10 Common Recruitment and Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

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When recruiting to fill a position at your company, there are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration such as requirements, hiring process, expectations, and more. With all these factors at play, it is common for hiring companies to lose sight of the end goal and get caught up in some of these hiring mistakes.

As a recruitment firm that works with many different companies, we’ve seen all sorts of hiring processes and we can get direct feedback from candidates as they navigate the stages. We’ve compiled a list of 10 recruitment mistakes to avoid when searching for your next hire.

1. Ignoring Skills-Based Recruiting

In LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report for May of 2023, their studies have shown that leaning on a skills-first based hiring approach leads to a 60% more likely chance of a successful hire.

Up until recent times, people mainly got hired based on their degree and prior industry/work experience. While these are still important factors and can be taken into consideration, they should not be the only consideration. There may be an entire pool of talent you are missing by only looking at a specific industry and not focusing on the actual skills that a candidate can bring to your organization.

Putting a larger weight on both hard and soft skills can lead to better recruitment outcomes and is the way of the future in recruitment and hiring.

2. Not Putting a Focus on Employer Branding

Employer branding is an extremely critical component of attracting top talent and hiring, especially in today’s increasingly digital world. Your employer brand consists of how you are viewed as an employer and what is unique and exciting about working at your company. Essentially, the brand is all the positive attributes that make you a great employer to work for.

Specifically, employer branding helps to increase applications, more acceptances, and faster recruiting processes.

3. Unclear Expectations

Not having clear expectations for the job that you are hiring for is a huge turnoff for potential candidates. Both the recruiter and the hiring manager need to be on the same page about expectations for the search such as the requirements, which requirements are must haves, and which can be flexible. Additionally, the day-to-day and long-term goals for the position should be determined before you start even looking for candidates.

4. Getting Stuck on a Purple Unicorn

For those of you not familiar with the term, a purple unicorn is defined as “a candidate profile that possesses the skills and experiences that are believed to be so rare, they are almost mythical.”

These skills and experiences can be a combination of location, job flexibility, skillset, educational background, industry experience, and so on.

This point piggybacks on making sure clear expectations are set. Determine which of these needs are absolute ‘must haves’, which points have flexibility, and make sure everyone is in agreement. If not, you’ll be searching for that unicorn for a long time.

5. Long Interview Processes

Having too many steps in an interview process is a huge turnoff. Companies should be respectful of the fact many job seekers are currently employed elsewhere and most likely will have to take time off to interview for another job. While it is true, candidates also need to exhibit some flexibility for a job they really want, it is unrealistic to expect someone to take off too many days throughout the interview process.

If you can consolidate steps and have a panel interview where the candidate can meet with several team members at once, this keeps the process moving and the candidate experience positive.

6. Lack of Communication

Keeping in touch with the candidates within the hiring process is very important for a positive candidate experience. Most people are very understanding if there is a gap in time between interviews (not to say they won’t take another job in the meantime, but that is a separate issue). If members of the hiring team are on vacation or the company puts the role on hold for whatever reason, a simple email to update candidates in process goes a long way. If a candidate doesn’t hear anything from the hiring company for a month or two, and then they pop back up requesting an interview, it will be a turnoff.

If you are working with a recruiter, keep them updated too. It’s easier for recruiters to keep candidates engaged if they have information and updates!

7. Ghosting Candidates

Ghosting candidates refers to when a person is in the interviewing process for a job and then they never hear from the hiring company again. Most candidates are understanding if the company went with another person or decided to close the search. However, if they never hear from the company again, they will be less likely to apply for any other jobs with that company in the future. Keeping strong lines of communication is good for the interview process and for employer branding in general.

8. Overselling a Job

Be clear and honest about the job responsibilities and goals during the interview process. While you are interviewing the candidate, the candidate is also interviewing you. It does no one any good to only highlight the greatest parts of the job and not acknowledge the challenges. If both the employer and incoming employee are not on the same page about the responsibilities and goals, it won’t be long before they are looking for a new job elsewhere.

9. Only Relying on External Hires

Hiring internally can have some major benefits including lower cost, quicker onboarding, having firsthand knowledge of an employee’s skills and abilities, and already knowing that the employee is a good cultural fit, to name a few.

In fact, employees tend to stay 41% longer at companies that have higher internal hiring rates, thus helping with retention and employer branding. In turn, when you do need to look externally, it is a great selling point to candidates that internal hiring and promoting is a priority.

10. Not Building a Pipeline

Whether you have current employment needs or not, it is critical to always be building a pipeline. Having a talented pool of potential candidates makes hiring easier when the need arises.

You can build a pipeline by increasing employer branding and having a good marketing strategy to stay top of mind with job seekers. Alternatively, you can partner with a recruitment firm that specializes in your areas of need. Either way, keeping top talent at your fingertips can take the pain out of the hiring process for all parties.


We hope you can avoid these recruitment and hiring mistakes when looking for your next employee. If you need help finding that perfect fit, reach out to us and we can help!