email nowadays but as Bob Hoskins said this in the mid 1990’s television advert, this is still important to this day during the recruitment process.

Pick up the phone. Talk to people. Use the first contact as an opportunity to converse with candidates, get them engaged, find out what else they’re looking at, ‘sell’ to them if necessary (you’d like that if you were a candidate) and simply get to know them and their motivators a little better.

There are so many ‘touch points’ in a job seekers journey and by ensuring that the first contact is more engaging than the next company who merely email them, you gain a competitive edge.

When that candidate has to choose between two companies and they sign your contract, you’ll be glad that your process played a part in influencing their ‘gut feeling’.

Not following up!

Whether it’s providing feedback on CVs or screening calls, or managing those who have been unsuccessful in the recruitment process, please ensure that you treat people as you would want to be treated.

The manner you treat individuals throughout the process will affect their perception of your brand and there’s no short or long-term benefit of leaving these people (who are potential customers too!) with a poor perception, especially if that person has invested time into the process.

Much of our recruitment is at the senior level and no one wants other senior contacts from their sector talking negatively about their business. On the flip side, I’ve encountered clients who have sent wine to all applicants who made it to final stage but were unsuccessful and that action alone led directly to a hire 18 months later!

Other common mistakes

There are so many areas to be careful about and that is where an experienced ‘consultant’ can provide commercially beneficial advice. These areas include overselling opportunities, avoiding less-experienced or even so called over-qualified candidates without talking to them, badly written adverts, poor interview techniques, bad ‘offer-management’ (where counter-offers can undo all of your hard work) and many more!

Why did we write this and give away our knowledge?
I heard from another recruitment consultancy recently (you know who you are!), who told me that they read our news articles and insights and they really liked some of our ideas.

I’ve spent years helping recruiters (clients and competitors as well apparently) and have always advised them on how to improve their internal approach to candidate attraction and retention. That’s the difference in a CV sending agency and being a genuine Consultancy.

Recruitment doesn’t have to be over complicated, however a little thought into processes, candidates perception of your offering, how engaging you are with applicants and your teams and there’s no surprise that you increase your chances of securing better results than your competitors.

It doesn’t happen overnight and behind the scenes we suggest and implement various practices to help our clients fill their vacancies.

If you want to know more about how a genuine consultancy works, give me or the other guys at BondMoran a call. We’re happy to grab a coffee too – after all, we’re just human beings trying to build our business and remember, a good Consultant is for life, not just for Christmas!

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