It might surprise you to learn that sometimes the best candidates didn’t even apply even though they were looking at your opening, or their resumes didn’t make it across your desk because they were weeded out in a preliminary phone screening. To bring in the best candidates, you should avoid these common recruiting mistakes:
Setting Minimum Experience Requirements
This may seem counterintuitive, but minimum experience requirements may actually hurt your search for top-performing candidates. In my experience, some of the best employees are the ones with less industry-specific experience because they bring new perspectives and ideas to existing roles. Highly-motivated individuals and quick learners can get up to speed quickly and round out a team with a diversity of experiences.
In the cases where experience really is necessary to do the job effectively, you shouldn’t use the specified experience requirement as a firm cut-off. For instance, if the posting specifies that 5 years of experience is required, don’t be afraid to look at candidates that may only have 3 or 4 years under their belts if they’ve shown progress in the roles that they’ve held.
This advice holds for other types of requirements as well. For instance, if you’re looking for an individual who has “managed a large team,” don’t skip over candidates that have only managed small teams or have recently been promoted into a leadership role. There’s no way to tell on paper what these candidates have learned in their past or current roles that will benefit them in the position that they’re applying for at your company.
Looking for a “Culture-Fit”
I worked at a company at one point that considered itself very “cool” and “fun” and “innovative” which was basically code for “we don’t hire old people.” While it’s illegal to discriminate based on age, candidates wouldn’t be passed along to hiring managers if they “weren’t a culture fit.” This phrase would cover many different flavors of discrimination by the recruiters, which was why it couldn’t be trusted. The job application platform that they used would allow you to view all of the resumes that had been submitted as well as the candidates that had been through phone screenings with recruiters and would prioritize ones that the recruiters recommended. Often times, there would be call notes in the candidates’ files that said things like “not familiar with the newest technology” and “doesn’t seem excited about working in a fast-paced environment.” These types of statements were incongruent with the company’s mission so they’d be weeded out before even getting to the hiring manager. Now, don’t get wrong, sometimes these candidates really were duds (one lady thought that the best way to share information that was emailed to her was to print it out and hand it to another team member) but there were also very good candidates that just got nervous on their phone screening or accidentally used the wrong acronym when they were answering.
Only Searching Locally
When my husband and I were living in Austin, TX he accepted a job offer in West Michigan and put in his notice, which was my cue to start job searching in Michigan as well. I found one opening that looked really promising, researched the company, and was immediately compelled to apply. The posting said that they weren’t offering any relocation benefits, but I didn’t need them to pay for my relocation because I was already moving to the area. So, I took the time to apply and write an amazing cover letter detailing why I thought their company was so great and how my skillset would benefit the organization. I explained that I was already moving to the Grand Rapids area for my husband’s job so I wasn’t looking for relocation assistance. And then I waited… and waited. Finally, I emailed them and asked if they had received my resume. My email was passed along to the hiring manager and he said simply that since they weren’t offering a relocation package, they had filtered out any out-of-state applicants before even looking at any of the resumes. I don’t want to assume that I was the most qualified candidate that applied, but I certainly met the requirements that they were looking for and, also, possessed most of the niche industry-specific skills that they mentioned being a plus in a candidate. By only looking locally, they not only missed out on me but, likely, other qualified candidates as well.
Posting on Limited Platforms
Just putting your job listing on your own site isn’t good enough (unless you have incredible brand recognition, and even then it might not be ideal). You need to post your listing on popular job search sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, CareerBuilder, ZipRecruiter, etc. The more publicity you can get, the wider the pool of applicants you’ll get.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!