The 7 Most Annoying Habits of Recruiters

by Brenda Berg
Hiring Talent, Recruitment, Talent Professionals - 3 years ago

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Brenda Berg – Managing Director, Corporate Strategy & Business Development at AeroBase Group Inc. Her opinions are her own.

As a recruiter, your job is to encourage the right candidates to apply for the job you’re recruiting for. Thanks to the current job market though, I would guess that you’re getting more and more applications every day. There are plenty of ways to whittle down the applications to find the best candidate, but some of them are just plain annoying (to your candidates!).

For example I know many recruiters who will disregard any applications containing spelling mistakes. Whilst this makes sense on one level (if you’re looking for someone with attention to detail), it means that you could be rejecting the perfect candidate just because their spell check didn’t pick up on a mistake they made.

You want to find the best candidate, right? Well here’s how you can … without really irritating them!

1. Wasting a candidate’s time

Many candidates go through the initial application process and come in for an interview, only to discover that the job isn’t right for them at all. Sometimes this is because recruiters haven’t been specific enough in what they are looking for in a candidate, or got it wrong completely. Avoid this by being really specific in what you want. Other recruiters will bring candidates in to meet a metric or KPI they have to match around the number of candidates they interview. Make sure you’re reading resumés properly too, to make sure you don’t end up interviewing someone who isn’t right at all for the job.

2. Asking irrelevant questions

There was a trend a few years ago to ask candidates left of field questions that didn’t seem to have any relevance to the job. “This was done because recruiters thought they’d get a better measure of a person this way”, says Australian Help writer Peter Tang. “Instead, all it did was bewilder candidates and put them off working for you.” Leave this crazy trend in the past and ask questions that will help you with your assessment of the candidate sitting in front of you.

3. Stalking candidates at work

There are recruiters out there who expect candidates to pick up the phone at work, dropping everything else they’re doing. However, that’s just not always possible. Unfortunately many perfect candidates have been disregarded because they didn’t answer their phone during work hours. However, do you really want an employee who’s happy to take personal calls during work hours? Instead, try calling during lunch, early morning, or early evening.

4. Not following up with candidates

It’s incredibly frustrating for a candidate who gets through to interview, comes in, and then never hears from you again. Besides, if they didn’t get through, then they have every right to know why. Was it their interview style, or were they just not a good fit for the company? It’s time consuming, but a company will garner a lot of goodwill by just getting in touch with every candidate after their interview.

5. Having a lengthy application process

Application forms are frustrating at the best of times. However, if you must use them, try to make them user friendly. What candidate hasn’t been put off by being given a form that is difficult to use, rearranges itself when you hit ‘enter’, or just asks for all the same information contained in their resumé? If you do need a form, Ella Daniels from CV service has this to say: “Make sure you’re asking questions that couldn’t be answered by a quick look at their CV”.

6. Withholding company details

There are plenty of job listings that don’t list the name of the employer. That’s ok if it’s a ‘confidential’ style job, but let’s face it, not all of them are. Many candidates won’t apply if they can’t do their research before applying, which can be a difficult choice for external recruitment consultants. How can the candidates know what the company is like if they can’t look them up? Identify the company in the listing to get more applicants.

7. Lying to potential candidates

Have you ever had a job where the role didn’t turn out like you expected? That could be because it wasn’t advertised properly in the original description. Who hasn’t seen a job description that says ‘there are multiple opportunities for progression’ or states that ‘duties may vary’? Just be upfront with your candidates, and they’ll go into the job with their eyes wide open. Plus, it means that you won’t lose an employee six months down the line as they found the job wasn’t what they thought it was.

Knowing some of the habits that annoy potential candidates, you can take steps to change these habits and draw in the best of the best. Good luck finding the perfect candidate!