January 31, 2022

Warning Signs: 15 Problematic Recruiting Practices

You’ve heard the stories: Firing an employee by text. Laying off groups of people by Zoom. Terribly insensitive and impersonal offboarding scenarios took center stage in 2020 when the pandemic began changing the world of work forever. Recipients of these unfortunate tactics took to social media to share just how far their organizations were from the target of treating people the way they want to be treated.


These may seem glaringly obvious omissions in forethought and your organization could /would never have utilized such methods. With companies recovering and rehiring and employees reinvigorated by a clearer sense of their personal and professional priorities, it’s a new era. And companies that will grow and excel will be the ones who truly put their people first.

If your company would say that people are its greatest asset, the truth is in the proof. It shows up in your earliest interactions with the candidates. All of them either join your company and hopefully add value and or walk away with a distinct impression of how you do business and a strong opinion (that they’ll likely share) about whether or not others should do business with you.


Here are 15 practices that may be hindering your recruitment effectiveness — and possibly your reputation.

  • The job requirements keep changing.

If the job description wasn’t crafted specifically for this role, hiring managers sometimes act as if what the recruiter has is an early draft. Continuing to make modifications and adding new requirements slows down the process. Not only do recruiters waste search time, the additional meetings and admin work affect multiple stakeholders.

  • You don't (really) know what you are looking for.

Hiring managers: Remember, recruiters don’t live in your brain. Help them help you by clearly defining your non-negotiables. And be realistic. Even though you have ideals, talk through requirements and let recruiters know what’s actually flexible. Inevitably there are variables where you’d be willing to compromise. Maybe you’re looking for a software engineer with several years experience in a particular language. If someone doesn’t have that exact experience but you’d be okay if they have a different one, make sure the recruiter knows that.

  • You’re looking for "perfect" candidates and dismissing qualified candidates.

Unfortunately recruiters don’t have a Frankenstein-type lab where they can go to create perfect candidates. But sometimes hiring managers operate as if they do. Hiring managers and recruiters are partners working to accomplish the same goal. Collaborate early in the process to understand what is available, and calibrate your expectations accordingly. Be willing to have conversations with candidates who meet most of the qualifications. Chances are they have strengths in areas you haven’t considered but that might be helpful.

  • The salary range doesn’t align with the market.

To ensure you have the most qualified candidates, make sure your role offers competitive compensation. It’s critical that you are clear about what the market demands for the role. Doing salary research before launching your search saves everyone time. Sources such as payscale.com and salary.com can help.

2-Recruitment Marketing

  • Online applicants are chiefly ignored in favor of seeking passive candidates.

 With a new job description in hand, sometimes recruiters immediately skip over the applicant tracking system (ATS) and instead go right to digging on LinkedIn to find someone who they can convince to consider the role. You have a valuable resource in your ATS, with potential candidates who already know about your company and have expressed interest in working with you. It’s often unspoken biases that lead to this practice. 

A people-oriented approach — and a logical and ethical one— sets aside assumptions about career gaps and current unemployment and evaluates a candidate's actual qualifications. Give people the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to share their stories about those areas that give you pause. You’ll likely be surprised by what you learn. 

The ATS should be your first stop when recruiting for a role. In addition to looking at candidates who applied for your role, look for potential fits in candidates who have applied to similar roles in the past. 

  • You ignore diverse candidates by not expanding your candidate search.

Research shows numerous benefits to hiring differently abled employees. For starters, they tend to be more loyal. And with employees resigning in droves due to the great resignation, loyalty matters. To draw in additional qualified but differently abled candidates, expand where you post your jobs, for example on sites such as Chronically Capable. Also, look seriously at candidates who indicate they have a disability when they apply. Another tactic is to think differently in your sourcing by starting a search with a phrase such as “best companies for visually impaired.” Use that to guide your candidate search.

Though it might seem a stretch to do a job with a significant limitation, let those individuals make that decision and use the tools that enable them to do a job. People with disabilities often have unparalleled tenacity and rise to their challenges to accomplish things many of us can’t fathom. Consider Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest.   

  • Methods for assessing fit fluctuate.

When considering culture fit, usually you’re asking “Is this person like us? Do they value, act, and like the same things we do?” This can pigeonhole your team and actually hinder your success. As we learn from DEI initiatives, differences make us stronger and more well rounded. It would be better to ask “How is this person different, and how can they add to our culture?” Additionally, assessment tools such as Predictive Index offer more concrete insights. Such tools allow you to understand your team and evaluate how new people will work.

