5 Mistakes You’re Making in Your Hiring Process

These mistakes can shortchange your company in the war for talent if left unaddressed.
By: | January 4, 2019 • 4 min read

The hiring process is both a science and an art form. From posting a job listing to the onboarding of a new employee, there are hiring fundamentals that must be followed to make the process efficient and enjoyable for everyone involved.

A weak hiring process can impact your company in a number of ways. Between recruitment fees, employee referral bonuses, travel expenses and more, the cost of hiring one employee can be as high as $5,000. And if the hiring goes wrong, the costs are even more significant. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 75 percent of companies have hired the wrong person for a job. Of those companies, one bad hire on average costs a company approximately $17,000.

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A bad candidate experience can also damage your organization’s reputation. Prospects who were rubbed the wrong way through the interview process won’t only be turned off to your organization for life, but can also discourage other candidates from applying via a nasty review posted on company review sites.

These headaches can be avoided with a robust and thoughtful hiring process. As an organization that specializes in hiring, we’re seeing too many companies struggle with managing a sustainable hiring process in today’s market. Mistakes are made, HR departments and managers spend months searching for candidates and procedures become convoluted.

Here are the top five mistakes we see companies make in their hiring process, and how to correct them:

1. Waiting for Employees to Find You

Monster, TheLadders and Indeed are great. But posting job listings to these traditional search engines cannot make up the entirety of your outreach when starting the hiring process. Employers can no longer afford to sit back and let candidates come to them. They must ensure they’re casting a wide-enough net to reach the best candidates possible, and relying solely on the biggest, most well-known sites simply won’t get the job done anymore.

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn are rising in usage among management teams to find ideal prospects. LinkedIn offers a comprehensive inside look into a candidate’s work history, skillset and potential references. Typically, a LinkedIn profile can tell you a lot more about someone than a one-page resume. One time-saving LinkedIn benefit is its search capabilities. Recruiters and managers can identify candidates with specific skills or experience and contact them directly in a manner of minutes.

2. Failing to Update Your Career Page

What’s the first thing a potential candidate does after becoming interested in your company? Typically, she’ll visit the careers section of your website to see if you’re hiring. However, far too often companies fail to update their career pages or properly display them on their website. Companies that are hiring must also ensure their open positions are properly updated by striking the right balance of being inviting and open while still setting the proper screens to discourage applicants who aren’t a good fit.

According to a 2017 study of hiring trends in North America conducted by the Talent Board, candidates want “a clear understanding of the company culture, insight into the employee experience and a sense of connection with the overall brand” during the early stages of their job searches. While your organization is refreshing content on its company website, do not forget about the career pages.

3. Pre-screening? What’s That?

We’ve all been there before. The candidate who looks great on paper comes in for his interview wearing flip flops and sweatpants and appears to have just rolled out of bed. Three managers are lined up to conduct interviews and, upon first interactions, everyone knows this is all just a waste of time.

Have your hiring process include a 15-minute prescreening interview, either by phone or by video chat, to weed out the wrong candidates before making a sizeable time investment and putting them in front of a hiring manager. These introductory interviews offer an opportunity to get housekeeping questions out of the way and set the stage for a more productive second round of interviews for management. Intro questions like “Tell me about your experience” and “What attracted you to our organization” can uncover a lot about someone, and the phone interview format can save time, resources and money in the process.

4. Overlooking Your Onboarding

So, you found the right person, made them an offer and he accepted. Congrats! Your job is done, right? Not yet. Onboarding new employees is perhaps the most overlooked part of the hiring process. Successful onboarding programs allow managers to clearly define expectations, energize hires about their new role and set them up for success. All too often, onboarding processes don’t exist and time is wasted with either longer-than-necessary employee ramp-up time or the new hire quits or is fired.

The fact is, organized onboarding processes lead to employee longevity. Employees that complete a structured onboarding program are 58 percent more likely to stay with the company for at least three years. In a labor market with a growing number of “job hoppers,” keeping employees happy early on is extremely important.

5. Missing Out on Valuable Feedback

“How was your experience throughout the hiring process?” It’s such a simple question, but you’d be surprised to know how infrequently it gets asked. According to the Talent Board hiring survey, only 19 percent of applicants said they were asked for feedback.

Employers need to do a better job asking for constructive criticism. Online surveys have made this process faster and easier than ever. A few simple questions posed to both accepted applicants as well as those that have been turned down can produce valuable insights into shortfalls in the hiring process and where there’s room for improvement.

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A Strong Hiring Process is Essential

Today’s hiring environment is more complex and competitive than ever before. Unemployment is at a near-all-time low, yet the average job opening attracts more than 250 applicants. Making matters worse is the fact that millennials are hopping jobs at an accelerating rate. A strong management team recognizes that their people are their best assets, which makes the hiring process even more crucial. All of this underscores the need to get the hiring process right. While there’s no surefire way to make sure you hire the perfect candidate, fixing these hiring-process mistakes is a great place to start.

Jameel Rush is human resources director at Yoh, a leading international talent and outsourcing company and part of Day & Zimmermann. He is a talent management and human resources leader with strong international experience in diversity, leadership development, organizational development/effectiveness, workforce analytics, and creating strategy to tackle large workplace initiatives.