November 7, 2019

5 Communication Mistakes Guaranteed to Drive Away Top Candidates


With unemployment hitting lows not seen in some time, companies have to be especially strategic when it comes to the recruiting process. An unrefined hiring process can scare away the best candidates or even increase turnover among the employees you do manage to hire.

That’s not to say your recruiting process should cater to the wants of any and every candidate, but you do need to make it inviting for those candidates who are most likely to be good fits for your company.

One key component of recruiting worth considering here is communication. How you choose to communicate with candidates can make or break your hiring process. If you want to get more top talent through your door, you need to eliminate these five communication mistakes first:

1. Impersonal Interactions

Establishing a human connection early on in the process is critical for keeping candidates engaged down the line. After all, no one gets excited about working for a company that only communicates via lifeless, computer-generated emails.

At the same time, however, few companies can afford the manpower required to respond to each and every candidate with a personalized, individually written message.

Luckily, there is a way to have more personal interactions with candidates without pouring too much time into the process: workflow automation. With an automated communication solution, you can send customizable messages to candidates that feel personal — and your recruiters don’t have to spend hours a day tapping out individual emails.

2. Generic Job Postings

There’s no faster way to drive away your best prospects than by posting a bad job ad. Whether they demand an unreasonable amount of experience or are stuffed with meaningless buzzwords, poorly written job ads indicate to applicants that your company either doesn’t know what it’s looking for or doesn’t care enough to put in the effort.

If HR alone handles your job posts, your ads are unlikely to be optimized — even if HR has the best of intentions. The department simply lacks the domain-specific knowledge necessary. For job ads that entice candidates and communicate realistic expectations, have the hiring team work closely with HR to develop ads that make sense for the particular field. Be sure to get feedback from people who already work in the same or similar positions: What information would catch their attention in a job ad?

For more expert recruiting advice, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

3. Interrogatory Interviews

Interviews are supposed to be two-way conversations, but more often than not, they end up as one-sided interrogations. Interviewers bombard candidates with questions that do little more than intimidate. People want to work for companies that value their voices — so make sure your interviews reflect that your company does.

Make space for candidates to ask their own questions — about the position, the organization, the team, and anything else that may be on their minds. Interviews should focus on the mutual interests and shared goals of the candidate and the company — not just on what the company needs from the candidate.

Plus, it’s impossible to truly get to know someone through a purely one-sided interview. Your interrogations won’t get you all the information you need to make the best decision. As a result, you may end up passing over perfect-fit candidates.

4. Too Many Interviews

Even if your interviews are constructive conversations, they can still be detrimental to your hiring process if you have too many of them. It’s a tight talent market out there, and the longer your hiring process takes, the more chances your competitors have to poach top talent straight from your pipeline.

Instead of putting candidates through endless interviews, make each interview really count. Before each conversation, clearly set out an objective for yourself: What are you hoping to learn about this candidate today? Also prepare any assessments you want to give or points you want to make clear. By consolidating the content of several interviews into one or two, you construct a more agile hiring process that still uncovers the data you need to make a decision.

5. Inconsistent Outreach

Everyone has had the experience: You applied to a job — perhaps you even got an interview! — but then the company seemed to disappear. Nothing but radio silence.

Whether that silence is ever broken doesn’t really matter. When you lose contact with an applicant like that, you’re demonstrating a lack of concern for their best interests. That kind of attitude will get you nowhere in today’s talent market.

Respond to every applicant promptly, regardless of where they stand in the process. Most rejected candidates would much rather know their status than be left hanging for weeks on end. Quick responses also eliminate the constant follow-ups from antsy candidates, thereby clearing your lines of communication for more important matters.

Ultimately, the key is to ensure that every step of the hiring process accurately conveys to candidates your values, culture, and way of operating. If your process truly reflects what kind of company yours is, you will have an easier time capturing the interest of candidates who are likely to be a good match.

Anna Johansson is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Anna is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting, where she works with businesses to create marketing and PR campaigns. Follow her on Twitter (@Number1AnnaJo) and LinkedIn.