Mistakes to avoid in candidate management and engagement

When recruiting, we want to see candidates who are qualified and experienced. We also expect them to know about (or research) the organisation, address specific selection criteria and generally do everything they can to stand out. This effort should be reciprocated, but it rarely is. Talent attraction and recruitment is a two way street. A negative candidate experience can damage your employer brand and result in a shallow talent pool. Here are some common mistakes that are easily avoided with some planning.

Changing your mind

Sometimes operational needs can change or evolve quickly. But you should be committed to a recruitment project before sourcing candidates. Assess your needs, scope the role and invite expressions of interest when you're confident a placement will be made. Changing the scope, timeline or intent of your listing makes you look disorganised and will make serious candidates think twice about joining your organisation, now or in the future. If you're testing the market, make to clear that you are doing so.

Not acknowledging applications

This one seems so simple. But an alarming number of companies still fail to acknowledge applications. Applicant tracking software is abundant and cost effective, so there is no excuse for this mistake. Candidates want to be sure that the application they put so much effort into has at least been received.

Not keeping candidates up to date

Most applicant trackers (worth the investment) allow for automated communication, triggered at different points as you transition applications through different stages. Create different templates for different reasons. If the application fails to address specific criteria, compose automated responses that say so. Don't be afraid of providing specific feedback. As long as it is objective, considered and free of bias, it isn't a risk. Quite the opposite - it's valuable to the candidate and demonstrates that you are truly engaged. If an application is progressing to the next stage, make sure you have automated communication that keeps the candidate updated. Email is over. Most candidates would be happy to receive an SMS update. It's perceived as quicker, more personal, and engaging. But don't slide into anyone's DM's...we are not there yet.

Thinking that money isn't important

It just is. Sure, there are many other factors that make you attractive to a candidate, but if the dollars aren't right in your offer, you risk losing your preferred choice, and wasting your investment in the recruitment process. If a candidate joins for less money than they are worth, or could get elsewhere, they won't be with you for long.

Assuming too much from the resume

On paper, a candidate may look over-qualified, and its easy to move on to the next. This can be a costly mistake. The perfect candidate could be hiding amongst perfectly polished and puffed-up resumes but every candidate is different. You never know what's going on for a candidate, where they're at in their career and what's currently motivating them. If you assume that your role isn't enough for a candidate, you may be indirectly settling for someone who isn't as good. Pick up the phone and have a quick conversation. You will get the context you need without necessarily committing to an interview.

This list isn't comprehensive...not by a long shot. There are many other pitfalls to avoid. Recruiting top talent and effectively engaging candidates can be tricky. It takes time, careful planning and a consistent approach. Tech is there to help, and so are we.

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