If you’re not using these, you’re missing out on tremendous insights that can help you hire better. 

  • There's a long gap between first and second interviews.

Yes, hiring managers are busy. So are recruiters and many other team members. If you’re not able to prioritize interviews for a role, wait to launch your search until you can confidently prioritize interviews and you know what you really need and want (see #1 and 2 on this list). Review the ATS daily, and move candidates through the entire process instead of waiting for multiple strong candidates to be at the same stage. Give each person the dignity of being evaluated holistically and in a timely fashion, and don’t keep someone waiting in hopes that you might find someone better. 

  • You have too much automation and not enough people.

Though we do need technology, recruiting is a people-focused activity. Don’t underestimate the influence of the written messages candidates receive. Take care to infuse humanity into these important elements. When people feel seen, heard, and respected by you, that informs their impression of your company. Through authenticity, kindness, and care for candidates, you can redeem the bad reputation that recruiters sometimes have — even when you’re declining someone for a role, laying people off, or letting someone go. You will be evaluated and remembered by many in how you handle these memorable moments.

  • Too many stakeholders slow down decision making.

Large companies with name recognition and a wealth of applicants have been known to include more than a dozen people in a candidate conversation and then hire by unanimous consensus. This is wildly inefficient and most likely unnecessary. 

The majority of hires do not need to involve two recruiters, five managers, and that many more staff members in final conversations. It makes sense that a potential hire might meet the team, but make the manager the stakeholder and let that person gather feedback from the group to help inform the final decision. Don’t give each person a direct say. Leave that to the person/people who will be directly responsible for the new hire’s success.

Candidate experience checklist

  • You don’t consider how the team will organize around the new hire.

Good managers know the professional goals of their people and help them develop to achieve those goals. As new roles come open, consider your team first. Maybe aspects of jobs need to shift to different team members to help those people grow. Taking time to evaluate how a new role affects other team members — tactically and emotionally — will pay off in employee loyalty and respect. Plus it will help you maximize your team’s talents. Without this thoughtful reflection, you might create more open roles if overlooked team members feel offended and quit.

  • You only evaluate skills without considering other gaps and team needs.

Once you’ve settled on any responsibility shifts and nailed down the requirements for the new role, you can consider the team dynamics and the type of person you need to fill the gap. Perhaps you have a lot of lone wolves and you need more of a connector to help achieve your goals? For a well-rounded hire, you should look for more than just someone who can do the job. Consider how the new hire and the team can grow together. Using tools like the Predictive Index can help you make the best hiring decision with insights beyond ability to do a job.

  • Your onboarding process is formal and focuses only on filling out forms.

What happens after someone accepts an offer with your company? In addition to the necessary paperwork, how do you engage and introduce new hires to the team and help them see the company values in action? 

You want people to feel connected and attached to your company, and after they say yes to a role is a prime opportunity to encourage affinity. Remember that loyalty thing? The recruitment process up until day one lays the foundation. Then how you handle the first 90 days speaks volumes too. The interactions in the early days confirm positive sentiments and affirms a decision to join, or it exposes your inconsistencies and plants questions and seeds of doubt about the career move.

  • You don’t analyze why ghosting occurs.

What’s your rate for no-shows to interviews or people not showing up for their first day? Hopefully this rarely occurs; but if it does, you should always dive deep to figure out the cause. There could be a miss early in the recruiting process that makes people feel entitled to act this way. If candidates haven’t felt valued and communication has been sparse, it can be easy for them to match a level of indifference when something is expected but they have something more compelling to pursue.

  • You don’t communicate with rejected candidates.

What happens to your silver medalist candidates? Do you keep track of these individuals and have a strategy for flagging them in your ATS and staying connected to them? Maybe they didn’t sell their skills as well as the person you hired, but if they were strong enough to be your number two choice, they’re likely a fit for a future role. Remain close to these people. With a pool of vetted candidates who know and like your company, you could save the hiring team a lot of time down the road. 

Contact Us

Did you resonate with any of these poor recruitment practices? If you’d like a partner to help you avoid bad recruitment practices and optimize your methods and processes around attracting, hiring and recruiting talent,  let’s talk. Click here to start the conversation.


  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.


Why I'm Closing Proactive Talent: A Letter from CEO and Founder, Will Staney

Why I'm Closing Proactive Talent: A Letter from CEO and Founder, Will Staney

How To Build an Efficient Tech-Enabled Talent Delivery Model

How To Build an Efficient Tech-Enabled Talent Delivery Model

Want to work with us?

Contact Us