Thanks to the latest internet boom, companies are growing and there’s incredible demand for individuals with digital skills sets.
That’s good news for those looking for digital marketing jobs, but it is creating numerous recruiting challenges for companies.
Whether you’re looking for a web developer, a social media marketer, or a salesperson, if you’re in a digital industry in a major market, competition is fierce and chances are that finding the next great hire is a daunting task.
Unfortunately, companies often shoot themselves in the foot by making big mistakes during the recruiting process. Here are 10 such mistakes companies should seek to avoid.
1. Not moving fast enough
In today’s ultra-competitive recruiting environment, many companies will realistically have a limited time to evaluate a candidate and make an offer. If your company’s recruiting process is too slow, there’s a very good chance that your most desirable candidates will have other offers in hand before you complete your process.
2. Moving too fast
Time is of the essence, but don’t rush the recruiting process too much. As more and more companies deal with the challenge of finding the next great hire, some will inevitably want to move quickly, especially once they see someone good get away. But there should be a balance: moving too fast can actually be worse than moving too slow because the costs of making a hire that doesn’t work out can be so significant.
The best way to move expeditiously but not too aggressively is to prioritize recruiting and to map out a plan before you start a search. When you do this, you’re far less likely to be caught off guard when a great opportunity presents itself.
3. Failing to set clear expectations
At every step of the recruiting process, it’s important to set expectations so that the candidates you’re interacting with know the score. At a minimum, this includes letting candidates know what your timeframes are for conducting your search and making a decision. It can also be very helpful to place details about the offer (compensation, benefits, etc.) on the table up front to ensure that there are no disappointing surprises on either side.
4. Limiting your search to the ‘perfect’ candidate
Looking for someone with top-notch skills, a killer CV and the ability to make an immediate contribution to your company? You’re not alone. Just about every company is hoping they’ll discover the ‘perfect’ candidate. But competing for the most desirable free agents today is not a game for the faint of heart and many smaller companies simply can’t put together the type of offers that larger firms can in terms of remuneration.
In many cases, a better strategy is to seek out a great prospect — a potential employee who may not be the total package, but has skills, an ability and eagerness to learn, and the desire to grow with your company. Yes, such employees require investment, but an investment in employee development is often one of the best investments a company can make.
5. Applying the wrong filters
When it comes to identifying promising candidates, it’s all about the filters you employ. Unfortunately for employers, there are many filters which are easy to apply in a less-than-helpful way. For instance, years of experience requirements are frequently set without much thought, oftentimes by somebody in HR who may not have an in-depth understanding of what’s really required to handle the responsibilities of a particular job.
To ensure that the right filters are in place, it helps to ensure that the person who will be managing a new hire is sufficiently involved in the recruiting process.
6. Focusing too much on culture
Culture can be an important part of a company — one that should be taken into consideration when hiring a new employee — but be careful: if your company’s culture is too strong and too big a focus in your recruiting, you may find that you’re casting a net that’s far too small. Keep in mind that your primary objective is to hire somebody who can get the job done and help your company move forward, not to find someone who you’d enjoy going to lunch with.
7. Selling the wrong things
You don’t have to be a huge company with a lot of cash to find and hire quality people. But if you’re competing against the big boys, it helps to take stock of your company’s best attributes and make sure those are part of the sales pitch. Make no mistake about it: money, benefits and perks are generally important, but for a lot of employees, those aren’t the end alls and be alls. So if you’re a smaller company with an interesting story to tell, or a different perspective, be sure to use it as a selling point.
8. Not checking out CVs and references
Verifying the accuracy of a job candidate’s CV and checking references can require effort, but it’s an important part of the recruiting process that should not be skipped. Just ask Yahoo.
9. Indulging in too much negotiation
In the most competitive markets, potential hires are in the cat bird’s seat and they know it. This can encourage candidates to negotiate offers heavily, in some cases playing multiple prospective employers off of each other.
That may be smart and pragmatic on the part of the would-be employee, but it’s generally wise to limit negotiation. At the end of the day, the person you’re trying to recruit knows what you bring to the table (because you’ve set expectations and sold the right things). If that isn’t enough by a wide margin, engaging in negotiation is rarely a useful exercise for anybody.
10. Not allowing hiring managers to trust their gut instincts
Recruiting new employees is a difficult task, and for good reason: it’s arguably a lot like betting because until a new hire starts, there’s really no way to know if the relationship will work out even if you have done everything right.
With this in mind, it’s worth considering that although many companies try to make the recruiting process more objective than subjective, allowing a hiring manager to trust a strong gut feeling can be a very smart move.