Top 8 Common Recruiting Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)


                                                           Photo by Alex Green 

The recruiting process is absolutely crucial when you’re trying to secure the best talent. More often than not, an ideal candidate can get cold feet if something occurs in the recruiting process, which is why it’s important to avoid common mistakes that recruiters can make. 

Acing the process is important for attracting and retaining top talent, as well as ensuring you don’t cost your company time and money by hiring the wrong fit. 

Here are the top eight common mistakes that many head-hunters say occur in the recruiting and hiring process, and how you can avoid them 

     1.  A Bad Job Description When Recruiting 

Writing a job description that’s either too vague or too prescriptive can really hurt the recruiting and hiring process. If you have something too detailed, you risk having low engagement since many people won’t feel they meet your criteria. If you have something too vague, you’ll have a wave of applicants but also risk not finding the right fit. 

It’s important to write a fair job description, outlining the roles and responsibilities and include some of the “must-have” skills. The job description is meant to tell the applicant what will be expected of them and outline what you’re looking for from the right person. 

Try not to go into immense details. This may turn off potential candidates that don’t exactly have the specific experience listed. Secondly, don’t oversell the position. Keep things real and to the point.  

     2.  Lack Of Timely Communication During the Recruiting Process 

It’s important to communicate with your applicants, especially ones you’re considering hiring. Chances are if you’re interviewing them, they’re actively talking to other companies. Leaving a candidate hanging is the number one way to lose them. 

There’s no way to over communicate to the candidates. Remember bad communication can leave candidates feeling like working at your company would be just as disorganized as the hiring process. 

     3.  Poor Interviews During Recruiting 

There’s nothing worse for a candidate than having the interviewer skim the resume right in front of them. Prepare the team with a one pager on the background of the candidate, their strengths and weaknesses, and add any probing questions you think should be asked during the interview. 

Make sure you have the right people in the room to interview so that you don’t waste the candidate’s time. Have the interviews start on time and follow-up with feedback after the fact. 

     4.  When Recruiting, Always Have a Reference Check – Online And Off 

Don’t forget about doing a background check. Have your recruiting agency call all references (or do it yourself) and pop open Google and LinkedIn before moving forward.  

     5.  Don’t Forget To Look Internally While Recruiting 

Ensure that your recruiting firm or recruiting team looks internally to fill positions in addition to searching externally. Internal candidates are strong choices because you already know them, they’re loyal to the company, and don’t need as much (if any) onboarding. At the very least, it provides an opportunity for career counseling with those who are anxious to move up. 

     6.  Rejecting Good Candidates During the Recruiting Process Because They Lack a Few “Must-haves” 

If you meet a candidate who is a good fit for your company culture and team, has a strong background, and has some (but not all) of your required skills, it’s important to dig a bit deeper. You can teach a candidate about the industry or product, but you can’t teach a good personality or fit for your company. 

Work with your hiring firm and the interviewing team to discuss what you’re looking for in the person you want to hire. Then, decide what skills are must haves and which are teachable. 

     7.  Rushing The Recruiting Process 

Nothing good comes from moving too quickly, and that’s especially true when it comes to hiring. Yes, you may have a position that needs to be filled urgently, but don’t let it cloud your recruiting process. If you think you may need extra time finding the right person for the job, consider hiring a temp or contract worker, or shifting internal resources. You don’t want to rush the process and end up with a bad fit, which will leave you empty handed down the road and in the same rushed position! 

     8.  Skipping The Screening Call During Recruiting 

The screening call is important because it ensures you weed out the candidates that aren’t exactly the best fit. This ensures you don’t waste their time or the interviewer’s time. Even if someone looks great on paper, speaking on the phone is a whole different ball game. Consider using a video conferencing tool such as Zoom

The Bottom Line 

It’s important that the recruiting process is organized, professional, and pleasant for everyone. Just as you need to hire the right person for the company, your candidates are looking for the right company for them. It’s a shame when companies lose top talent due to one mistake. Treat good candidates like gold and make sure your hiring and recruiting process is defined and tuned. 


Kathbern Management is an executive search firm based in Toronto, helping companies find the executives and senior managers who not only have the experience and credentials to fulfill their responsibilities, but also have the emotional and “fit” requirements that will enable them to be successful in a particular environment. We simplify the process and, through our deep research, are able to bring more and better candidates forward than would ever be possible through a do-it-yourself passive advertising campaign. 

Contact us today for a free consultation about your key person search. 

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