Sometimes, it all comes down to a few commonplace hiring mistakes. Ones you might not even realize you’re making. But the truth is, bad recruitment can become a habit.
Fortunately, it’s a bad habit you can break, once you know what mistakes to look out for.
Recruitment mistakes you might be making
You know the book How to Lose Friends and Alienate People? With so many collective years in recruitment, we could write a companion memoir called What Not to Do When Hiring.
Every professional makes mistakes. It’s how we learn and improve. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t share what we’ve learned along the way. Think of us as your — younger, less wrinkly — hiring Yoda.
1. Not recruiting from within
Back in the day, companies filled 90% of vacancies with internal candidates. Loyal employees were trained and promoted to better positions, providing opportunities for growth and rewarding experience. These days, many companies outsource rather than invest in existing talent.
🕵️♀️ Next time you’re hiring, look inside.
Your employees will value the opportunity and will already know how your workplace operates. According to LinkedIn research, people stay 41% longer at companies that hire from within. Usually, the best candidates are right under your nose.
2. Looking too close to home
Talent is everywhere, but talent sourcing hasn’t yet received that memo. Many companies still put out job searches for candidates within a certain distance of their office. This either requires talent to relocate or companies to miss out on the right candidates altogether.
🌄 Look beyond your backyard.
In a world of remote working, you no longer have to hire people who live nearby. The talent you need might be located hundreds, even thousands of kilometers from your office. Now that you can do so much online, why limit yourself?
3. Basing hiring on education
Think about how many job postings you’ve seen that require a degree. Then, think about how many times that’s affected how you do your job. Many companies still include the four-year degree requirement. Which is archaic, if you ask us.
🧮️ Try skills-based hiring.
While experience and education are useful factors, they aren’t the be-all-end-all of hiring. There are millions of talented people out there. Some have degrees, some don’t. With these requirements, you’re shrinking your talent pool even further. The right person for the job might have an unconventional background. Keep an open mind.
4. Waiting for the perfect fit
Regardless of what meme culture has to say, perfect doesn’t exist.
Unbelievably, a lot of companies waste time looking for what we call purple squirrels (an ‘ultra-rare candidate who is perfect for the role, down to the last detail’). Realistically, recruitment is more of a Venn diagram. If you want to hire the best, they’ll rarely be the best at everything.
💯 Leave perfectionism at the door.
While purple squirrels do exist, they’re rare. It’s natural to want the best employees, but if you’re too picky, you might miss out. Obsessing over the perfect candidate will be a hindrance to you and is one of the factors heating up the war for talent.
5. Rejecting overqualified candidates
Hearing “we love you, but you’re overqualified for this position” is perhaps the best way to lose out on a job. But it’s also outdated practice. Companies reject people for being overqualified more than they should. After all, highly skilled people can raise the bar in any role.
🦄 Consider everyone, even if you think they’re overqualified.
If a candidate applies to a position, it’s because they want it. Why else would they be applying?
6. Keeping a culture-fit mindset
In the 80s, companies discovered that people worked better when they enjoyed their colleagues. This created a culture-fit mindset many still hold on to. Culture-fit was all about hiring people who fit into the existing company culture. The problem is that this made offices homogenous, closed off, and less innovative.
🌐 Hire people who see the world differently.
Employees getting along is a great thing, but hiring people you can go get a beer with is outdated. Culture-fit workplaces stifle creativity and innovative thinking. Modern recruiters need a culture-add mentality. These workplaces are inclusive and have a range of cultures and life experiences, making them richer and more vibrant places to work.
7. Retaining unconscious bias
Recruiters don’t always realize they’re being discriminatory. We all know a better workplace is an inclusive one. But unconscious bias influences the decisions we make without us even realizing it’s a factor in our decision making. Whether due to social class, race, gender, or sexuality, you need to go in blindly when sifting applicants.
🙈 Implement blind hiring techniques.
Unconscious bias can cause you to miss out on many talented people. Lack of diversity means lack of innovation and underperformance. Identifying and ignoring bias gives you a bigger talent pool to choose from.
Change is easy and for the better
We get it. It’s hard to find the right people: ones who are smart, good at their job, innovative, and diverse. But it’s even harder when you approach the hiring process the same way every time. It’s way too easy to fall into repetitive hiring techniques.
Everyone makes mistakes. In hiring, especially. But hiring is a science that can be learned. All it takes is a willingness to leave old habits behind.