June 15, 2021
Hiring 10 February 2020
7 Terrible Things Recruiters Do That Scare Away Potential Hires
Audrey Robinson
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Hiring can be hard, even if it’s done well. As a recruiter, you know how long and complicated the process can be. If you’re looking to optimize your hiring efforts, you’ve probably looked into things like automation and unconventional methods to fetch great candidates. But have you ever asked yourself if you may be part of the problem?

Some recruiters unintentionally do things that scare off perfectly great candidates. There could be some serious deal breakers coming from your direction, and you might be completely unaware of it. You know the ins and outs of what you do, but the candidate doesn’t, and this can lead to some bad first impressions. Are you guilty of doing any of these things?

1. Letting Candidates Throw Their Resumes Into the Void 

You’re going to collect a lot of resumes. Eventually, they make their way to you. Does the candidate know that? If you’re asking candidates to submit resumes to third parties, they may not know where those resumes will ultimately end up. Since their resume probably contains a lot of personal details (like their phone numbers), candidates might understandably be worried. They don’t know who is looking, and what they can see. 

Make it clear where the resumes go once they click the send button. You’ll also want to inform them how long you’ll keep that information on file. People don’t like their information being stored indefinitely by someone who effectively has no use for it. Transparency is key when you’re collecting information. 

2. Representing a Mysterious Company 

You could be hiring for a company that hasn’t launched yet, which requires a slight need for privacy. This might put some people off. How do they know you’re not hiring for a company that recycles elephant dung? They certainly wouldn’t want to work in that industry. Be as detailed as you possibly can, even if there are some things you aren’t at liberty to release.

If this company is already public and has an online presence that would be easy for a candidate to research, give them everything they need to investigate. Doing this will reassure candidates that they like what they’re applying for, and it might even encourage candidates who know they won’t be a great fit to begin looking elsewhere. 

3. Expecting Candidates to Be Superhuman 

Take a look at what your competitors are posting on job boards. Is your list of suggested qualifications ten times longer? There may be a lot of things you’d prefer in a candidate, but you don’t necessarily need them all. You could be making great candidates feel underqualified because it appears that the expectation is that they need to know how to walk on hot coals. You might want to turn it down a bit. 

4. Letting Candidates See You Sweat 

Recruiters are very busy people, but you already know that. You might be spending five hours of your workday in interviews with candidates, and it’s easy to get flustered. Make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to process each candidate and take notes before you move on to the next one. 

If you appear overwhelmed, a candidate might get the impression that you aren’t very interested in them or that you’re unable to retain what they’re telling you. Optics count for a lot. Staying in control of the interview is important so that candidates know you're in charge and know what's going on.

5. Getting Confused in Real Time 

As a recruiter, you’re expected to know a lot. Even the world’s biggest genius wouldn’t be able to retain every single detail of a job description or fine, nuanced points on the hundreds of resumes they see on a regular basis. Candidates might get the impression that you don’t actually know what you’re talking about, but it’s merely the result of your job requiring you to juggle many tasks.

Keep a copy of the job description with you. Highlight important parts of a candidate’s resume. Give them both a quick read before you sit down to talk. Take a few notes if there are specific things you wanted to address. Referencing the information in front of you will allow you to segue smoothly from point to point without mixing up your information. 

Also, make sure you are aware of what the job title is and what job titles candidates have had in the past. Ellen Mullarkey, VP of Business Development for Messina Staffing Group shares her experience when working with recruiters, 

"Years ago, I overheard a meeting between a new recruiter and one of his clients. They were reviewing her resume, and when he found out she was a technical writer, he asked, “What’s that? Like writing computer code?” She had to explain to him what her job was!

No recruiter can be expected to know the ins and outs of every single industry, but you most certainly should do your research before you meet with a client. You already have their resume when you meet with them, so you should learn about the positions they’ve held. How else are you supposed to find them a job that suits their skillset?"

6. Making Candidates Jump Through Hoops 

You’re going to need a lot of information from any given candidate, particularly if you believe that they’re the perfect candidate to hire. We’re all guilty of picking up the phone and immediately dialing back to say “Oh, wait! One more thing!” 

This might give off an aura of disorganization. Even worse, it might give the candidate the impression that you’re putting them to work before you’ve even officially offered them the position. If you make it difficult for them to meet all of your criteria and provide everything they need to provide, they’ll feel burned out before their start date.

See if you can put everything into an optimized list that you can hand the candidate. Even if you need to manually write in dates, you’ll still be giving them a clear and concise path to follow without any unexpected twists or turns. 

7. Letting The Line Go Dead

Keep in touch. This is so important. If you say you’ll call a candidate back by a certain day, make sure you make that phone call. Even if you don’t have any new information available, it will give that candidate significant peace of mind to know you haven’t forgotten them. 

A lot of these people are waiting to find out the future of their careers. Should they begin looking elsewhere? What if they accept another offer for their second choice and then you call the next day? Let people know what’s going on. Bad communication can lead to the loss of a dream candidate.

It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed and overworked as a recruiter. Just make sure you’re taking enough time out of the day to get in a few deep breaths and clear your mind. You don’t want to inadvertently pass your stress off onto a candidate. 

Real-life experience

Before Timothy Wiedman became a professor at Doane College, he spent many years in the corporate business world. Timothy went through a variety of interviews, but one interview he had with recruiters ultimately led him to decline the job offer on the spot and go a different direction. His experience goes as follows,

"Many years ago just after completing a business-related master's degree, I was interviewing for a supervisory position at a firm that did outsourcing work for companies in the auto industry (and primarily specialized in data entry jobs that required a very quick turnaround). I was being questioned in rapid-fire fashion by a team of three people – and questions came so fast that I was hardly given any time to compose my answers. (This approach was sometimes called a* stress **interview,* and it reminded me of the phony tag-team wrestling matches shown on TV when I was in high school.)

Suddenly – out of the blue – one of the females on the panel asked whether I *personally *changed the oil in my car! Since all of the previous questions had centered on my supervisory experience, which business courses I completed in college, my individual management style, or how I would handle a contrived employee problem, I was definitely caught off guard. Trying to gain a few seconds to think about how to answer, I asked *them* a couple of questions: What would changing my own motor oil have to do with this management position? Have I missed something in the job description posted in your ad?

They had a semi-reasonable response. Since quick turnaround on the data entry jobs was critical to their clients, they couldn't afford to have much down-time on their equipment. So if there was a problem with a piece of data-entry equipment, supervisors were supposed to try to resolve the issue without calling the vendor for repairs (which might entail time-consuming diagnosis and maintenance from a field technician who might not arrive on-site for hours). For that reason, they only wanted to hire supervisors who weren't afraid to get dirty trying to fix something. While that rationale may have been plausible, I believed that there were better ways to determine my mechanical aptitude and can-do attitude!

Hiring new employees can be time-consuming and expensive, but it's important to find the right fit. You want to be sure that you find someone who is great for the organization so that you are not facing continual turnover. By knowing the potential pitfalls and recognizing your own mistakes you can help ensure the continued success and ongoing happiness of your team and company.

Audrey Robinson is a Careers and Human Resources expert, often sharing her thoughts and suggestions with both job-seekers and recruiters. Currently, Audrey is supporting Datastical, online knowledge library. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter.