Is your recruitment process failing? How poor hiring practice stops you reaching top talent!

I have lost track of the number of employers who complain bitterly about the lack of quality candidates and the difficulty finding people to fill their vacant roles.

“There are no good candidates out there” or “Candidates are so unreliable these days” or “We had a great candidate, but they withdrew at the last moment” are some of the common themes. It is however, not often that they stop to think and consider that maybe the problem might lie with them rather than the candidates…

Poor recruitment can have a damaging effect on an employer’s brand in a number of different ways. It can lead to serious reputational damage which can make it even tougher to find quality candidates, and can even impact on sales in some industries. According to a report by CareerArc, who surveyed candidates who had bad hiring experiences, 72% shared these experiences on social media, on websites such as ‘Glassdoor’, and with colleagues, friends and family. According to another survey from LinkedIn, 42% of disgruntled candidates “actively discouraged” others to apply and work for the problem company.

So, what are some common complaints of the recruitment process that need to be addressed in order to prevent this negative perception and help find talent in the future?

The hiring process takes too long.
In a competitive market, high quality candidates are in demand and if you take 4, 5, 6 weeks to make a decision then the perception is that you are not sufficiently interested or keen to hire, so candidates actively search for other options. Similarly, don’t take too long to follow up on applications once received. In a survey reported in the Fairfax media in Australia, 63% of people advised that they lost interest in a position if they did not hear anything within 2 weeks.

Too many interviews.
How many interviews are too many? Well that of course depends on the position and decision-making process, but this can be extremely off-putting for candidates and also leads to the earlier problem of the process taking too long. For senior hires, those that seem particularly tedious are the ‘formula interviews’ from the Recruitment Manager or Human Resources Manager, since they often make no final decisions. Perhaps avoid these if possible and move straight to hiring manager interviews or if this is not an option, try to combine these together.

Incorrect or misleading information.
Candidates frequently complain that information in some interviews can be misleading, incorrect, or does not reflect the actual requirements of the position, which they later find out either during the subsequent interviews or via their own research. Being honest and transparent from the start is the best policy and even if there is no fit for the candidate, it can result in positive feedback and a reputational boost for the brand.

Poor communication.
The biggest single source of complaints from candidates relates to poor communication. This can be at any stage of the process, but candidates who do not understand where they stand are almost universally dissatisfied. There is no real excuse for a lack of, or the timeliness of, a response to a candidate, wherever they are in the interview cycle. If there are delays for whatever reason, take the initiative and let them know before they feel the need to chase you or their recruitment partner. Candidates should be treated like valued customers and the contrary will impact negatively on your organisation. If you are a final decision maker, make sure you periodically check what is going on in your HR department – your assumptions maybe somewhere off the mark!

Take the time to undertake a periodic systematic review or audit of the hiring process at your company. You may be delighted with what you find, so it gives an opportunity to praise your team, but don’t be surprised if all is not as it should be and be prepared to take action to fix this as a matter of urgency.

About the Author

rsz_tim_johns_cc1Tim Johns is a former Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm. For more information about Tim and Elite Search visit and The Elite Hotelier


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