Even with all of today’s technology and the expert advice you can get online regarding recruiting and talent acquisition, hiring companies are still missing out on top talent. Right now, the U.S. economy is performing well and there’s a lot of movement within the job market and labor force. However, there are still problems when it comes to recruiting real talent. Competition is strict for top talent and companies are poaching high performers and influencers more than ever before, so why can’t companies land their top choice? They can’t fill open positions with the best possible person because of mistakes within their recruiting processes.

What are some common mistakes in recruiting?

Hiring represents a huge investment in time and resources for every company. It is the costliest decision a hiring manager or HR professional can make, so you want to look carefully and choose wisely. Mistakes can cause a candidate to opt-out or accept the position only to quit within the first few days of employment (onboarding). When that happens, the company never receives a return on its investment. So, if this sounds familiar and you are losing out on talent, you may want to avoid the following costly recruiting mistakes.

Your Job Descriptions:
According to a recent article published on the Society for Human Resource Management’s website, “Job Descriptions Remain a Weak Link in Hiring Process” experts say poorly written job descriptions may cause you to lose out on top talent and even affect your ability to retain your current high performers. Just as a sloppy resume is unattractive and will cause you to pass on an applicant, a poorly written and crafted job description has the same effect on job seekers. It’s bad for your reputation and brand.

Relying on One Source:
Some company’s entire recruiting strategy is based exclusively on the referral. It is estimated that over 50% of all jobs are filled via a referral. However, being known as a referral-focused employer can also damage your public reputation and future recruiting strategies. By concentrating on referrals or any singular source, you’ll alienate a wider group of talent and it can even cause a talent backlash.

The Search Is Too Broad (or Narrow):
As stated above, sometimes you can narrow your focus to only one avenue, but other times you can use too many avenues. For instance, if you are a large company with global operations, odds are you are not having a problem receiving resumes. However, you may have problems receiving great resumes. You might consider a targeted search, using niche job boards, social media, and talent communities. If you are a smaller company looking to expand its talent pool then maybe consider opening your search by using major job boards, broadcast media, and even Facebook.

Lack of Communication:
The failure to communicate at any point in the recruiting process, which is in fact the candidate’s experience, can also cause top candidates to abandon your process — or worse, the job itself. Time is of the essence. Top candidates have too many other options to wait around to hear from you. It is imperative that you keep them informed throughout the entire process. If there are any setbacks, slowdowns, or changes in the process, be sure to tell your top choices before they assume you are no longer interested. This comes down to making sure to have your recruiting process well organized and running efficiently.

You Are Not Open-Minded Enough:
Oftentimes, a hiring manager already knows who they want to fill the position, or they know the kind of person they want. This can be problematic when a recruiter tries to present a list of candidates and the hiring manager refuses to consider anyone outside of their “dream candidate.” This happens way more than you would think. A hiring manager is determined to hire a certain person, even if that person has a lackluster interview or isn’t qualified. Trying to change the hiring manager’s mind can be nearly impossible — since they will be working with the candidate, they believe they know best. However, by being closed-minded, ultimately the manager and the whole company suffers from making a bad hiring decision.

Bad Candidate Experience:
Failure to communicate is not the only problem within the candidate experience which could turn off many potential candidates. The candidate experience starts from the time an applicant reads and decides to apply to your company. It includes the first contact (email, text, or phone call), the phone interview, the face-to-face interview, the job offer, the negotiation period, and the onboarding process. The hiring team can say or do things at any step in that process that could change a candidate’s mind, so be careful and make sure your team is properly trained on how to recruit appropriately.

No Mobile Optimization:
More people use a smartphone or tablet to access the Internet these days. Most job seekers look for jobs on their smartphones, and many have expressed frustration in the fact that they can’t apply quickly and easily via their mobile device. If you are pushing candidates to a desktop in order to apply, you could be missing out on a very tech-savvy and resourceful employee.

Here’s how to avoid costly recruiting mistakes:

  1. Make sure the job description is formatted and posted correctly and without errors.
  2. Diversify your talent search. Think of your needs and use targeted strategies to reach the appropriate talent communities.
  3. If your recruiting process is lengthy or slow for whatever reason, communicate that to your top choices upfront and keep them informed.
  4. Be open to all viable and qualified candidates, even if you have your favorites already in mind.
  5. Remember that job seekers are looking for Class A treatment from employers, so make sure your entire candidate experience is top-notch, consistent, and professional.
  6. Sit down with the web developers and optimize your career site and application process for mobile users.

Have you experienced failures in your recruiting process? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.

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