Top 3 Mistakes Recruiters Make—and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Ryan Frazier

If you’re looking to revamp your recruiting process, understanding the common mistakes recruiters make could be the key. The reason? Mistakes can come with a hefty price tag. In fact, a CareerBuilder survey found that companies lose an average of $14,900 for every bad hire. What’s more, 74% of employers say they’ve hired the wrong person in the past. While it’s not always easy to own up to making mistakes, the reality is that talent acquisition can be challenging and mistakes can happen to the best of us. The ones to watch out for: not understanding a candidate’s priorities, not looping stakeholders into the hiring process and failing to set clear hiring timelines. 

Here are the top three mistakes recruiters make and tips on how to fix them. 

Misunderstanding a candidate’s priorities

Screening candidates is a key part of a recruiter’s role but failing to clarify a candidate’s priorities can lead to miscommunication and a poor interview experience. So why does this happen? It usually comes down to focusing too much on the role and not enough on the candidate. Luckily, a few simple tweaks to the screening process can help you avoid this mistake and ensure a good fit. 

The Fix: Ask candidates about their day-to-day role and the types of projects they like to work on. This can give you great insights into what they’re looking for and whether they’d be a good fit for the position. Once you have a clear sense of a candidate’s interests, asking behavioral interview questions such as, “What’s the first thing you’d tackle in this position?” can help you round out those insights and understand a candidate’s main priorities. 

Failing to get stakeholders involved in the hiring process 

For most companies, recruiting is a rapidly-moving process and it’s not always clear who should be involved in hiring decisions from the start. But taking the time to establish this before you post the job listing can make a big difference when it comes time to make the final decision.

The Fix: Map out the key steps in the hiring process. This can help ensure that you’ve got all your bases covered and that you’re aware of the stakeholders involved. The best way to do this is to sit down with the hiring manager and walk through the role together, understanding the requirements and who will likely need to be involved in selecting the final candidate. Once you have this information, be sure to loop in the other members of the team so that everyone is aligned before the hiring process starts.

Not setting clear hiring timelines

Of all the recruiting mistakes you can make, failing to outline a recruiting timeline might be the biggest one. Here’s why: 40% of candidates lose interest in a role if they haven’t heard back within a week of the interview. What’s more, without a clear sense of what to expect from the hiring process, even candidates who don’t lose interest are likely to prioritize other opportunities rather than making your company their go-to choice. 

The Fix: Set expectations with candidates early on. This is extremely important and the earlier you do this, the smoother things will be. During your first call, be sure to let them know when they can expect to hear back from you and what the next steps are likely to be. If the timeline extends beyond what you outlined in your initial conversation, get in touch right away and keep them updated on any changes.

Mistakes can affect candidate experience and the quality of your hires, but there’s a lot you can do to mitigate them. By taking a proactive approach to addressing them, you can ensure that you put your best foot forward and get the hires you want.

Want to improve your recruiting strategy? Learn how to overcome a talent shortage and how to calculate your cost per hire.

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