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Seven Deadly Sins of Recruiting

Recruiting is all about building relationships—we need to be warm and consistent in our approach. In anticipation of Halloween, here are seven sins to steer clear of.

1. Left in the Lurch.

Three people are submitted for a job opening. One receives an offer; the other two do not. In the excitement of filling the job, it is easy to forget about the feelings of your two other candidates, leaving them in the lurch. Being rejected from a job is hard, but recruiters can help soften the blow. First and foremost, communicate. Was the opening for ghouls, but they are clearly a goblin? Be open and constructive with all of your candidates. Just because this job wasn’t the right fit doesn’t mean there won’t be more fitting opportunities down the line.

2. Alone in the Dark.

We’ve seen candidates go to job interviews with next to no knowledge of the opportunity or company at which they are applying. When your candidate arrives unprepared, it not only looks bad for them, but also reflects poorly on the recruiter. If you can’t meet your candidate in person before their interview, speak with them via Skype or on the phone. Familiarize them with the company and its culture. Explain the job description in depth, provide the company’s website, and urge them to do their own research. It’s tough to separate tricks from treats in the dark.

3. The Hatchet Job.

We’ve all encountered challenging partnerships. Sometimes, hiring managers can be picky. Sometimes, they can be selective to the point that they seemingly don’t know what they want, hacking away at candidate submissions with the ferocity of a chainsaw massacre. Manage expectations to minimize the bloodshed. Will all parties agree to review and provide feedback within 24 or 48 hours? Share market data that evidences prevailing pay rates and talent availability. A collaborative partnership keeps hatchets tucked safely away!

4. Tricks over Treats.

It’s easy to be fooled by a cheaper pay rate, but don’t get tricked into trying to fit a square box into a round hole. Placing the quickest and easiest candidate may be convenient, but—when challenges arise two weeks later—you will regret it. Invest time in understanding what the manager is looking for in the same way you invest time in exploring a candidate’s goals. The easy fit is very rarely the right fit.

5. Six Feet Under.

No candidate can be defined by bolded titles, italicized dates, and four to five bullet points. Resumes are not the full stories, and pouring over their details will not uncover soft skills. Give candidates—and success—a chance by speaking with them directly to get a sense of their real proficiencies and value propositions. Think of resumes as tombstones; they are great summaries, but really share little about what’s buried underneath!

6. Blood Running Cold.

Proactive candidates make proactive employees, and they are the lifeblood of successful organizations. Let’s say that a candidate calls you and leaves you a voicemail, expressing interest in an open position. You tell yourself you’ll get back to them, and an hour later stumble across the seemingly perfect resume of an old candidate in your system. You reach out to that individual, and all the while your proactive candidate lead is growing cold. Remember to reward proactive interest, and remember the importance of relationship-building!

7. Digging One’s Grave.

Trick-or-treating was always better with friends than it was alone. Also, don’t we all get annoyed when horror movie characters venture off into the darkness by themselves only to be dispatched in grisly fashion? Not recognizing that working together could leave you digging your own grave. Even superstar recruiters need help from their peers. Maybe someone has an awesome candidate that just finished an assignment. Maybe a coworker doesn’t have a full plate and is willing to help. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, as there are far worse things to fear—the seven deadly sins of recruiting come to mind!