There are many moving pieces to consider anytime you need to hire. Whether you’re doing it in person or online, it isn’t always a quick or easy process and sometimes you may run into common hiring problems. How you handle those problems can be the difference between a good hiring process and a great one. When you lose a candidate, for example, do you shrug your shoulders and move on? Or do you take a real look at how you hire and figure out where hidden traps might lie that are costing you great candidates? Understanding the reasons behind some of the most common hiring problems can teach you a lot about your own approach to recruiting. Learning those lessons can help ensure next time you hire, you land the best candidate for the role.
5 hiring problems that cost you candidates
What are some issues that might be happening in your hiring process that are causing your candidates to walk away from you? If you’re facing problems with candidates dropping out of the process before reaching an offer stage or new hires that are turning over fast, it might be time to look at how you hire.
Problem #1: Your candidate’s aren’t completing their applications
Lesson: If you’re candidates aren’t making it to the end of your application process then that’s a good signal that something might be wrong with how you’re collecting candidate information. There are many reasons candidates may drop out of your recruiting funnel, but if your application process is unnecessarily long or not mobile friendly you might be losing great candidates just because they grow frustrated with your system. The application process is usually a candidate’s first interaction with a company so you want it to be as positive as possible. Take a look at your current method, whether you’re using an ATS or other process, and see if there are any ways to streamline the information you need to gather. For example, a common candidate pet peeve is being asked to upload a resume and then having to type out their resume in the next step of the application anyways. If there are any unnecessary steps in your application process, take the time to remove them or find other ways around the problem. Shortening your initial application can go a long ways toward keeping a candidate interested in the role.
Problem #2: You’re having a hard time comparing candidates
Lesson: After a long day of interviewing, you probably want to compare notes with your colleagues and sort through your applicants. If you are having a hard time sorting for the differences between candidates, however, it could be due to the way you’re interviewing. Interviews that are given “off the cuff” or rely on questions that only probe surface level information aren’t going to be all that effective in helping you pick the best hire. A better approach is to use a structured interview. Structured interviews can keep the interview process on track by ensuring the same questions are asked to candidates in the same order. That allows you to make better comparisons as all candidates have had a chance at answering the same questions. You can also use hiring tools such as assessments to help you compare candidates objectively in order to make data-driven decisions. Having a hiring process that allows you to fairly compare candidates can help recruiters avoid the dangers of making a bad hire or allowing unconscious bias to sway a decision.
Problem #3: Your candidate turns you down
Lesson: It’s always disappointing to get to the end of a long search only to find your candidate has moved on. If this is happening to you, it might be time to take a look at how you’re treating candidates during the interview. As with your application system, it’s worth taking a comprehensive view of your routine to see if there are any bottlenecks your candidates might be running into. A common hiring mistake is failing to communicate with candidates, especially if you have a lengthy time to hire. You might also be missing opportunities to talk up your company throughout your interview process such as when a candidate asks about your corporate culture or employee engagement approach. With savvy candidates, making the right hire isn’t just about asking the right questions but also about listening to candidate concerns and providing them with reasons to get excited about working for your organization. A candidate passing means there’s some kind of misalignment between what you’re looking for and what the candidate wants. Looking at your hiring process from your job description to the interview questions you use, to how you handle questions about your employer brand can be helpful in finding new ways to make your hiring more effective.
Problem #4: Your new hire isn’t a good fit for their team
Lesson: No one wins when the best candidate turns out to be a bad hire. It can be a challenge to predict future performance when you meet a candidate, but there are ways of determining culture fit beyond relying on gut instinct. One way to account for team fit is to include them right from the start. You could build peer interviews into your interview process in order to gain some direct feedback from your team. Or you can hire using a benchmark to articulate what an ideal candidate would look like. Assessments such as the McQuaig Job Survey are a great way of compiling feedback about what the requirements of a role are before you even start interviewing. Using key traits, stakeholder feedback, or surveying employees already in a role allows you to build a clear vision on what kind of candidate you need to find. Used with the McQuaig Word Survey, hiring managers or recruiters can gain insight into a candidate’s temperament, culture fit, and communication and work style before they even land in a team. Knowing that information can help managers smooth the transition of their new hire into a team and can support a more personalized approach to onboarding.
Problem #5: Your new hire quits within their first 90 days
Lesson: It’s always hard to see a new hire leave when you thought they had promise. If your candidates are walking out the door as quickly as they’re entering, though, there may be a problem with how you’re introducing job seekers to your company. Much of early turnover can be attributed to a company’s onboarding program and how much training a new hire receives. Onboarding is a great time to take advantage of a new employee’s interest and excitement to make them feel like part of the company. Don’t stick to just dry policies or instructions. Instead try to make onboarding fun by tying in company culture and what life at the company is really like. It’s also a smart idea to invest time in your new hire and work on developing a strong working relationship with them. Think about how your employee prefers to be managed, how they like to communicate, and what their work style is to make sure you’re both aligned on goals and expectations.
Improving the hiring process
Most hiring processes have areas that could use some tweaking to make them more effective. When you’re part of the process, though, it can make it hard to see the barriers candidates might be running into that are impacting your quality of hire. By paying attention to where candidates are leaving you, you can highlight potential problems they might face and take steps to correct them. This streamlines the hiring process, speeds up your time to hire, and helps you make a more informed hiring decision. We’re all trying to avoid choosing the wrong person for a role and taking a thoughtful approach to how you interact with candidates can go a long way. So next time a candidate waves goodbye, take a moment to note how far into the process they got, and what challenge may have contributed to their change of heart. You can’t correct what you’re not aware of and paying attention to candidate behaviour when you hire is a great place to start.