Are Your Recruiting Practices Scaring Good Candidates Away?

Have you ever posted an opening and received very little response from job seekers? It has happened to most of us who work in HR and recruiting. We often sit and lament the fact that there are no more good candidates, but sometimes the issue is with our recruiting and hiring process rather than the candidate pool. Here are some tips for improving your process, so you can attract the right candidates.

Confusing Application Process

Whether you are posting on your company site or on a job site, you want to make a good impression. Start with a clear and easy-to-understand description of the job. I have seen a lot of postings that are simply the job description. Online attention spans can be short, so avoid uploading the job description and write a concise posting. Have a few sentences describing the job and some bullet points that highlight the minimum requirements. Include a sentence or two about the perks of working for your company. Proofread your posting to fix any typos or errors that could make a bad impression. You can link to the job description, but it should not be the thing that initially draws candidates in.

Explain how to apply, and detail what application materials you want from a candidate (e.g. application, resume, references), and state how you want to receive those items. Include the link if you have an online application, and do not forget an email address if job seekers need to send a resume in that way.

Jumping Through Hoops of Fire

Difficult application processes can scare good candidates away. Take a moment to list everything a candidate must do to go through the hiring process at your company. Start with the application. I had a professor in grad school who told me that I needed to “prune the dead words” from an essay I had handed in. She sent me away to scrutinize each sentence, and I ended up getting an A on the rewrite. Turn the same critical eye on your application and prune the dead sections.

Figure out what information you need to determine if a candidate is a good possibility and base your application on that. Job seekers often spend a lot of time filling out detailed applications for multiple employers. Consider a shorter pre-application with only the necessary information, and then have those you call for an interview provide more detailed information on a full application.

Next, look at any pre-employment tests. Are they necessary? Do they give you the information you need to decide if a candidate is a good fit? I had a former co-worker who recently told me she gave up on applying for a job after they sent her a two-hour personality profile that she needed to complete. The company lost out because she was a good employee when I worked with her. While a personality profile can be a good tool to help make a hiring decision, it is a lot to ask a candidate to put that much time into such a task before even getting a job offer from you. Explore less time consuming options to get the information you need.

Making a Bad Impression

I once worked for an HR Director who would storm out of her office when she was a bad mood and snap at whoever was nearby. On one particular day, our HR Assistant was her target, and she snapped at him for something minor while candidates sat in the waiting area by his desk. I stepped out of my office as this happened and saw the looks of shock on the candidates’ faces. It did not reflect well on us as a company when the first thing they saw was an employee getting yelled at.

Be aware of what your office looks like to a candidate. You want to show them that your company is a good place to work. If they see yelling and unhappy people, they are likely to go elsewhere.

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