Almost one out of every four decisions that a small to mid-size company will make during a recruitment process will hinder their chances at staffing competitive talent. The consequences of these actions can result in a myriad of ill-fated outcomes, ranging from higher salary costs and wasted time to losing competitive applicants altogether.
Firms that are unable to streamline the staffing process on a regular basis are probably prone to committing one or more of the following seven deadly sins of recruiting:
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Not Following the Google Rule of 5 — Up to a few years ago, Google would have employees go through a 12-14 meeting process. This would result in dreadfully long staffing cycles, loss of top talent to competing Internet companies, and overall inefficiency when attempting to recruit employees in the masses.
In 2011, Google switched its recruiting approach to limit each applicant to five interviews. If Google can hire an engineer in five interviews, there is no reason why your firm should not be able to hire your sales and marketing personnel in three or four.
Prolonged time is the enemy of great recruiting. When our firm sees a recruitment project exceeding either four interviews or five weeks, we do everything possible to get the process expedited.
The more time an organization lets a candidate linger, the more time that individual has to get another job offer, receive a raise, or go back to school. Also, when you let a candidate at the final round of an interviewing go out to other companies, they tend to interview with more confidence and become more desirable. When you find an apt job seeker, losing hiring momentum is a sin.
Searching for that Perfect Candidate — We tell clients that shopping for candidates is like shopping for cars. The more requirements they have, the more you pay and the fewer choices you have.
In 10 years of recruiting, I’ve never seen the perfect candidate. I’ve seen a solid candidate write the perfect resume, but am yet to see the “perfect” candidate. Perfect candidates are not hired. Rather, they are molded through leadership and training.
Look for potential today and determine whether they can be the perfect candidate tomorrow. We recommend you analyze the future earnings power of that individual rather than where they stand at the given moment. When it comes to human capital, think Warren Buffet and value investing rather than overpaying for an applicant’s past.
What an individual achieved yesterday will not yield any revenue. What they can do tomorrow can make all the difference in your organization.
Crossing the Line from Underpaid to Under-appreciated — Some clients whom we work with have a corporate culture of making low initial offers to candidates. This is intended to cushion any financial blow that a counteroffer may bring.
While this sounds good in theory, there is a breaking point. Once an offer dips below a certain number (typically anything equal to or less than they are currently earning) that candidate feels under-appreciated, undervalued, and highly insulted.
The psychologist and philosopher William James once wrote to a student, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” You can’t renegotiate someone’s ego.
Quick Hires — For hiring companies, quick hires are problematic for a few reasons. The first and most notable is that it makes the company appear desperate and the job seeker will typically reject the prospect of working for the firm altogether. Unless you’re recruiting a Fortune 500 CEO, hires should not last longer than five weeks nor should an offer should not be made within two.
The First Choice or Nothing Scenario — Whether it’s football, business, chess, or just about anything else, life needs contingency plans. A mistake that our recruiters often prevent companies from doing is to not pick a second option.
When hiring, firms aren’t always going to get their first choice. The smart ones have a second place.
The companies who have trouble are the ones who start the search process from the beginning hoping to find another No. 1. Often they come up short and waste an extra three months while doing so.
Candidates will get other jobs, decline offers, or stay where they are. Nothing ever goes 100 percent smoothly when recruiting and sometimes your contingency plan will turn out to be a gem.
After all, Bruce Willis was the seventh or eighth choice to star in Die Hard. We won World War II under a vice president called to office after Roosevelt died and, often it’s the CEO who is quiet and unassuming who gets picked second, but ends up performing best.
Not being able to sell the job — Part of recruiting is selling. If a hiring manager can’t make a job enticing, they won’t attract top talent. We’ve had clients who have tried the approach where they attempt to scare an applicant by telling them every undesirable aspect of a job only to find that the candidate doesn’t want to stick around for the good parts.
When staffing employees, you should be selling in an honest manner, touching on the negatives, but also focusing much on the positives of the job.
For instance, we have a great client in the tech sector. Prior to starting the staffing process, I sat down with a few executives at the firm and brainstormed as to the positive qualities of the company. In their case, they had many and we used these as a focal point to draw in potential applicants.
Using Too Many Recruiters — Often, firms will go out and hire a dozen contingency recruiters to represent their firm. From their perspective, the more the merrier.
What’s alluring is that they only pay on performance, which seemingly mitigates risk. This sounds great until a firm realizes that they have 30 or 40 cold-calling recruiters whom they don’t know nor have they spoken to poorly representing their company to potential talent in the open market.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies and sometimes it’s the small mistakes that make all the difference. Since recruiting is an imperfect science, we must strive to extract any additional difficulties from the process. Have a plan, keep in the mind what you should not be doing, and enjoy a more productive, intelligent, and competent workforce.
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