Do You Make These 9 Common Talent Acquisition Mistakes?

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For a company, a bad hire can cost between $17,000 and $240,000. If you’re a small business or startup, you may not be able to afford the cost of a bad hire. Plus, with inflation and a looming recession, companies are trying to find ways to cut costs wherever possible.

One way you can save money is by avoiding common talent acquisition mistakes that everyone could be guilty of, regardless of their experience.

Keep reading to see if you make any of these mistakes, and if you do, what you can do to fix them.

1. Starting With a Job Description

When you need to fill an open position, most people will post a job posting on a job board or social media and wait for active talent to apply. Some recruiters won’t even update the job description before posting it.

However, before you post the job description, you need to know what type of candidate you want to hire for. The needs for that job might’ve changed since you last hired for the position, and you may need to update the job openings with the most accurate information to find a qualified candidate.

Taking time to polish the posting can help bring in more external candidates. It would be best if you spent time sitting down with the hiring managers to understand what is expected from that position. You can ask some questions, like:

  • Why did the employee leave?
  • What have your best employees been like? What skills do they have?
  • How has the job changed?
  • What qualifications are non-negotiable?
  • What similar experience is acceptable for this job?

These questions can help you gauge how to write an effective job description to attract candidates.

2. Only Considering Education

While education might be essential and required for some roles, it isn’t always necessary. Even if someone went to an Ivy League school, they might not have the experience needed to do a good job. However, even with experience, you want to vet and ensure that the candidate has the skills necessary to do the job.

One thing recruiters and talent acquisition managers don’t do is not assess whether a candidate has the skills for the job. They must use their experience and insights to determine their soft and hard skills.

This is why many companies use pre-screening interviews. This can be a quick fifteen-minute call for recruiters to verify what’s on a candidate’s resume. Or clarify what is missing from their resume. For example, if a candidate claims they’re fluent in Spanish, you can use this call to ensure they can speak Spanish.

Some companies also opt to use different skills assessments. However, you must pay attention to the results if you use this. Many companies will send out these tests, but they’ll never actually look at the results. When you don’t look at the results, you could end up with the wrong hire.

You may also want to consider dropping your requirement for a four-year degree. Many companies are already doing so to widen their talent pool. However, it depends on what job you’re hiring for. If you’re hiring for a job that doesn’t need more than a high school diploma, you can get far more talent by dropping this requirement.

3. Not Caring About Data

You’ll have multiple data points throughout the talent acquisition process, but many talent acquisition leaders forget to look at them. The data allows you to improve your company and use it to create a better recruitment process.

You’ll need first to determine what type of data you want to look at. This might be evaluating your time to hire, the success of your hires, or how much it costs to hire a candidate. You’ll then need a system to track all of that data. Having more areas to track data in your organization will help recruiters make better hiring decisions.

With the right analytics solution, your organization can find the answers you need to know how to hire these candidates, which can transform your tried and true hiring methods. If you aren’t sure where to turn to to find data, you can start by using an AI talent acquisition solution.

4. Not Updating the Candidate on the Process

Once recruiters have a candidate in the pipeline, they should update them throughout the entire process, especially with a hot job market. If a candidate doesn’t hear back from a recruiter but is interviewing with other companies that update them on the process, they’re more likely to accept an offer from the competitor.

With talent in such high demand, you should always cater to the top candidates. They don’t want to spend their time going through a lengthy hiring process for no reason. Even if they want to accept a job at your company, they may not want to if you haven’t followed up with them. Even if a hiring manager is on vacation while waiting for an interview, let them know, so they understand why they’re waiting.

You’ll want to update them through every step of the process. If you have too many candidates to manage to cater to each one, this is where automation and AI can come in to help you. If you would instead do it yourself, try setting aside time each week to update the candidates who are confused about the status of their application.

5. No Accountability

Many recruiters or talent acquisition leaders don’t know their expectations. In recruiting, it can be hard to track metrics like hiring for quality or the cost of hiring. Some organizations track it but never tell recruiters what they’re looking at.

There needs to be clarity in the HR hiring department, and it has to start from the top if you want it to trickle down. It’ll be challenging to ensure everyone hires the best talent if there’s no business plan or strategy.

It would be best if you had clear expectations for how the hiring process will go, what metrics to track, how to improve job performance, and how to involve the hiring manager when necessary.

6. Making the Process Longer Than Necessary

Do you currently have five interviews in your hiring process? Do you need five interviews? Are they five hours long? These can be unrealistic and may drive away qualified candidates who just don’t have the time or energy to devote to a job they may not even get.

Thankfully, you can use technology to streamline the process and make it even more accessible without sacrificing the talent’s quality.

When you redo your hiring process, only keep the necessary interviews. You may want to do no more than three. Remember that if some of the best candidates are off the job market in ten days and your hiring process is long, you’re losing out on some of the best talent.

7. Only Looking at the Short-Term

Recruiters should always focus on filling the position, but they also need to look at how it’ll affect the company in the long term. For example, if they pick the first applicant they find to fill the position, this mistake could cost the company.

It might be tempting to cross that opening off the list, but there are more effective ways to bring in good talent while also having lasting improvements for the company. You should slow down and analyze hiring and figure out what candidate is necessary to make the position work for the long term.

You need to know about the business’s goals to build an excellent long-term talent acquisition process. For example, if you have candidates who don’t make it past the interview process, you need to review your interview process rather than just finding more candidates to push through the pipeline in the hopes that one of them will work.

8. Ignoring Over-Qualified Candidates

Some recruiters will reject candidates because they’re overqualified and think they will leave the role soon after. Or the best candidate might want a higher salary than is allowed in that role.

There might be some reason why a candidate wants to work for your company, and you should at least hear them out rather than reject them. Some employees may be willing to take a lower salary to do something they love with a company they want to work for.

Plus, these candidates are easier to train and don’t always need as much supervision. They can also help mentor some of your other employees. They might also bring fresh perspectives and ideas, so you should always interview these candidates.

9. Not Considering Internal Candidates

Sometimes your recruiters don’t need to work too hard on sourcing external hires because the perfect hire is already working for the company. Hiring someone familiar with the company and the company culture might make more sense.

Another benefit of internally hiring is that you can boost morale and productivity when employees feel you care about their careers and motivations. This can also help you save time on your hiring costs as well.

Discover How to Fix These Talent Acquisition Mistakes

These are only a few things to be aware of, but there are many other talent acquisition mistakes that a company might make. But being aware of them is the first step.

If you’ve noticed problems in your talent acquisition process, you must fix them as soon as possible to hire the perfect candidate effectively. That’s where can help.

As HR professionals, we have the right talent acquisition tools and resources you need, like AI recruiting software, niche job boards and career communities, and recruiters on demand. So contact us today to figure out which solutions can help you.


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Alyssa Harmon is the content manager of Recruiter Today.