The headlines are everywhere, you know it already — it’s a pretty tough market for top talent. And in a tight market, the margin for error is pretty slim. Eradicating mistakes by your hiring managers can make a dramatic impact on your results and your talent ROI. 

We speak with hiring managers and HR departments across the country every day, and regardless of industry or location, there are some critical mistakes that are holding back many hiring managers. 

Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:

1. Not treating candidates as if they were customers.

This is the #1 mistake we’re seeing hiring managers make today. Talent today knows they’re in demand, especially those with highly coveted skill sets. To earn their attention, let alone their allegiance and acceptance of your job offers, they need to be “sold.”

To that end, that means that recruiting is a lot like marketing. Although this may seem like a new trend, the two have always been connected. To most effectively attract truly exceptional talent, you need to put your best foot forward and encourage a “conversion” (in this case, the desired candidate accepting your offer!). 

From writing your job postings to the entire candidate experience and ultimately, your job offer, it’s important for hiring managers to think like marketers. If you’re struggling with this, speak to your marketing department and ask them for advice! If you partner with a staffing firm, your account manager can also help you with this element. 

2. Taking too long.

This one comes back to candidate experience as well. One of the top frustrations among talent today is drawn-out hiring processes. To start, many candidates today are currently employed. Taking off work for multiple interviews, only to wait without a word, is extremely frustrating. 

Plus, while your process stalls, it’s increasingly likely that your preferred candidate has received (and accepted) another offer. That means spending the time and resources to potentially start the entire process over again. This can damage morale and productivity, at a minimum. 

Take a look at your hiring process and see where delays often occur. See how you can mitigate those delays and make changes ASAP. And if you do hit an unexpected delay, be sure to communicate with candidates throughout so they are in the loop and continuously engaged, even if your process has hit a snag.

3. Putting too many resources toward hiring. 

To build on a point made in the previous section, hiring processes are often drawn out because too many resources are involved. When you have to coordinate schedules and gather input from 5 or even 10 individuals, it can be a major drag on your hiring process and candidate satisfaction. 

Plus, every additional person, meeting or task that is involved in hiring takes those resources away from mission-critical tasks for your organization. Be very clear on who MUST be involved in the hiring process, and eliminate excess wherever possible. This is where a recruiting partner can make a tremendous difference. By eliminating many of the time- and resource-consuming elements of sourcing and hiring, we empower your team to continue focusing on their most important tasks. 

4. Looking for a “purple squirrel.” 

Ah, the coveted purple squirrel. Exactly the “right” combination of education, experience, skills — everything. This is THE candidate you are looking for, your one in a million.

Except, just like a purple squirrel, this candidate is pretty near impossible to find. 

This is especially true in this uber-competitive market for talent. I mean, the likelihood of finding a purple squirrel is low enough. But to find that person, and have him or her looking for work, and have him want your job and no other.

It’s asking a lot.

Yet, many hiring managers still insist on holding out until they find that purple squirrel. Maybe it’s an edict from leadership, or maybe it’s their own desire for perfection. But either way, it’s holding you back.

It’s keeping you from highly qualified candidates that may have skills, traits, and experience that isn’t what you considered “purple” enough, yet is exactly what your team needs to thrive and succeed. 

Sometimes, having a myopic view of what and who you need can hurt your results. Working with an outside partner who both understands your business and industry and brings a unique perspective plus recruiting expertise, can help mitigate the risks of insisting on a purple squirrel. 

5. Dealing in absolutes. 

To the purple squirrel thought, sometimes hiring managers get stuck by dealing in absolutes. Maybe someone doesn’t have to match everything and be that purple squirrel, but they must be A, B, and C. 

Maybe your idea of a culture fit means certain traits, and you don’t want to budge on those specific traits. Or perhaps they must have a specific number of years’ experience.

But, there are a few hiccups with that plan.

First, a nervous candidate spending an hour or less talking to you may not be able to accurately convey his or her personality. Maybe that person does fit your culture goals, but you won’t know it because you have a limited amount of time before making a decision. If that candidate checks the box in every other way, would you be willing to miss out on a potentially amazing team member? Some hiring managers, unfortunately, do miss out for this very reason!

If a candidate has 18 months of experience in a specific specialty instead of 2 years, it could make a major impact in certain roles. But chances are, that experience can be made up with the right personality and desire to learn, the propensity to ask thoughtful questions, and more. A future leader could end up with your competition because you stuck too closely to a mandate of 2 years. 

That’s not to say you should compromise your requirements all the time. But, when you avoid absolutes, you open up the potential to meet with incredible candidates who could very well be your next superstars. 

Looking for a partner who helps you find the best talent?

Hiring managers are taxed today. It’s a tough market, and you have so much on your plate. Here at Matlen Silver, we help alleviate stress and find exceptional talent that is ready and excited to join your team. Check out our website to learn more about how we can help you maximize your talent investment