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The Pitfalls of Recruitment

When it comes to recruiting within an organisation, employers don’t, on the whole, jump for joy at the prospect. It’s more common to hear a chorus of groans from the management team. Who can blame them? Despite the old adage that there are plenty of fish in the sea, many companies struggle to find the catch of the day for a number of reasons.

Over the years we've been called in to help many of our clients with their recruitment. Most fall victim to the same mistakes. Forewarned is forearmed. If you’re struggling to find the right person for a vacancy, it might be worth casting your eyes over the five common mistakes below.

1. Not having a clear idea of what you are looking for.

Many companies are unclear about the skills and competencies that they are looking for. Developing a job description and person specification is absolutely key in outlining what you want from a candidate, and will give your recruitment procedure focus and structure too.

2. Making decisions based solely on interviews.

Don’t get me wrong, recruitment can be costly, but you need to invest time and money in the process if you are to find the right person. It is tempting to just use an interview to assess a potential candidate as it is a quick and fairly cheap way of meeting and assessing candidates on a one-to-one basis. However, many people who interview well turn out to perform poorly when appointed and the people who lack polish and visible confidence can turn out to be your best workers.

Consider using pre-screening methods like telephone interviews beforehand. You could also organise practical activities, such as a presentation or role play, which mimic the types of tasks candidates would be expected to do in their role. A combination of methods really gives you an understanding of the ability of the candidate in a more well-rounded way.

3. Poor interviewing techniques.

A structured, well-planned interview applied to all candidates is the only way (and the best way) to compare candidates. It’s so simple to do, yet so few companies know the right way to go about it.

Many interviewers fall into the trap of asking closed or leading questions which give very little data. I’m always advising people of the use and benefit of asking open questions (those that start with words and phrases like ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘what’, and ‘when’) which probe candidates for further information. Competency questions should also be used, as these give you an insight into the experiences of the candidate, matched to the competencies you are looking for.

4. Casting too small a net.

Whilst some companies choose not to advertise vacancies at all, those who do often only advertise in the most obvious places and use only a few approaches. If you’re struggling to get the right candidates (or any at all) broaden your options. If your website is the only place you've ever advertised, think more widely. What platforms would your ideal candidate use to look for a job?

5. Hiring the least worst candidate.

It’s very easy to settle for someone because they turned out to be the least-worst candidate. If a person doesn't match the essential criteria you’re looking for, don’t hire them! Yes you will have to go through the whole process again, but the outcome in the end will be worth it. Remember that hiring in haste is a waste!

At the end of the day, recruitment is all about finding the right talent for your organisation and it’s very easy to make your life harder if you don’t know what you’re doing. Making a conscious effort to avoid the five mistakes above will help put you on the road to success, but if you’d like to talk through your recruitment issues, or would like us to come and do it for you, give us a call!

Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in HR solutions, employment law training and HR tools and resources to businesses across the UK.

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