Everyone has at least one nightmare job application story. Perhaps the hiring manager ghosted the candidate, or the interview lasted far too long and nothing of substance was discussed. These unfortunate stories are all too common and can leave applicants with a lasting negative impression of your workplace. What's worse is that your company may be self-sabotaging.
At the heart of most bad job application stories are preventable mistakes that make the experience poor for the candidate and lessen the payoff for companies. And since no one wins when these missteps are taken, it is worth investing time and energy to identify and correct common hiring mistakes.
What Are the Most Common Mistakes in Hiring?
Here are the top eight hiring mistakes organizations commit and some easy-to-implement solutions to fix them.
Mistake 1: Poor Preparation
It's not uncommon for a job listing to be posted with minimal or outdated information. The point of a job ad is to find the perfect worker to perform certain tasks. But if the specific tasks in the listing don’t accurately reflect the job duties, how can you find the right person for the role?
Solution 1: Accurate Job Descriptions
Take the time to ensure the job description is accurate before posting the role on a job board. As a recruiter or hiring manager, you should always coordinate with the manager and other team members in the department with the open position. After all, no one knows better what the day-to-day responsibilities for a role look like and what skills and attributes are essential to get the job done.
By collaborating with those directly overseeing and working with the new hire, you can construct an accurate, up-to-date job listing that reflects the honest day-to-day expectations of the role.
Mistake 2: Non-structured “Casual” Interviews
It may be tempting to cut corners and plan open-ended conversational interviews. And it is important to let the conversation develop freely and get a sense of the individual's nature and personality.
While there should be some space for this in an interview, you should reserve this time for specific topics and questions. Otherwise, you may talk a lot but end up knowing very little about the applicant's ability to do the job.
Solution 2: Build an Interview Structure
Build a structure for the interview. If multiple people ask questions, as in a panel interview, assign a specific topic to each person. Panelists don't need to be robotic and read questions word-for-word off a page. Still, you should ensure everyone knows the end goal and is working together to achieve it by tailoring job-related inquiries to fit the individual in front of them.
Review discussion topics with all interviewers before the meeting. Make sure you do more listening than talking.
Once you have an interview structure that works, you can use it as a template for other interviews. It will make it easier to create tailored discussion points and avoid having to start from square one with each interview.
Mistake 3: Silent Treatment for Rejected Applicants
Everyone has been on the receiving end of the cold shoulder from a potential employer at least once. Even if it's not intentional, companies often neglect to notify candidates that their application is not being considered. And it's even worse if an applicant makes it to the interview stage only to receive no follow-up afterward.
It can be tricky to follow up with every single person who applies for a role. Your company has lots going on, and your focus is on reaching out to the selected candidates. But you could be setting yourself up for future problems by not respectfully contacting rejected applicants.
Solution 3: Follow-Up with Every Candidate
As a hiring manager, it's a smart, proactive choice to always follow up with candidates in a respectful and timely manner. It shows that your organization cares about all applicants. It also leaves a positive impression of your company on that individual.
Additionally, there's a chance this candidate may be a good fit for a role that opens up in the future. A polite email or the offer of interview feedback can show your company in a positive light.
Mistake 4: Not Evolving with the Times
With so much of the world connected to the internet, especially in Europe and North America, a job ad in the local paper may not get you very far anymore. A big mistake of hiring managers today is not evolving their hiring practices to match modern times.
If you want to reach a large number of qualified candidates quickly, you need to be intentional about where you advertise the job openings.
Solution 4: Integrate Technology
Go where the job seekers are by listing openings on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Utilize the vast technological tools at your disposal by targeting the specific platforms frequented by people in your industry.
It's common to see job ads on Instagram and even TikTok, especially when targeting a younger candidate base.
Mistake 5: Getting Hung Up on Industry Experience
Having industry experience is important. For some jobs, it's essential. But if recruiters get too focused on exclusively seeking candidates with years of experience in a specific field, there's a chance you'll miss out on qualified candidates who could be just as good, if not better, for the role.
Solution 5: Get the Whole Picture
Seek a holistic picture of a candidate, separate from the “hard skills” listed on their resume. If you're hiring a social media writer, you may feel inclined to look for someone with experience as a copywriter. But what about applicants who studied literature or theater or have a prominent online presence? Such a candidate may possess the understanding and soft skills necessary to excel in the role.
During the interview, ask questions that illuminate how a candidate would handle specific situations or solve different problems. Consider giving small assignments that provide all applicants an equal opportunity to show what they can do, regardless of their work history.
Mistake 6: Lack of Transparency Upfront
Sometimes, to get a good candidate in the door, hiring managers may paint a pretty (but not entirely accurate) picture of their company. Telling applicants what they want to hear may seem like a good strategy, but it's not a sustainable way to build trust with employees long-term. It can lead to greater job dissatisfaction and high turnover rates.
Solution 6: Make Honesty a Policy
When it comes to hiring, honesty is always the best policy. Clearly outline the company's standards, values, and expectations during the hiring process. If you want a candidate to get a sense of the company culture, invite them into the office for an in-person interview and give them a tour of the workspace.
Be transparent and upfront, even about flaws and challenges your company faces. It builds a foundation of trust and honesty. If a candidate accepts the role from an informed place, they'll be better equipped to excel in your organization and more likely to stick around.
Mistake 7: Handling All Screening Steps In-House
With the number of job openings far surpassing the number of job seekers in the United States, it is more important than ever that your organization establishes the best practices to screen candidates.
Companies may attempt to save money by handling all hiring steps in-house. While this is possible, it can end up being a huge waste of time, energy, and resources.
Solution 7: Outsource the Screening
Consider outsourcing parts of the screening process to other companies. Companies like ScoutLogic specialize in background checks, employment verification, reference checks, and more so that you can focus on identifying the best candidates and preparing for interviews.
When you delegate background check duties to a qualified third party, you also minimize the risk of overlooking or missing important parts of a candidate's past that could inform your hiring decision.
Once you identify and avoid the most common hiring mistakes, the results will speak for themselves.
But even changes worth making take time and energy. Leave background screenings and reference checks to ScoutLogic so you can focus on creating the best hiring practices ever.
Reach out to ScoutLogic today to see what we can do for your company!