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Effective recruiting opens so many wonderful doors for your business, like nabbing that all-star candidate, minimizing wasted time, and cutting down on your average cost-per-hire. But, not everyone can execute the hiring process like a recruiter.

Many hiring managers are guilty of falling into the same traps when it comes to recruiting. Could these common, yet costly, mistakes also be hindering your chance at a successful hiring process?

Most hiring managers would agree that some of the problems plaguing the recruiting process, such as not having enough qualified candidates to choose from, are outside of their control. This is why you need to stay on top of the things you can control.

Making the following six hiring mistakes can hurt your ability to create your ideal workforce, which is something no business owner wants to hear. 

1. Writing an Inaccurate Job Description

Everything in the hiring process comes back to the job description you write. The job description is the advertisement that explains the position, attracts candidates, and repels unqualified applicants. Writing inaccurate job description will start your hiring process off on the wrong foot.

Let’s get two things straight: You don’t want anybody and everybody responding to your job posting, and you also don’t want to hear crickets.

You need to write a job description that narrows down your candidate pool and entices the cream of the crop to apply. Sure, you’ll likely get quite a few applicants you’ll need to weed out—but writing a thorough job ad can substantially cut back on the time you spend screening your applicant pool.

So, what’s in an accurate job description? The job description should list the basics like the job title, responsibilities, and requirements. It should also go beyond these basics to describe the company culture and the type of candidate you’re looking for. Also, consider giving a salary range and information about benefits, so applicants have realistic expectations. 

Avoid making common job description mistakes like creating a lengthy advertisement, writing a generic description, using gender- or age-biased wording (e.g., “recent graduate”), recycling an outdated description, not optimizing the description for mobile devices, and excessively relying on jargon (e.g., “marketing guru”).

2. Limiting How You Source Candidates

Most hiring managers take advantage of the primary sourcing platforms—popular online job boards, business websites, and referrals. Although using tried and true sourcing platforms can be beneficial, continually narrowing down your sourcing options could cause you to miss out on viable candidates.

If you’re looking to expand how you source candidates, try social media. Social media sourcing lets you look for both active and passive candidates, and gives you insight into a possible applicant that is relatively inexpensive or free.

Once you decide you want to source candidates through social media, you must commit to it. Open accounts that can help you find ideal candidates, such as LinkedIn and niche social media sites. Stay active on your social media pages and interact with followers.

Likewise, if you source exclusively through social media, open up your sourcing methods. Try using referrals, posting on job listing websites, or hiring a recruiter. When you incorporate new sourcing methods, track your results to monitor your new sourcing efforts.

3. Asking Candidates the Wrong Questions

The interview is supposed to shed a little more light on a candidate, including their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and experience. But if you’re like many hiring managers, your questions might only be scratching beneath the surface.  

Rather than asking candidates hypothetical questions that don’t necessarily reveal anything (any candidate can give the right answer for what they would do in a made-up situation), consider asking behavioural interview questions.

Behavioural interview questions show you how candidates acted in past situations, giving you insight into a candidate’s behaviour.

Instead of asking a candidate “What would you do if you had a conflict with someone at work?”, you could ask them to describe a time when they had a conflict with a co-worker.

Here are just a few behavioural interview questions you could ask during the hiring process:

  • Describe a time you made an error. How did you handle the situation?
  • Can you tell me about a decision you made that affected your co-workers?
  • Tell me about a time when you dealt with a disgruntled customer.
  • Can you tell me about a goal you set for yourself? Did you achieve it? Why or why not?
  • Describe a time when you didn’t meet a deadline. What did you do?

Prepare a list of questions before the interview. You should tailor your questions to the open position. Don’t use generic questions that apply to every job category in your business to avoid hiring process mistakes.

Use the question and answer portion of the hiring process as an opportunity to find out if the candidate would be the right person for the job, a good culture fit, and a long-term asset for your business.

Hire the Right People-Job Interview

4. Taking Too Long

If you want to find the perfect candidate for your open position, the hiring process is naturally long. According to one survey, the average length of the interview process is 23.8 days.

Many hiring managers extend the hiring process past what it needs to be because of other deadlines and responsibilities. Dragging out the hiring process can be a deadly mistake that results in your dream candidate dropping out or rejecting your job offer.

To avoid making this hiring mistake, come up with ways to minimize your time-to-hire. You can try cutting out unnecessary steps in the hiring process, staying organized, utilizing tools like an applicant tracking system, and using shorter windows of time to follow up with candidates.

5. Failing to Do Your Due Diligence

Although you shouldn’t drag on the hiring process, you also can’t shirk your responsibilities instead of a lightning-fast process. Before flying through the hiring process, be sure to do your due diligence by administering pre-employment tests.

Failing to administer employee screenings may not be so common, as more companies have started ramping up screenings. You don’t want to be the only one making this hiring mistake, do you?

Pre-employment tests can include personality and skills tests. These tests are designed to put a candidate’s words into action. That way, hiring managers can make educated decisions before extending a job offer.

Additionally, pre-employment tests include background checks and drug tests. Background checks may examine a candidate’s criminal or public record, previous employment and education, and credit history. You can learn whether a candidate is honest about their past by conducting a background check.

If you hire a candidate before thoroughly screening them, you could end up with problems down the road. You may find that the candidate is unqualified for the position, which can lead to rapid turnover. Or, you could face more severe consequences, such as negligent hiring claims.

6. Rejecting Candidates Insensitively 

Generally, you must reject every candidate except one during the hiring process. Most hiring managers agree that turning down applicants is uncomfortable for everyone involved. But, rejecting an applicant the wrong way can further contribute to the difficult situation.

Some mistakes that hiring managers make when rejecting job applicants include ignoring or ghosting candidates, sending a generic and unspecific job rejection email, or sometimes giving too much detail as to why the candidate didn’t get the job.

During the hiring process, approach rejection delicately.

Avoid ghosting candidates—they have a right to know whether they are moving forward in the hiring process.

When you reject candidates, consider using email. According to one survey, 65% of candidates want to hear bad news via email. Your email shouldn’t give too much feedback as to why you are rejecting them. However, be sure to include the candidate’s name and wish them well. 

Although the candidate may not be right for the current position, they might be perfect for a future job opening. Maintain communication with a candidate if you feel they could be a good fit in the future to avoid the hiring process mistakes. 

Written By
Rachel Blakely-Gray is a content writer at Patriot Software, LLC. Patriot Software offers online accounting and payroll software for small business owners. At Patriot, Rachel enjoys providing actionable, growth-oriented content.

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