6 Habits Recruiters Need to Break

October 7, 2015

When you’ve been doing something for a long time – or are learning from someone who has – its easy to get in a routine. You do things the way they’ve always been done. Why not?

While this might be ok in some professions, in recruiting – it won’t fly. To get the best talent, you have to adapt to changing technologies, generational mindsets, and evolving company values. If you don’t, you’re going to be beat out by recruiters who do.

So, if you’re still abiding by any of these six outdated recruiting habits, now’s the time to adapt to the changing tides.

1. Ignoring job candidates who don’t have the “right” experience

Today, smart recruiters will look outside the laundry list of qualifications to find a person who could be the best fit for the job, even if he doesn’t seem so on paper. That’s because it’s far easier to train someone on certain skills than it is to train them to be hard-working, personable, and loyal.

So, put aside the traditional recruiting method of hiring, for example, a marketer from only candidates who have a long history of marketing careers. Instead, think about the whole package.

2. Dedicating the majority of your day to sorting resumes

Recruiters can easily drown in incoming resumes and cover letters, only to come up for air at the end of a workday and realize they spent so much time sorting through resumes that they never actually did their own proactive sourcing. Remember: You’re the recruiter for a reason, and you know best of all who to look for to fill the position. Don’t limit yourself to the people who happened to find your job posting and remembered to email their resume.

If you aren’t spending the majority of your workday actively recruiting—looking for good contacts and leads in the industry, staying active in the market on social media, perusing through graphic designers on LinkedIn, etc.—then you aren’t making the most of all of the new tools and technologies at your disposal. And that means you might be missing out on the best candidate for the job.

3. Using generic job descriptions

Posting nonspecific job descriptions invites applicants who mass send their resume to every open position to apply. If you want to weed these people out and save yourself from going through hundreds of resumes in your ATS, focus on writing speciifc, targeting job descriptions. 

For exapmle, if you’re looking for a designer, request three recent samples. If you’re looking for an advertising rep, ask for the cover letter to describe in one paragraph a recent project win. In this way, you’re more likely to get people who are serious about the job, without frustrating everyone in the process.

4. Overemphasizing cultural fit

While hiring for cultural fit is important—arguably more so than hiring based on experience, as mentioned earlier—it shouldn’t be the only factor. Choosing candidates based on cultural fit, if taken to the extreme, can be a detriment to diversity and innovative thinking. It’s one thing to be unified toward a mission, but it’s another for everyone hired to think alike and behave alike. That will be the downfall for a company’s potential.

5. Hiding the company name

Posting a job for an anonymous company just doesn’t work anymore. As culture and reputation become more and more important to job seekers, they are far less likely to submit an application to a job when they don’t know who they’ll be working for. Plus, younger generations who are aware of online scams will see a lack of a company name as a lack of credibility. Worse, you could even frustrate exceptional candidates when they can’t find the information they need to make an educated decision on whether to apply, and that could ruin a company’s reputation in the future.

6. Counting out “overqualified” candidates

There’s nothing a job seeker hates more than to be denied a job because the recruiter says they’re “overqualified.” While it can often be a kind way to reject a candidate—much like “We’re going in another direction”—people have gotten too savvy to the line.

But more importantly, if the recruiter is using “overqualified” as a legitimate reason for rejection, that is also an outdated practice. Never discount a potential hire because it seems on paper that they have too much experience for the role. You don’t know what kind of job they might be looking for—whether they’re looking to downsize their role for the sake of children, whether they’re looking to move to a new place, or some other reason—and you might be blocking off a person who could bring a lot to the company.

*Image by Fayez 

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