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Avoiding Critical Hiring Mistakes

Every employer wants to bring in the very best talent; yet, no employer is spared from the possibility of making a hiring mistake.

LinkedIn’s head of recruiting, Brendan Browne, identified two recurring mistakes that hiring managers make that any supervisor or manager can apply to their hiring decision.

Setting unrealistic expectations.

Part of a recruiter’s job is to educate hiring managers on the status of the talent pool available. Browne explains that it is important to eliminate the idea of a “purple squirrel” candidate who fulfills every sought after trait out there.

You can spend hours focusing on putting together an ideal candidate, form a task force, and hold meetings to discuss every quality you need. A hiring manager or recruiter will certainly be able to identify a handful of candidates who meet all of your criteria. But with a smaller hand of candidates to choose from, pursuing each candidate according and going through the ropes of negotiations (if they fit your bill that perfectly, they are probably being courted by someone else right?) will require a lot of time and resources.

Drop the idea of forming a perfect candidate, and instead, identify your needs and skills and communicate those needs and skills to your hiring manager or recruiter. Take the time to learn about the talent out there.

Personalize your interactions with potential candidates.

The standard pitch a candidate hears is this:

Hello Candidate, it’s Hiring Manager! I recruit from Firm/Company. We’re amazing. We have talented and smart people, great office space, and value each member of our team.

Similarly, most candidates stumble onto the “what sets us apart” and “why us” section of a webpage hoping to actually see something different, only to read the same thing that is posted on a myriad of other firm pages.

That is why it is imperative to personalize interactions with potential candidates, whether written or in-person.

During the interview, the employer is trying to impress the candidate just as the candidate is trying to impress the employer. Most employers assume that candidates really want to join their team and take for granted the need to make the case that the team is a desirable one to join. In these instances, they simply go through a list of questions, collect their responses, and leave the candidate feel like a cog being inspected for defects.

Taking the time to personalize interactions with a candidate — whether a phone call, email, in person meeting, or any other form of correspondence — can greatly improve the favorability a candidate feels to you. This can be as simple as a quick sentence (following up on something that the candidate brought up like “I hope you enjoy your barbecue this weekend,” for example).

Outreach from someone a candidate connected with works particularly well. Maybe the candidate graduated from the same school as one of your current team members, or established particularly great rapport with a specific team member. Ask that personal connection to reach out and convey the message:

“You would be great here because…”

It is the employer who makes the hiring decision at the end of the day, and the candidate who decides whether to accept the offer. Working with a recruiter can greatly streamline this process for both parties, but keeping these two tips in mind can tilt the odds in your favor.

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