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Some of these recruitment mistakes could cost you

According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker, there were 194,000 new job adverts posted in the week of 12-18 July, which gives a total of 1.57 million active job postings in the UK last week. The number of job adverts in the UK has remained high and stable since early June, as employers sought to bring on new staff. IT & Computing led a broad-based expansion for permanent staff closely followed by the Engineering sector.

As the employment market bounce continues at pace, post-COVID, ever more pressure is applied to identifying, recruiting, and retaining the most suitable talent. Research from the REC estimated that the overall cost of a bad hire to a business can be 3.5 times their annual salary – which means any business cannot afford to recruit the wrong people.

A similar study in the USA, involving more than 5,000 hiring managers who had collectively hired more than 20,000 employees during the three years, found as many as 46 per cent of new hires could fail in their first 18 months.

Apart from the substantial monetary cost, a potential poor hire can affect team morale and lead to low productivity. This may also have a detrimental effect on an employer’s brand reputation as ex-employees are likely to interact with potential customers and future employees.

Most businesses put time and money into developing a recruitment strategy, but many still make mistakes with common failures of the process including:

  • Poor job specifications/briefs with insufficient detail aligned to a cultural fit
  • Lack of diversity – repeatedly hunting for candidates in similar areas
  • Lack of clarity and rigour in the interview process
  • Poor induction and employee onboarding

Here's how to troubleshoot some of these common recruitment mistakes.

1. Not updating the recruitment methods and techniques

Being a dinosaur. Many recruitment tactics that were commonplace not that long ago are often obsolete in the current high-tech recruitment market. Two of the biggest ones are: expecting to undertake a lot of in-person interviews rather than maximising the potential of virtual interviews, and prioritising hiring externally rather than developing and training talent from within.

2. Not identifying your target audience

Recruiting is marketing – and the first step of a marketing campaign is understanding the target audience. Think about the skills, experience, and traits your ideal candidate would have, and then design all the messages in your candidate search to appeal to that person.

Ask people internally in the department that is hiring and across the business, not only establishing clear skills requirements, but also the cultural fit so the person will work well with the existing team and companywide.

3. Having a painful application process

In today’s candidate driven market, individuals choose their future employer as much as the company chooses them. Hiring has very much become a two-way street where the recruitment process is not only meant to identify top tech talent, but also to showcase and sell an engineering business to potential new hires.

While a positive candidate experience can help to improve connection, engagement and ensure a positive impression, a negative experience can lead to high drop-off rates and a damaged brand, shrinking the potential candidate pool even further.

If you are getting a lot of people starting the recruitment process but not completing the application process, not finishing a technical test, declining offers of interview, or contacting you because they are confused about the hiring portal, those are all red flags that require thought and possible process change.

Improving the candidate experience means creating a process that ‘delivers’ – either via simplicity, speed, or an open and transparent approach thus ensuring it fits your candidate’s needs.

4. Review your employer brand

An employer brand is a combination of the company’s reputation and the values that are offered to potential employees, such as the culture, projects, advancement opportunities, and much more. Today’s talent savvy employees make decisions on whether they want to work for a specific employer or not. For this reason, an employer brand is greatly influenced by current staff, employee referrals, word of mouth, and any existing vendor and customer relationships. All of them potentially talk about an employer’s brand in one form or another.

A business that successfully manages to sell its value proposition is more likely to attract the right mix of quality high-tech talent and increase the likelihood of making good hiring decisions. 

Make sure that every stage of the process is aligned to the desired proposition and closely reflects a company’s identity, values, and culture – from appealing recruitment campaigns, engaging social media presence and regularly updated website to an aligned interview process.

5. Only using one candidate outreach method

With the “War for talent,” an employer should consider using an array of the most effective forms of candidate outreach techniques. Recontact historical candidate applications, identify a knowledgeable recruitment partner, consider advertising on job boards, publicise on LinkedIn and other social media, have an effective employee referral scheme, use all of it. Make all your messages personal and friendly, but short and to the point.

6. Follow-up failure

Not following up, or not following up well, could cost you. Candidates may not respond the first time you reach out because they assume you're casting a wide net. Following up shows that you are serious about talking to them specifically and getting them into the interview process.

Wait a few days so they don't feel hounded, then send a second message. If they don't respond to the second message, wait a few more days, let them know you are still open for them to reach out when they are ready, and leave it there.

7. Poor Interview process

Still, many employers do not have a well thought through interview process. Without a standard interview process, hiring issues like inconsistent screening, unconscious bias and unclear candidate persona quickly arise, resulting in unsubstantiated and ad hoc hiring decisions.

Whether you’re using a Competency Based Interview, or other techniques make sure you take the time to develop a standardised interview process and provide all people involved with the right guidance and tools to effectively screen and assess candidates.

Start with defining the different stages of the interview process and how they should be executed. Which steps need to be covered and who needs to be involved at each step? Have a clear candidate profile and identify both the critical and non-critical requirements.

Write scripts or questions to ensure structured interviews at every stage. Having a good interview process not only allows for more effective screening, but will also increase process efficiency, saving valuable time and costs throughout the hiring cycle.

8. Create an inclusive, welcoming culture

Employee onboarding can make all the difference when it comes to retaining talent. Nobody enjoys a cutthroat culture - you need your team to be as welcoming and supportive as possible to help new hires settle in and get up to speed quickly.

Having a healthy company culture also reduces employee turnover rate, reducing cost per hire. An inclusive culture helps new employees to overcome hurdles in their training and progress more easily with the support of their colleagues.

Think of how the social aspect helps new employees to get familiar with the company culture and work ethics. Do you provide any team-building and coaching initiatives? Onboarding should be approached as a full program, not just as a one-week introduction, and should involve all the important aspects of making an employee successful.

If you are seeking a different approach which enables high-technology companies to build world-class teams through knowledge-led talent acquisition, then please contact Redline Group on 01582 450054 or email


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