As recruiters hiring in the most competitive market we’ve seen in decades, it’s our job to share trends, information and tips to help our clients find the right talent – quickly. In our work, we see hiring managers making common mistakes that cost them the best candidates. Read on to learn what to avoid when looking for top talent, especially in this tight candidate market.
Not courting the candidate.
Don’t ever assume you are the best-looking person at the dance. It is one thing to want a candidate to want a job, it’s even fair for them to have to work for it, but if you don’t think there are two other companies with better something (dress code, snacks, vacation policy, benefits, hours, location or projects) then you are kidding yourself. This is the best candidate market most anyone can remember – if you like a candidate, court them as much as they are courting you.
Too much technical testing.
In the tech arena, we see hiring managers requiring lengthy technical tests for many of their candidates – this is a huge miss. The best candidates have options that don’t require formal assessments; when asked to complete a cumbersome test, they simply opt-out of the interview process. The market is hot, and the best candidates are not lasting long (especially not long enough for a take-home assignment).
Demanding comparison candidates.
Managers sometimes want a comparison candidate. If there are concerns with their candidate pool and they haven’t quite found “the one,” that is understandable. However, when we run into managers that are high on a candidate but still want to compare, it can be challenging to come up with an option. While we are searching, the candidate they love will often take another opportunity, leaving them with no one. We always encourage managers to hire if they find the right fit, but we still see this mistake happen.
Having a disorganized hiring process.
Hiring managers may require the candidate to meet with multiple people to get a well-rounded assessment, but when this process is redundant and disorganized, it’s a turn off to the job seeker. When creating your hiring process, communicate with the hiring team in advance of the interviews to discuss the different topics you’ll cover. Be sure to review the details of the job to avoid giving conflicting information and take detailed notes for your post-interview team debriefs. Also, schedule the meetings on the same day and back-to-back so the candidate isn’t left waiting between interviews. Finally, get back quickly to the candidate post-interview! In this market, hiring managers do not have the luxury of time. If you take too long to get back to the candidate, they will likely be off the market.
Having a slow hiring process.
The biggest mistake a hiring manager can make in this job market is creating a slow or disorganized hiring process. Talented candidates are likely to have an array of opportunities, and many will not wait for a potential job that takes weeks to get to the offer stage. Successful hiring managers know the importance of moving quickly and efficiently. Everyone is busy – be flexible with your schedule and try to accommodate job seekers. At the start of a search, look at the hiring process in its entirety. Figure out who needs to meet with each candidate and outline clear interview availability for everyone involved. You will increase your chances of landing the ideal candidate by planning a clear and efficient process from the outset.
Not making a timely offer.
The number one mistake I see hiring managers making during the hiring process is taking too long to give the offer. The candidate has been through the process, has met or exceeded all the requirements, is a great culture fit and wants the job – but the hiring manager is busy and not making the offer a priority. This lack of action loses candidates.
Not selling the job to the candidate.
One mistake commonly made by hiring managers is not selling the job to the candidate. While you may not be selling the role, your competitors are, and there is a good chance the candidate will pass on your offer and take one that seems more exciting. Selling the job and the company to the candidate is just as important as evaluating the candidate’s skill set, work experience and cultural fit within your organization. Of course the interview is crucial in determining if the candidate is the right person for the role, but you also need to show him or her that your company is the one they want to work for. Additionally, don’t forget to explain why this position and company would be a great next step in the candidate’s career (long term opportunities for advancement, mentoring, company perks, attractive benefits, etc.).
Being inflexible with hiring criteria.
With the hiring market being as tight as it is, I’ve seen the most successful hiring managers loosen their requirements and strongly consider candidates for their potential. For example, if they have success working on XYZ and have the background and experience you want, but don’t have exact experience on a program, technology, etc., it may be a perfect candidate who just needs some training. Being flexible and seeing the potential in a strong candidate will give hiring managers an edge over their competition.
Not thinking about the candidate’s experience.
Every candidate who goes through the hiring process should be treated with respect – treated the way you would want to be treated if you were a job seeker. Keeping someone waiting endlessly in the lobby, not offering a drink or restroom break, not being prepared for the interview, not knowing the candidate’s name, looking at your watch or phone during the meeting – these small transgressions add up to a negative impression a job seeker may have about the organization (and you!). You will very likely lose the candidate to another company that treated him or her respectfully.
Not having details clearly defined.
I’ve seen deals fall apart because the hiring manager didn’t have a plan in place prior to starting the hiring process. The roles need to be clearly defined – if it’s too loose, you will get too wide of a range of candidates applying for the job, which adds time to your process. The lack of clarity also frustrates candidates when the interviewer doesn’t really know the expectations for the role. Eventually, they lose interest and drop out of the running. In advance of beginning interviews, the hiring team needs a clearly defined process including the interviewer’s availability, the details of the job, the importance of the process and what each interviewer is focusing on. When the interview process is dragged on because a hiring manager is on vacation or unavailable, it is a sure way to lose your best candidates.
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