attracting the wrong candidates and what to do

Attracting the Wrong Candidates? 4 Things You May Be Doing Wrong

January 16, 2019

So you’ve gone through dozens, maybe hundreds, of resumes, spent weeks screening and interviewing, and finally extended an offer to the winning candidate only to regret your decision just weeks after starting? The unpredictable nature of humans coupled with the process of settling into a new position means that a candidate’s true colors may take time to show. The last thing any hiring manager wants is to invest time and funds in talent acquisition that won’t work long-term.

The Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM, found in a 2016 survey that the average cost per each hire can range around $4,129. Cost per hire factors in recruiter salaries, referral bonuses, interview costs, and external recruiting methods, among other expenses. Considering the average duration of a position vacancy is 42 days, additional costs related to lost revenue generation can stack up. Hiring is expensive, but hiring the wrong candidate can be even costlier.

Employer-candidate mismatch woes aren’t always something that only the employer feels, either. New hires may realize a role and organization isn’t what they expected after they start working. Since 2013, the total national separation rate has steadily climbed each year to 43% in 2017. This number represents both voluntary and involuntary reasons for an employee leaving an organization.

Clearly, these recent trends reveal that employee turnover is increasing and costs are high. One way to reverse both numbers is by taking a look at what factors cause turnover. Is there something your organization’s hiring process can improve on?

Start saving costs and boosting employee retention by identifying how to attract the right candidates from the outset. Here are some areas where your hiring strategy may be picking up the wrong crowd.

4 things you may be doing wrong if you’re attracting the wrong candidates

Untargeted hiring channels

Where are you promoting job openings? What’s the position’s target audience and how does that compare to the demographic of the hiring channels you’re using? The positions level is a good indicator of what age groups to focus on. For example, an entry level position at a company would be best suited for recent graduates and young people. Apart from career fairs and partnerships with colleges, you should also tap into these audiences on their favorite social channels.

While Facebook and Linkedin are fairly level playing fields with all age groups, platforms like Instagram and YouTube dominate among younger crowds. Over half of Americans aged 18-29 use Instagram, compared to just 31% of those 30-59, and 71% are active users of YouTube. Using a narrowed approach to focus on the channels that your target candidates are most likely to use filters out many unwanted resumes.

Inaccurate job description

Vague, sugar-coated, or incomplete job description could lead to a flood of resumes from candidates that ‘need not apply’. The job description is the gatekeeper of any position, sort to speak, so these few paragraphs should indicate to a candidate whether he or she will even be considered. Some guidelines to follow are to be as specific as possible, involve team leaders who will be working directly with the candidate, and be honest! There’s no use advertising for an “associate data science trainee” if it’s actually just a data entry position. Also ensure your SEO optimization is on point to capture the search queries you think best fit the position on both job boards and on Google for Jobs.

Asking the wrong questions

Having a charismatic employee won’t matter at the end of the day if they lack the qualifications to get work done. Sitting down with a candidate (or speaking on the phone or via video call) is usually the only opportunity to screen qualifications, gauge for culture fit, and assess a personality. Given that interviews are typically anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, there’s only a small window to ask telling questions. Focus on what matters most for your organization, the candidate’s potential team members, and the position in question. Behavioral interview questions help to answer how a person works based off their past experiences and thoughts.

Rushed or incomplete hiring process

For positions that need to be filled as soon as possible, time is of the essence and you can’t afford to have three-part interviews, dinner meetings, phone interviews and the whole nine yards. However, a quick hiring process should still explore all the critical characteristics of a candidate without leaving their success up to chance. For positions that require time-intensive screening and search, an executive search firm may be a better option to work with to expand your search network and reach passive job seekers.

Depending too much on one factor

Whether she has your favorite grandmother’s name or he went to your alma mater, relying too heavily on one factor can greatly biased your hiring decision. One candidate may be more cheerful in an interview than another, which will make you want to hire them on the basis of culture fit, but don’t forget about their ability to get work done and succeed. On the flip side, try not to be sold too heavily on a candidate’s amount of experience and dismiss their work ethic and personality.

By redefining your hiring process to filter the applicant pool, you’ll save time in screening and costs from hiring the wrong candidates. Ensure that both parties have aligned expectations of position responsibilities, future growth opportunities, and workplace culture. Improving retention will also help all around in building a solid company culture and trust.


You might also like:
Which is Worse for Company Culture- The Talented Jerk or The Charming Underperformer? 
How To Evolve Your Company Culture Without Losing Who You Are
The Candidate Experience Journey: An Easy-To-Follow Guide to What Today’s Candidates Go Through
How To Get Over Being Ghosted… By Job Candidates

Social Media Recruiting Hacks: Easy Ways to Get Social Media In Your Recruiting Mix
What Types of Employee Personalities Make For A Great Company Culture?



Megan McQuade
Megan McQuade
Megan McQuade, SHRM-SCP, is Community Relations Director at executive search firm, TruPath. TruPath helps established organizations find culturally aligned talent for a variety of roles across multiple industries.

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