Episode 18 – Hiring Mistakes That Employers Should Avoid at All Costs

Abby: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about hiring mistakes that employers should avoid at all costs. Hello, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, I’m glad to be here today.

Abby: Stacy, you have more than 20 years of experience as a recruiter. As we’ve talked about before, you’ve seen just about everything in the marketplace related to hiring and employment.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. I’ve seen candidates and hiring authorities do things the right way, and unfortunately, I’ve seen them do things the wrong way, too. I know what works and what doesn’t work.

Abby: Today, we’re going to talk about what doesn’t work from the employer perspective, specifically what doesn’t work when it comes to hiring. Is that right?

Stacy: That’s correct. The quality of the candidates that an organization hires is in direct correlation to the quality of its hiring process. The greater the quality of the process, the greater the quality of the hires.

The hiring practices of some companies dilute the quality of their process. And when you dilute the quality of your process, you have more difficulty attracting and hiring top talent.

Abby: So what are some of these hiring mistakes?

Stacy: Well, I’m going to go through them one at a time and discuss each one as much as I can. This is important because you can only stop making these mistakes once you’ve identified what they are. The problem is that many organizations are doing things wrong and making mistakes and they don’t even realize what they’re doing. Then they don’t get the results they want and they wonder why that is.

The hiring process starts with the job description, so our first hiring mistake starts there, too. That mistake is writing a job description that is either inaccurate, uninspiring, or both. As far as the accuracy is concerned, that’s pretty much self-explanatory, but the job

description must also have “sizzle.” In other words, is the job description exciting? If not, then why would somebody want the job? You can’t just expect that the right candidate is going to want the job just because it’s a job. They don’t want just a job. They want an exciting opportunity.

Abby: So employers should write the job description in a way that caters to the type of candidates they want to attract?

Stacy: That’s right, and that brings us to our second hiring mistake. That mistake is treating all candidates exactly the same, something we’ve touched upon before. The fact of the matter is that some candidates are better than others, so why would you treat them all the same? If you want to hire an A-level candidate, then do the things you need to do to attract an A-level candidate.

Abby: What’s the next hiring mistake?

Stacy: The next two mistakes have to do with the interview process. The first of these two is not making sure that those conducting interviews are representing the organization properly. First, these people should be knowledgeable about all aspects of the position and its duties. Second, they should know how to conduct an interview, including which questions to ask and how to handle questions from the candidate. Once again, these people are representing the company, so that means they’re also branding the company. Employer branding is a huge factor in hiring these days.

The second of these two mistakes regarding the interview process is making sure that it doesn’t drag out too long. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways to drag out the process. They include disorganization, a lack of communication, and indecision. The longer the process drags out, the less likely that top candidates will be to stay in the process until the very end.

As part of our annual employment survey last year, we asked candidates about the longest amount of time they’d spend in an organization’s hiring process before bowing out. A little over 13% indicated that they’d spend three weeks in the process, while another 15.7% said they would spend four weeks. That’s nearly 29% of candidates who would drop out of a hiring process in four weeks, tops.

Abby: Don’t employers sometimes get caught in the trap of trying to find the “perfect candidate” and that slows them down?

Stacy: That is absolutely right, and holding out for the “perfect candidate” is our next hiring mistake. It’s understandable that a company would want to hire the best candidate possible. However, there’s a danger in always “wanting to see one more candidate.” At a

certain point, hiring a great candidate is less about searching for that candidate for a long time and more about strategically attracting and engaging the right candidate.

Abby: Is there a part of the hiring process where employers should definitely try to avoid making mistakes? Is there one part that’s more important than the others?

Stacy: Well, all parts of the hiring process are important, but the offer stage carries a little more weight. That’s because it’s where the company and the candidate make their final decisions. The company decides which candidate to make an offer to, and that candidate decides whether to accept or reject that offer.

Abby: What mistakes do organizations make during the offer stage?

