The Biggest Hiring Mistakes Employers Make

HRH 4 | Biggest Hiring Mistakes

Hiring the right candidate to fill in a position for a job is essential, but it can be very challenging. After all, the hiring process is more than just choosing the right person. It’s also about attracting and securing the best candidate, someone whose values align with your company’s mission, vision, and principles. On today’s show, Andrea Hoffer highlights the biggest mistakes we often see employers make, and shares some tips to help you get better results in your next recruitment and hiring effort.

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The Biggest Hiring Mistakes Employers Make

We’re going to talk about the biggest mistakes we often see employers make when they’re going about recruiting people to fill in their jobs. We have six mistakes we’re going to talk about. There are a lot more, but we’re going to throw in some tips and things to help you so that you get better results in your next recruitment and hiring effort. I know that some recruiters and some employers may disagree with this but one of the first mistakes that I often see is that a job application will say, “To apply, you must first take this assessment. You must first do this project in order to be considered.” I’m not disagreeing that adding a behavioral or skill assessment or some project as part of the hiring process can be extremely valuable. If you do it as the first thing you’re asking from them, you may lose a lot of potentially good candidates.

Here’s why. First of all, when potential candidates see your job posting, you don’t know where they are at the time. Most will apply on their mobile device so they could be standing in line. If you’re an actual physical location, they could be at your location and see a sign. They could be anywhere when they first see the post and when it first catches their eye just like when they first see an ad for something. If you’re asking them to do something that would require them to remember the posting, remember how to get back to it and later at a desktop when they have more resources available to them as far as technology and have time to think, they may forget about it. It might not be a priority for them anymore. They may lose the posting.

You want to make it easy for that initial application. You can ask a couple of screening questions to make sure they’re truly interested, but something they can answer on their mobile device. That way, you’ve brought them in. If you’re asking them to do something that takes more time and they might not be able to do it before they’re invested in you, before you’ve captured their full attention, then you’re lowering the chances of keeping them interested. I’d recommend that your application process is pretty easy. It can be done on a mobile device fairly quickly, and then your next step could ask them to do something a little bit more time and effort-intensive. For example to submit a video interview.

Job postings are essentially an advertisement. You want to put out there what you're all about and connect with the right candidates. Click To Tweet

The next mistake we often see, and this is a big one, you go through all these job postings and you read them and they are for lack of a better word, boring. They read legal job descriptions and that’s not going to connect to a good candidate. The job postings are essentially an advertisement. You want to put out there what you’re all about and connect with the right candidates. You want to show your passion for what your company does because you want to attract candidates who also feel that passion and who’s going to be a good fit in your culture. We talked about how to get your story out, how to get your culture more clearly defined so you can share that in your recruitment materials and your daily work life.

I will tell you an example. I had one client who when they first came to us said, “We work with a lot of government contracts but we’re a fun culture. We’re fun to be around. Even though we’re serious about what we do, we’re still fun and laid back. We’re getting all these candidates who are serious. They’re not connecting to the fun part. They don’t fit in with us.” I asked them to share the posting they’d been using. I’ve read their posts and three sentences down, I’m already half-asleep. I said to her, “If I read this posting, serious is what you want. I don’t see any fun in here. That’s not what you’re going to attract and it’s not how your candidates are going to show up. Let’s pull some of your cultures and put them into that posting. Let’s make sure your culture is getting out there so that’s who you attract.” That is so important in everything you do, in your posting and the blogs you send out.

That brings us to the next mistake that we see. People think all they need to do to recruit candidates is to throw an ad on a job board. Job boards are still good vehicles for reaching people, but the thing is that can’t be the only vehicle. We’re not finding most of our strong candidates through job boards. We’re starting to even see that some of the bigger job boards like Indeed and Monster, the ones that cover all industries, you’ll get a high volume of applications but not good quality. That could be one because they offer the ability to automatically apply to jobs if it picks up keywords. Those candidates aren’t invested at all. They don’t even know they apply to your job.

HRH 4 | Biggest Hiring Mistakes
Biggest Hiring Mistakes: When we build a visual job posting, candidates spend a lot more time reading it and digesting the information.

I wouldn’t say to not use them, but you also want to look at a lot of these specialized job boards that have popped up. We’re seeing an increasing amount of those. Look for job boards that focus on the industry or the type of skills that you’re looking for. Even more importantly, go to social media. Where do these candidates hang out? There are Facebook and LinkedIn groups where people around different industries and job types get together. They’re constantly talking not just about finding jobs, but they’re talking about best practices. These are great people to target and to join in their conversation so that they know that you’re interested in their industry and the best practices. When you have a job opening, you can share it with them. You have a pool of people who you already know, probably have some passion for what you do and some skillsets. It’s a good place to connect with.

