What can you learn from an unsuccessful recruitment campaign?

Posted on December 19, 2018 by PaulHickey | Recruitment

What happens when a company is growing and alerts the head of Human Resources that a few new employees need to be hired? After advertising the new positions, the human resource manager starts to get a steady trickle of resumes coming in. But it quickly becomes apparent that only a small fraction of these candidates have the desired skills and qualifications. How could the HR manager have missed the mark with such disappointing results?

Learning from our mistakes in recruitment

What went wrong with this recruitment effort? The HR manager used the same tried and true method of posting the job opportunity online and then waiting for the right candidates to show interest. Sometimes that's all it takes and a search works perfectly with great candidates showing up. But even when it doesn't, don't despair. There are still lessons to be learned from less successful campaigns that can help better position you for the future.

  • Recruitment is about relationships. Keep the changing times in mind. The old-school ways of recruiting employees just aren’t that effective anymore. With such low numbers of unemployment combined with major skill gaps in the market, HR has to work harder to source and foster relationships with potential candidates.
  • Projects or teams will always require special skills. Step one of any recruitment effort should be to fully understand the role needing to be filled and the skill set required to excel within it. Sometimes, an external search isn't necessary. There may be internal candidates who are ready to step into the open position and be promoted. Then your HR team can focus on training and upskilling, rather than recruiting. Know your staff and your goals before you start looking for candidates.

Key takeaways from a poor recruitment campaign

Every recruitment campaign (even a negative one) can teach us something. It can teach recruiters how to be more strategic when sourcing candidates. It can demonstrate the importance of using more of the available tools out there to pre-screen people and process applications. It can also open up new and better opportunities for networking and building candidate pipelines.

Having a plan and timeline for every type of recruitment scenario is something that recruitment teams can work together to determine. In this way, the team can make best use of resources. In the above recruitment situation, the team could have tapped into pre-screened candidates with the desired skill sets and then invited these individuals to group interviews. Another option could have been to use existing connections with staffing agencies to obtain suitable candidates. Both if these methods could speed up time to hire to meet the company's needs.

Common areas that companies stumble in a candidate search

Most organizations can attest to making at least a few mistakes when conducting candidate searches. Here’s a rundown of the most common to avoid.

Not engaging enough with candidates

It’s one thing to source candidates; it’s another to engage them. The recruiter that is effective in reaching out to candidates can easily forget to keep candidates interested in the possibility of working for the organization. Candidate follow-ups are vital. Recruiters can lean on automation tools, but there is no substitute for a personal phone call or note to promising candidates. Remember, if a candidate disconnects from your company’s process, they are open to accepting other company offers.

Pro-Tip: Every candidate matters, even the ones you don't hire, and here's why

Poor job interview process

Recruiters often use interviews as a quick way to verify information and get a feel for a candidate before moving to the next phase. This is often disorganized and makes candidates feel like they are being grilled. Recruiters need to remember that candidates are shopping around and if they have a bad interview experience they won’t return.

Misaligned corporate brand

An unclear or negative brand value proposition can turn candidates off quickly. According to the 2018 MRINetwork Reputation Management study, out of 400 candidates interviewed, 69 percent said that the strength of an employer’s brand is an important factor when deciding to accept or reject a formal job offer. Recruiters can easily forget to promote the positives of the corporate brand, or worse yet, they try to make the corporate brand and culture out to be something it’s not. Candidates will pick up on this easily by reading online reviews left by current and past employees. Keep things consistent and authentic.

How can companies position themselves so as not to make the same mistake twice?

No one is perfect when it comes to recruiting. However, a company can take steps to position things so as not to repeat these mistakes.

  • Understand the requirements of every position. Update and review the job descriptions and requirements of each job type at least once a year. This will ensure that all recruiters are laser-focused on what they are looking for in candidates.
  • Use relationship building to create a wide network of talent. Keep in contact with your best talent, even if they are not ready to find a new job now. The future is uncertain and these are also the people who know others who may have the skills needed.
  • Keep things consistent and continuous. Recruitment doesn't happen in short bursts of effort. Instead it needs to be ongoing and follow a clear process. This improves results and eliminates anyone from going into panic mode when a large number of candidates are needed.
  • Take advantage of candidate screening tools. The recruitment technology is meant to support recruiters as they seek the best candidates. Use pre-screening tools and resume analysis to keep the best candidates at the top of the list when needed.

When it comes to recruitment, there are always lessons to be learned. So if you've found yourself making a few of these recruiting missteps, don't worry. By using some of these tips and tricks, hopefully you can avoid conducting a failed recruitment campaign in the future. And not only that, you can make sure you're positioned to find the best candidates when you do need to hire.