Top recruitment mistakes

Posted on 7/04/2016

In our last blog post, we concentrated on some tips for employers. We thought that it would be informative to take a look at the top recruitment mistakes, so you can avoid the sort of problems that other businesses frequently encounter.

Getting the interview questions wrong

An interview sometimes lasts for considerably less time than an average trip to the supermarket. This means that it’s absolutely critical that time should be well spent, enabling you to really get to grips with the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate.

You need to ensure that interview questions are really designed to identify whether the individual concerned will really be suited to your requirements. If you don’t prepare questions properly in advance and if you decide to simply ask questions that are superficial in nature, then you’ll discover that the responses are far from enlightening.

It’s to be expected that candidate will spend some time preparing for an interview and that they will have standard answers in place. Although you shouldn’t be looking to trick a candidate, you certainly should be seeking to understand how they deal with more difficult queries. Take the time in advance of the interview to prepare questions that will provide revealing answers, so that you can judge each of the candidates properly.

Placing too much emphasis on the interview

An interview is a critical stage of the recruitment process, but it’s worth remembering that it’s far from being the only stage of the process.

You may be short on time, particularly if you’re looking to hire someone to reduce the pressure that is currently placed upon yourself. But it can be disastrous to simply rely on the interview.

Some individuals are very well rehearsed and perform extremely well at interview, but this doesn’t always make them great candidates. Take a look at CVs and any communication that takes place both prior to and after the interview. Always follow up on references too, since they will offer an insight for previous employers: you may be surprised to find that the candidate who seemed so perfect at interview is not quite as ideal as you had imagined.

Holding a one-way conversation

The recruitment process is a two-way affair, with the candidate selling their attributes to a prospective employer and with your business attempting to attract the best candidates. Some employers ignore this second part of the occasion.

Recruiting costs time and money, so it’s important that you derive full value from the exercise. It’s worth remembering that value isn’t simply valued in the ability to make the right appointment. You also have the opportunity to sell your business. You never know how many job offers a candidate may receive, so you need to ensure that you do a good job of promoting your own business.

But the benefits of doing so go much wider than simply allowing you to secure the right candidate. You never know what that individual’s wider network may look like. They may well be speaking to other professionals about your business, meaning that they could have access to future clients, suppliers and prospective employees.

Writing a weak job specification

If you find that you are being approached by candidates who don’t seem to be right for your organisation, then it’s worth considering that the fault could be on your part, rather than theirs. Does your job specification clearly outline what you are looking for?

If you’ve found that you are short of time, then you may have opted for a shortcut in this area, possibly resorting to recycling a job posting that was previously used elsewhere. Refreshing the details is likely to be advantageous and will enhance the possibilities of making better recruitment decisions.

Ignoring great candidates

This is a strange addition to the list, but you might be amazed by how many businesses rule out candidates who appear to be over-qualified. It’s often reasoned that such individuals will be too demanding (in terms of pay), or that they will threaten the positions of senior members of staff.

Such reasoning rarely makes sense and a hasty attempt to ignore a great candidate may come back to bite you. It may be the case, for example, that this brilliant individual will soon be employed by one of your major competitors.

There are all sorts of reasons why you may be on the receiving end of an application from someone who appears to be over-qualified for the role. By establishing why they have applied and what they are looking to achieve, you may discover that you are able to recruit someone who has a vast array of experience and abilities.

Failing to follow up on references

You’ve doubtless asked your preferred candidate to provide references, but will you be following up on them? If you don’t, then you will simply be exposing your business to an increased level of risk.

References will often provide essential information that would otherwise be available to you. A frank discussion with a previous employer may well offer a real insight into the skills of a candidate. Although it may not change your recruitment decision, it might have an impact upon future training requirements and the roles for which that individual is likely to be suited. References aren’t just provided for show: it’s important that you follow up on them, so that you can establish whether or not you really have found the right person for the job.