5 Mistakes You’re Making When Looking For Top Talent

Take these steps to help you recruit and hire skilled, excellent job candidates.

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5 Mistakes You're Making When Looking For Top Talent

The hiring process can inspire a number of different (and sometimes conflicting) emotions: anxiety, stress, excitement, pride…the list continues. As an HR manager, you are on the front lines of going out and bringing in new talent. At the end of the day, you have the most direct hand in deciding who is the best fit for the job.

What many HR managers do not consider is that they could be going about hiring talent the wrong way. They may have blind spots or need to develop new skills they did not know they needed. It could be a matter of not using the best or most relevant job boards.

It could also be a situation where you are getting lots of applicants but none of them meet your hiring standards. There are numerous possible shortcomings and blind spots, but do not let that discourage you.

Regardless of where you may be having trouble, there are always things you can do to improve. But the first step in getting better at hiring is figuring out where and how you could be more effective.

Work with your team. Have them help you determine why every job post you put up on Glassdoor or Indeed seems to yield the same kinds of candidates without ever attracting dynamite applicants. Work with upper management to see what suggestions or insights they may have.

To help get you started, we have come up with a list of 5 mistakes you are most likely making when looking for top talent.

Hiring mistake #1: Waiting too long to make an offer

We know how this may sound. You may be asking yourself, “What do you mean by too long? Are candidates not aware of how long the hiring process can take?”

You are not wrong, but candidates who know they are the cream of the crop are not going to wait for your decision for long. They will move on if you do not come to a decision within a reasonable amount of time.

With that in mind, top candidates will likely get multiple offers from the various places to which they have applied. Waiting too long to offer them the job could cost you the candidate. People do not like or appreciate being left in limbo for long, even if they are familiar with average talent acquisition timelines.

They want to see that you know what you are looking for and are not afraid to act confidently and decisively when picking a candidate. Waiting too long or indicating that you are unsure in any way can point to uncertainty and an unwillingness to commit to big decisions.

Waiting too long to offer them the job could cost you the candidate.

To be clear: We are not saying that you should rush through the hiring process or be less careful when making a decision. It is important to exercise care when hiring new talent. Not doing so can be detrimental in many different ways. We are just saying that there comes a point when waffling between candidates can work against you.

Hiring mistake #2: Poor communication

You would think that communication would be the highest priority for HR managers during the hiring process, but that often is not the case. Too often, hiring managers will start corresponding with a viable candidate, often getting past the interview process before ghosting the applicant completely.

Many will often start the dialogue on a job recruitment site such as LinkedIn and then suddenly stop responding. This is unprofessional and ill-advised because it shows the candidate 1 of 2 things: either you were not actually that interested or you don’t communicate well with applicants.

Even though this is usually not intentional at all, going silent on a candidate sends the wrong message. It is natural for hiring teams to be inundated with prospects, interviews, unread applications — you name it.

That is why it is especially important for you to set reminders or put other systems in place to ensure that you follow up with finalists for the position. Ultimately, it falls on the hiring managers to establish strong lines of communication with the individuals you are looking to hire.

The importance of communication in the workplace cannot be overstated. More often than not, how you communicate during the hiring process is a good indicator of how you communicate in the office. Top talent is able to gauge and evaluate these lapses in communication, reasonably concluding that their prospective employer may not be communicative enough for them.

Hiring mistake #3: Lack of transparency

This should not surprise anyone. Highly skilled candidates want to work for ethical, transparent organizations. They want clearly articulated values, policies, and standards, and they want you to be able to tell them about these things. They want to see that you value transparency as much as they do.

If you do not make that clear, you may lose them as a potential employee. More often than not, they know their worth and will not settle for anything less.

The problem is, many hiring managers do not put enough emphasis on ensuring that the message they are sending applicants is one that is clear and powerful enough. It’s important to be transparent. This helps establish trust from the outset, which is critical if you want to attract high-performing candidates.

Hiring mistake #4: Putting too much emphasis on money

A big mistake many companies continue to make when hiring people is putting too much emphasis and importance on the compensation aspects of the gig. These organizations want to charm candidates by offering fantastic salaries, excellent bonus opportunities, etc.

Applicants want to see that your organization will elevate their personal and professional lives and fulfill them.

What these companies fail to realize is that many people, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, pay lots of attention to perks and benefits as well. They see their overall quality of life as more than just a paycheck or a fancy Christmas bonus. They are smart to think that way.

Applicants want to see that your organization will elevate their personal and professional lives and fulfill them. If they perceive that you can’t or won’t do that, then they may pass on a position at your company.

The times we are in have not exactly helped employers to change their approach, either. The COVID-19 pandemic has emboldened some hiring managers to push eye-popping salaries instead of solid benefits.

That just isn’t going to cut it with younger applicants. They want to see that you and your company share their values and stand for the causes they stand for.

The long and short of it is this: Hiring managers need to start thinking bigger about the kinds of things they can offer candidates that will actually attract top-tier talent. Money is great but it is not the whole package. Do not treat it as such and you may be rewarded with some outstanding talent.

Hiring mistake #5: Relying too much on external recruiters

Bringing in external recruiters to help you find talent can be helpful. However, it can become a problem if your organization relies on these recruiters too often. That is why establishing an internal recruiting team can help streamline your hiring processes.

The biggest problem with external recruiters is that they usually are not familiar enough with your organization to be of any real help to top talent. They do not know enough to be an effective advocate or spokesperson for your company.

Remember that top-tier candidates are going to ask better, more thoughtful questions that require deep knowledge of your organization, its history, its values, and other eye-opening tidbits.

An internal recruiter, on the other hand, will know all of these things and more. Sometimes they know these things off the top of their head, too. They will be able to engage with the best candidates on deeper, more helpful topics relevant to the job in question.

Perhaps even more important, though, is the fact that an internal recruiter will be excited to talk about your organization. They will want to sell the possibility of working for you as an incredible opportunity that will catapult them to the stratosphere. You want a recruiter who can advocate for your business and mean it.

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The way that you recruit and hire candidates matters

Your role in finding and hiring talent is vital to your organization’s success. Many HR professionals have no idea that the way they are hiring people is not nearly as efficient or effective as it could be.

That is why evaluating your current process is such an important first step. If you do not take this step, you will likely keep doing the same thing over and over again. Then, you’ll get the same results every time.

All of this is to say that the way that you hire matters. The way that you come across to all of your applicants matters. The way you search for talent matters.

The steps you take after you have interviewed the candidate matters. Even the way you train and hire your recruiters matters. It all reflects back on you regardless of whether it is positive or negative.

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