Put things in your blogs about what it’s like to work at your business or organization. Share that even when you don’t have a job opening. We love to use QR codes. We feel that the job posting needs to jump off the page. It’s difficult to do that with a text-base job posting. You still need to have the words and the words still need to connect with the people. We find that when we build what we call a visual job posting where it’s more like a landing page and has pictures, videos and icons, where you can interact with it and can click on things, candidates spend a lot more time reading it and digesting the information. We see the quality of candidates to be a lot stronger with what we received through that platform.

There are lots of programs out there that you can do it for free and you can put your logo in the middle of the QR code. Put it on a business card and have that QR code connect right to your job posting, especially if it’s a visual landing page. Hand it out as you meet people, even if you’re not hiring that they have a connection to you. If you’re a retail establishment, put that QR code on your hiring sign, “Join our team,” and there’s the QR code. It’s easy. All they have to do is hold their mobile phone up to it like they’re taking a picture and it brings them right to the job posting.

Job candidates are your customers, too, just in a different way. Click To Tweet

Number four, the other mistake we often see is employers trying to attract or connect candidates based on the day-to-day of the job and the money. While those two things are still important, what we’re seeing more and more from candidates is they want to know there’s an opportunity for growth. They want to know you offer a career path, that you thought about it and that you’re willing to continue that discussion with them and help them grow within your company. They don’t want just a job. On one level, a job to feed themselves and their family is important, but they want to know that they’re making an impact on your company. Because of that impact, they’re going to have the opportunity to move up and to develop new skills.

That brings us to number five. The other mistake we often see is hiring for skillset. The skills that you need to have to do your job well can be taught. We talked about this in our episode about formulating those questions. When you find people who are looking to grow, who want to learn new skills, their ears perk up when you say, “We’re going to have to make sure if we do move forward with you that you get a certification or we make sure we teach you this.” They get excited by that and they are a great fit for your culture. They fit into what your day-to-day is like. Those things are more important than their years of experience using this skill because you can teach them that skill and they’ll be excited to learn. It will keep them with your company. They’ll feel like you’ve invested in them and you already know that they want to help your company grow.

Lastly, and this is often forgotten, it’s the most important thing when you’re recruiting and it’s not done on purpose. We as business owners and as employers, get caught up in the day-to-day. We’re all busy. Unfortunately, the candidate experience has sometimes fallen down in the priority list. This is number one when it comes to recruiting and hiring because the candidates are going to learn. They’ll see how you treat them from the onset and if you’re not treating them well. I’m not saying being disrespectful. I don’t think most people out there being mean or disrespectful in any way to their candidates. The biggest complaint from candidates is that they don’t hear back in a timely manner or they never hear back, and it is important that within 2 to 3 days of every touchpoint with a candidate. That’s from their first application to every time you connect with them that they receive some status update, feedback or checking in, “We are letting you know we’re a little behind in the next step because of this, but we’ll get back to you.” Something to keep them in the loop.

HRH 4 | Biggest Hiring Mistakes
Biggest Hiring Mistakes: Even if job candidates are not going to be the right fit for your company, they could eventually be a customer.

If you’re no longer interested in them, please let them go. Let them focus on finding the right job for them. We had a potential client once. They called us because they had loads and loads of applications and they’re way behind in getting back to these candidates and they didn’t get back to them at all. They were true in every other way in their company to their core values. One of their core values was around this idea of integrity, showing up, following through and doing what they say they’re going to do. What prompted the CEO to call us was a candidate emailed the CEO and said, “You talk so much about integrity, doing what you say you’re going to do and following up. I applied for this position. I followed up several times and I’ve never heard from you and to me, this says you don’t have integrity. You’re not living your core values and that’s what you’re putting out in the world. Is that how you want to show up?”

I thought that it was incredible that a candidate recognized that. It struck hard with the CEO and it shows these candidates, even if they’re not going to be the right fit for your company, could eventually be a customer or talk to somebody who could be a customer. They’re going to go out and talk about your company. If they have a bad experience, even something that you think is small as they apply and never heard anything, most of them are going to share that and not in a good way and you don’t want that. You work hard to build the reputation you have for your business and your company. Also, they could be speaking to a future candidate or they could be the right candidate for you and you just didn’t have the time to recognize it.

Before you even put an ad out there or think about hiring, put in place a way to manage your candidate experience so they have a good one. They’re always being communicated with and there’s somebody there that’s in charge of it to answer any questions they have and to move them through. It’s their guide. We have in our company a candidate relationship manager. That way if the recruiter who’s assigned to them isn’t doing touchpoint, she’s always there to follow up and make sure that all of their questions are answered and that they’re guided through. It’s something we pride ourselves on. The mistakes we’ve seen, the biggest one for you to keep in mind is making sure that you’re making that candidate experience a good one. These are your customers too, in a different way. Thank you for joining me. I appreciate you.

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