How Not To Recruit

Eighty percent of staff turnover is caused by bad hiring decisions, according to the Harvard Business Review. However, few organizations question whether problems within their own hiring processes turn away potential talent. If your recruiting strategy exhibits any of the following obstacles, it is time for a rethink.

Self-Centered Job Advertisements

Most job advertisements speak extensively about the talent, skills, and qualifications a candidate must have, but do nothing to sell the job to the applicant. A three-page list of essential requirements tells potential candidates that you care more about satisfying an HR check list than you do about nurturing your staff's potential and attracting the best people for the job. Instead of being enamored with the company's culture and the prospect of working for you, talented applicants are likely to run for the hills. If that sounds unlikely in today's challenging labor market, remember that talented candidates always have other options.

Laborious Processes

A recent survey by UK research firm Staffing revealed that a staggering 47 percent of job candidates had bailed on a prospective employer because the hiring process was so frustrating. Difficult-to-navigate recruitment portals, onerous communication, bloated application forms and vague job descriptions fall into this category.

No Human Face

If your business spends thousands on marketing but pennies on its recruitment communications, you have got the balance wrong. Talented applicants deserve more than an impersonal "your application has been received" letter (the passive voice is not welcoming, either). So, thank the candidate for applying. Tell him that you are genuinely pleased to receive his application. Give him a human contact and a direct telephone number or email address. Most of all, tell him what happens next. Candidates who receive clearly-identified recruitment steps and a realistic time table are more likely to stick around.

Close-Minded Culture

Every organization has a culture and, whether you want it to or not, it will shine through your recruitment practices. Candidates use the application process as a barometer for the organization's working environment: show inflexibility, and the candidate has every right to assume that he will have a little independence in the role.


Most people want to work in organizations that put their people first. They want their boss to show unfailing respect for the work they do. They want consideration for the little hiccups that life throws in the way, such as an office-hours medical appointment or a family bereavement. Throw them into a recruitment process that disengages leadership, favors process over empathy or delegates the hiring decision to an unconnected third party, and your applicants are not going to champion your firm. Before you know it, the best talent will have gone.


Patricia Cuchiaro