Stacy: They make three main ones. The first mistake is to low-ball the offer. Just because a candidate identifies a “minimum salary expectation” does not mean an organization should offer that minimum. Hiring top talent is not like shopping for electronics. You can’t have the “get the most value for the minimum cost” mindset. It doesn’t work that way. If a candidate is worth a certain offer, then the company should make that offer.

And basing an offer on what a candidate is currently earning or has earned in previous jobs is just another way of low-balling them. Once again, the company should make an offer that is commensurate with the value that they expect to receive from employing the candidate. If the company doesn’t believe that they’ll receive tremendous value, then why are they making the offer in the first place?

Abby: What’s the next mistake that employers make during the offer stage?
Stacy: The second mistake is underestimating the importance of benefits and other perks.

These are more important than ever. In other words, candidates consider them when evaluating a job offer. They’re part of the equation, which means an employer should make them as attractive as possible. When a company makes an offer to a candidate, it can include all of the following:

  •   Health insurance
  •   401K
  •   Flex time
  •   Paid time off
  •   Company car/expense accountSure, the candidate is looking at the base salary, but they’re also looking at these things. That’s why companies and hiring authorities should, too.

Abby: I know we’ve talked before about how top candidates are expecting to receive a good offer in terms of salary, so these other things often serve as “tiebreakers” in their decision. That’s especially the case if they’re considering multiple offers.

Stacy: That’s right. That’s also why perks and other benefits are so important.

The third mistake that companies make during the offer stage is waiting too long to make the offer. The attitude should be, “Strike while the iron is hot.” If this is a high-quality candidate, then chances are good that they’re interviewing with multiple companies. That means they could receive an offer from a competitor at any time. If an employer waits too long to make an offer, then somebody else could beat them to the punch.

What’s important to a candidate is that they feel wanted. If a company has made them feel wanted all the way through the hiring process, then that company should definitely make them feel wanted at the end of the process. If the employer drops the ball here, then one of their competitors could swoop in and snatch up the candidate.

Abby: In one of our recent podcasts, we talked about employer best practices for working with a recruiter. One of the things we discussed was that if a company is using a recruiter, then it should let that recruiter make the official offer to the candidate.

Stacy: Yes, if you’re an employer and you’re working with a recruiter, you should absolutely allow your search consultant to make the offer.

That’s what the candidate is expecting, and that’s what you should give them. Good search consultants have a higher success rate of getting the candidate to say yes than the hiring manager could have. The reason? This is what search consultants are trained to do and they do it on a regular basis.

Abby: It seems as though a lot of these mistakes are tied to the fact that it’s a candidates’ market right now. Is that the case?

Stacy: That’s correct. The type of market dictates what employers should be doing to attract and hire top candidates. In September of last year, the MRINetwork conducted an employment landscape survey and then released the results of that survey. What stood out from the results was that 86% of recruiters and 62% of employers feel that candidates are driving the labor market.

According to the MRINetwork survey, employers appear to be making two critical hiring mistakes. Those two mistakes are allowing the hiring process to drag out too long and not understanding what is most important to candidates in a new opportunity.

Abby: Those two findings fall in line with what we’ve been talking about today. Stacy: They certainly do. When organizations don’t know what is truly important to a

candidate, then they can’t offer that to them. It’s not all about starting salary.

As we discussed earlier in this podcast, employers should not underestimate the importance of benefits and other perks of the position. They should also not underestimate the importance of things like opportunities for advancement, opportunities for additional training and skills acquisition, and how their organization is viewed in the marketplace.

Since it’s a candidate’s market, the best candidates aren’t just looking for a good job. They already have a good job. They want a better job that will help them achieve what they really want, which is a great career. As an organization, if you’re not offering top talent the chance for a great career, then that might be the biggest hiring mistake of all.

Abby: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today. Stacy: Thank you, Abby. I look forward to our next podcast!