The 7 Deadly Sins of Recruiting

July 17, 2015

Recruiting is a tough job. Sometimes, you're going to make mistakes.

That’s okay. As James Joyce said, mistakes are the portals of discovery.

But, what's not okay is to adopt one of the seven philosophies listed below, because they're going to lead to a lot more than one mistake. These seven philosophies lead to a pattern of errors that will end in a ruined employer brand, a bunch of frustrated people and a company that’s devoid of top talent.

Which is precisely why they’ve been named the seven deadly sins of recruiting.

1. Greed: You fiercely negotiate starting salaries


So you want to go all William Shatner and negotiate the lowest possible salary you can for your new hires. Great, right, as it saves the company a lot of money?

Well, not really. Truth is, research shows if you don’t pay people what they’re worth, they’re likely to leave. At the very least, they’ll grow resentful and less engaged.

You shouldn’t overpay for talent. But underpaying is just as bad, if not worse.

2. Sloth: You mass spam prospects for every open position


Most people know how to cut and paste. You don’t need to show off how good you are at it by cut-and-pasting the same InMail over and over (and over) again.

Here’s the thing: it’s ineffective, and will only cause more work in the long run. Additionally, it kills your employer brand, so you make it harder for you (and everyone else within your company) to recruit in the future.

Take a minute to personalize your InMails and try to target people who are somehow connected to your company. As LinkedIn’s own head of recruiting found out, you’ll get a much higher response rate and it will save you time in the long run.

3. Gluttony: You feast only on active candidates


This is a glutton’s recruiting strategy: post a position and wait for the flood of (mostly irrelevant) resumes to come in, providing a hefty and largely innutritious snack for them and their fellow recruiters.

Active candidates are great, no doubt, but they only represent about 30 percent of the market. By going after passive candidates as well, you hit a much wider crowd, and often a more talented one.

After all, often the most talented employees are not looking for a job.

4. Wrath: You treat the candidates you reject poorly


Here’s an attitude research shows far too many recruiters take: they treat the candidate they eventually hire great, and the rest they forget about. And while perhaps this isn’t done out of wrath, it certainly inspires it.

Here’s the thing: treating rejected candidates poorly kills your employer brand and can even hurt your sales. Just by reaching out to them to tell them they are no longer being considered, and providing some feedback on why, can exponentially improve their attitudes towards your company.

5. Lust: You search for applicants who don’t exist


“I want a salesmen with at least 15 years experience selling SaaS solutions whose been in the top 10 percent in sales the past five years and has a….”

Sure, we all would. But, if you are going to lust, lust realistically. The best way to do that is to analyze your talent pools and see what requirements are truly necessary before you post a job.

6. Envy: You think you need a giant budget to compete


We’d all love millions of dollars to spend on content creators and targeted job ads, like (insert name of well-funded competitor) does. But, the fact is, there are thousands of ways you can improve your recruiting efforts, without spending a dime.

To improve your employer brand, you can try these tricks that require no extra cash. You can ensure your interviewing and onboarding experiences are strong. And, as mentioned earlier in this article, you can make it a point to reach out to the candidates who apply to your company, even if they don’t get the job.

A bigger budget is always nice, but the fact is more money actually stifles your creativity. Sometimes, forcing yourself to improve something without using more resources to do it is one of the best ways to dream up innovative solutions. 

7. Pride: You think the best candidates are just lining up to work for your company


The worst sin of them all.

Google, for example, is widely regarded as one of the best places to work in the world and gets two million applications a year. And yet they still spend millions on advertisements enticing people to work at Google, a great career site and their head of HR uses every form of publicity out there to help him recruit.

The point is, no matter how great your company is, you need to constantly put resources into your employer branding and recruiting efforts.

There are millions of companies out there your candidates can go to. The minute you stop putting energy into luring top talent, the minute they find one of the countless other jobs out there instead.

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*Image sources: Wallstreet, Sergio DelgadoKurt BauschardtLuis MarinaKristina Alexanderson, meme generatorDanny Perez

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