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6 recruitment mistakes businesses need to avoid

Businesses are built on their people, so it’s crucial you get your hiring process right. Here's what you need to avoid.

Whether you’re recruiting due to expansion, or filling a recently vacated role, your next hire always needs to be a good one.

But even experienced recruiters make fundamental mistakes which can be the difference between bringing in that perfect candidate, and missing out.

So, if you’re wondering how to recruit effectively, this is the article for you. Here, we’ll look at ways you can speed things up, without sacrificing applicant quality.

Common recruitment mistakes businesses make

1. Producing poor job listings

Imagine receiving a CV riddled with typing errors, missing key info or with confusing formatting. Would this standout among the stack of applicants? Probably not. Well, not for the right reasons.

The same logic applies to your listings. A job hunter scrolling through openings is likely to give your posting short shrift if they can’t find the details they need, or if the posting looks rushed.

While every organisation has a different approach to listing a job, there are a few best practice criteria that make a good ad. Common errors here include:

  • Not making the listing searchable: using keywords and standard industry language, especially in the job title, will help searchers find the listing easily among among competitors.
  • Leaving out key info: applicants want to know the key skills you’re after, any required qualifications, details about the company, a salary range and any perks on offer. 
  • Using the wrong language: while all job ads should be empowering, a medical applicant will expect a different tone and style of writing to a graphic designer. 
  • Not proofreading: typos and grammar mistakes point to a lack of care on your part. In an employee’s mind, if you don’t take the time to post a decent ad, are you going to look after them as a staff member?

It’s often a long road to finding the right candidate, and there are several hoops to jump through.

2. Not taking advantage of technology

There’s a difference between working hard and working smart when it comes to finding the best candidates for your job listing.

Getting a high volume of applicants is great, but reading through all of those CVs takes time – so we’d recommend making use of an applicant tracking system (ATS). These tools allow you to manage candidates through the application pipeline, helping you narrow down the best of the best.

3. Rejecting overqualified candidates

It’s tempting to say no to clearly overqualified individuals, for fear they will soon get bored and leave.

However, rejecting these people out of hand is an error. Perhaps they were attracted to your awesome company culture, or see room for development within your organisation that they’ve not found elsewhere.

Do yourself a favour, and at least consider them for interview. At this stage, you can get a better idea of their motivations for applying.

Don’t narrow your options unnecessarily by rejecting ‘overqualified’ candidates

4. Skipping the phone interview stage

We’re not suggesting every business should conduct a full-lenth phone interview for each candidate, but a quick 10 minute introductory call can go a long way.

This can be a time-saving way to further narrow your shortlist by asking for more info. For example, many won’t include details of their desired salary or contract length. Finding any mismatches at this stage can save both you and them time down the line.

5. Poor interview performance

Much like the applicant, if you walk into the job interview without preparing, you risk missing your opportunity.

When interviewing candidates for a job, make sure you:

  • Are on time – remember, you need to impress too. If a great candidate is choosing between two offers at the end, small acts of common courtesy go a long way.
  • Know what you’re looking for – for every question you ask, you should have an idea of what you want to hear. You can still look positively on candidates who surprise, but without a basic concept of a good applicant, your interview will lack direction.
  • Let them speak – while you should engage with their answers, the point of the interview is to find out about the applicant, so concentrate on listening.
  • Prepare for their questions – it’s vital the interviewee has time to ask their questions at the end. But there’s nothing more annoying for them than being met with “I’ll have to get back to you” for every single one. As part of your prep, put yourself in their shoes, and think about what they might want to know.
  • Are honest – don’t oversell the position, or underplay how much work is involved, even if you really like the candidate. They will soon realise if they’ve been misled once they take the job.
  • Don’t look for negatives – every individual you interview will have strengths and weaknesses. Remember to check out their entire profile before making a decision based on their answer to one question.

Just because you’re on the hiring side of the table, doesn’t mean you can get complacent.

6. Not considering cultural fit

Among the most important recruitment tips for modern New Zealand businesses is not neglecting culture when hiring new employees.

This is an important factor for Kiwis, with 64% of respondents to a Trade Me Jobs survey listing company culture and values as either important or very important to their current work.

As every individual contributes, either positively or negatively, to your organisational culture, it’s crucial you find staff that will live and breathe your values.

You can hunt for clues in CVs and cover letters, but the best indications usually come at the interview stage. Ask culture-based questions, like “what attracted you to this company?” and “what environment do you work best in?”, and make sure you come away with an impression of the person, not just their skillset.

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