oopsJust how cost-effective and time-saving is your hiring process? These common mistakes can set companies back thousands (or millions!) of dollars every year. Worst of all, big mistakes in your hiring process mean you’re probably missing out on the talent you desperately need in your organization.

In fact, a recent survey from ACT Bridge found that 56 percent of U.S. employers don’t even measure the return they’re getting on talent investments. While most companies focus on the bottom line and look at worker productivity, many companies are ignoring the money drain of an inefficient hiring process.

To save time and money, here are the five common mistakes you should avoid:

Mistake #1: Not encouraging employee referrals
In 2011, employee referrals were the number one source of external hires. But, employee referral programs have yet to reach their full potential. As a result of poor internal promotion,  and lack of necessary technology, only 23 percent of employees are actively referring their network. However, 60 percent say they would do so if their company provided the opportunity.

The benefits of hiring internal referrals are three-fold. Referrals tend to last twice as long, perform better (in front of their friends, of course), and are more likely to have a better understanding of the company culture before signing on the dotted line. So, if you’re not investing in an employee referral program, you’re missing out on talented and loyal employees.

Mistake #2: Scrambling to fill an open req
Don’t procrastinate. Waiting until you have a hiring need before you start looking for candidates, will be detrimental to your cost-to-hire and time-to-hire metrics. Rather, the best time to be sourcing is when you have fewer jobs to fill and less pressure. Sounds odd?

Well, since the average time to hire is 43 days, and passive candidates are not going to readily apply to your job openings, you need to find a way to build meaningful, long-term relationships with your talent pipeline.

So, stay in touch, send them company news, industry alerts, and articles you think they’d be interested in. A great way to keep track of your pipeline line is through a talent community that offers activity tracking features of a CRM and lead nurturing features of a marketing automation platform.

Mistake #3: Relying heavily on job boards
Top talent is not searching job boards, and they’re certainly not going spend the 45 minutes necessary to apply at your career site. In fact, only about one out of 10 career site visitors actually follows through with application process. Companies are missing out on 90 percent of the talent that visits their career site. (And chances are, those are the top performers.)

With today’s social technology, you can make your career site into more than just a repository for job openings. You can turn your career site into an active talent community, building relationships and engaging with top candidates in your own private social network.

Mistake #4: Thinking social media isn’t an effective source of hire
Do you think social media is only for live tweeting sporting events, talking about the latest celebrity couple, or posting Instagram pictures of your lunch? Think again! Social media is a powerful and effective tool when it comes to engaging with candidates and building your employer brand. That’s why 92 percent of companies used social media to recruit last year, and the number will likely only rise in 2013.

An added benefit of social is the way it has completely transformed the traditional employee referral program. With the right tools, social referrals now work in two-ways. Candidates can see how they’re connected to a job opening and ask for a recommendation from that current or former employee. And employees can see who within their social network might be a good fit for open positions, and make referrals.

Mistake #5: Valuing direct experience more than important than cultural fit
Skills are important; no one is dismissing good qualifications. But in today’s flooded job market, there’s something to be said about finding a candidate who will fit into your company culture. Employee turnover is costly, and ill-fitting employees are more likely to pack their bags.

A recent study from the Center for American Progress showed replacing an employee tends to cost about one-fifth of that employee’s salary. This could be a steep price if you don’t put emphasis on cultural fit as well as relevant skills. Employee referrals are a great source for finding like-minded individuals who will enjoy working in a culture where they naturally fit in.

It’s not easy to hire the best, but if you avoid these five big mistakes in your hiring process, you’ll protect your bottom line and attract the top talent you need to move your business forward.

What do you think are the biggest hiring mistakes? Share in the comments!

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