Shredded paper, indicating a failed recruitment plan

The 6 reasons why your recruitment plan isn’t working

“Why am I not receiving any CVs?”

“Why are candidates dropping out of the process?”

“Why did the candidate reject our offer?”

If you have pondered any of these questions recently and find yourself back in the position of having zero candidates for a still un-filled vacancy, you are probably starting to hate recruitment consultants.  Well, you’ve come to the right place… LinkedIn flipping hates us as well.

But before you unleash an angry rant on your good-for-nothing buffoon of a recruitment partner, it might be worth taking a look at your recruitment process.  We recruiters are not perfect, but many of us do a tough job to a high level, and weirdly, we actually want to impress our clients, so that we can continue or business relationship.  If we do a bad job, we almost certainly won’t work with them again.

We are not just recruiters, we are consultants – we know about pitfalls and we can tell if our clients are making the same mistakes time and time again.  There may be occasions when we have to gently nudge them in the right direction.

Below are the 6 mistakes you just might be making.  If you genuinely aren’t making any of these mistakes, and your recruitment partner is just an idiot, then feel free to unleash your wrath in the comments section below.  But if they make you squirm a little (the points below, not your recruitment partner), then the good news is that you can easily fix your broken recruitment process.

The 6 recruitment mistakes

1 – You are too slow.

The agency sent you a CV.  Did you look at it?  If you had questions about it, did you call them?  Or did you sit on the CV for days, even weeks, and ignore the recruiter’s attempts to get in touch?  If so, why are you expecting them to send you more CVs?!

Don’t be slow.  Any of your competitors could snap that candidate up while you’re dithering.

2 – You are using too many agencies.

Working in competition is common in our industry, but the more agencies that we are competing against, the more soul-destroying it is to endlessly call candidates that have already been put forward for your role.  Sure, recruitment agencies ought to try and think of new, creative ways to find candidates, but they are more likely to do this for roles they have a better chance of filling.  Remember also that the name of your business can become devalued in the marketplace when candidates are receiving calls from multiple agencies about your roles.

3 – You underestimate your competition.

It’s nice to be fiercely proud of the business you have built, and to have a good reputation in the marketplace.  But that doesn’t automatically mean everyone wants to come and work for you and only you.  Whether you rate your competitors or not, if their recruitment process shows them in a better light than yours, you will miss out on the best candidates.  And it’s worth referring back to point 1 as well – don’t dither, because your competitors won’t.

4 – The offer you made was, well, a bit crap.

You know what the candidate is currently earning, and what they are looking to earn, which might be the same, or slightly more.  So, what do you do?  Yep – you offer them less!  Brilliant.  No doubt you have reasons for this – they are lacking a skill that is terribly important, you don’t want to upset the balance in your team, erm, you’re just cheap, or whatever.  Then you call the recruiter and say something like ‘well, it’s not all about the money, is it?’  Because as per point 3, you assume that it is their dream to come and work for you.  For less money than they earn now.

But the important thing here is, once your crap offer is out there, you can’t take it back.  So even if your intention is to negotiate with the candidate, what they will remember from the negotiation is that the first thing you did was give them a crap offer, and they won’t forget that that’s how much you thought they were worth.  I wonder what offer your competitors made?

5 – Your recruitment process sucks.

Of course, the interview process shouldn’t be a walk in the park.  But nor should it be a ten-mile assault course during a thunderstorm.  Four interviews is too many.  To be honest, three interviews is too many, because it takes too long and you will lose candidates.  Streamline your process and make it more efficient.  Don’t put everything on hold just because Bill from Purchasing is only in the office once a month and it’s essential that he is involved in the interview process.  If it’s that important, get him on the flipping phone or arrange a Skype call.

When your process drags on and on, the message you are sending to the candidate that wants to come and work for you is, ‘we can’t decide whether you are good enough for us’.

Get some experienced interviewers involved.  Remember also that many people are good at interviews but not necessarily good employees – be prepared to use psychometric testing to find out what’s behind their interview persona and gain extra insight into their behaviour, motivation and intelligence.  All of these things take a matter of minutes for the candidate to complete and can be used in conjunction with a well-structured interview to find out all you need to know.

6 – You didn’t listen when the agency told you all of the above.

When the candidate dropped out, and you asked the agency ‘how can we make sure this doesn’t happen again?’, what you really meant was ‘how can YOU make sure this doesn’t happen to ME again?’ even though they repeatedly chased you for feedback on the CV, suggested you schedule the interview sooner rather than later, questioned why Bill from Purchasing needed to be involved in the 2nd interview when he is away on safari for the next 6 weeks, and expressed concern when you came up with an offer for the candidate that you ‘really want to join the team’ that is likely to insult them.

They tried to tell you, but it wasn’t what you wanted to hear.  Maybe you got angry.  Maybe you felt they had overstepped the mark.  Maybe first thing tomorrow you are going to get half a dozen more agencies on the case, and prove there is nothing wrong with your recruitment process.

But if any of the points above have made you cringe slightly, because they sound familiar, then the problem is not your recruiter – it’s you.  And it isn’t going to go away, although your vacancies are going to remain unfilled.

It is easy to fix though…

Stop being slow.  Stop using lots of agencies.  Stop underestimating your competition. Don’t make crap offers.  Improve your process.  Listen to your recruitment partner.