The 10 Scariest Mistakes In Talent Acquisition

October 26, 2021

Fall is upon us and, like clockwork, the month of October ushers in orange and crimson leaves, colorful sunsets, pumpkin-spiced scents in the air, cozy bonfires, and spooky scenes. I want to light a candle just thinking about it. 

But in the world of Human Resources, this time of year also means a plethora of job fairs, hurried preparation for open enrollment, and intensive planning for the upcoming year. 

One could agree that when starting our 2020 planning back in 2019, no one had a “global pandemic” on their list of things to prepare for. And over the last two years, this industry has seen shifts we could not have anticipated, from working at home to the Great Resignation, and many have reacted quickly, but perhaps ineffectively. 

Before you start your 2022 plans for recruitment and retention, think about these 10 scary mistakes you and your peers could be making:


1. Not understanding your audience

The other day, I talked with an individual who has been trying to hire a leadership position in the organization for the last 6 months. We jumped on a call and upon review of the title, responsibilities, and salary, there was a significant disconnect. Making changes to 1 of the 3 would realign the requisition and attract a candidate better aligned for their needs. If you have a big title, with tremendous responsibility, you are not going to attract a candidate willing to accept an entry-level salary. Take a good look at who you want and need in the role and speak to them through the title and job description and then back it up with the right salary. This brings me to the next mistake… 


2. Not sharing wages on your job posts

What is worse? Posting your wage range on a job and not being able to hire someone for the lowest possible salary OR not posting the wage range, getting many candidates, and when you get to the offer stage, none of them are willing to take the salary you are paying? Be upfront with them and with yourself. The candidates will appreciate the transparency and you will get to the right candidate faster.


3. Posting jobs where everyone else advertises

Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn. Everyone is posting there. And with over 10 million jobs currently open, how in the world do you think you are going to stand out in a sea of job jargon? Start thinking creatively about how you can reach candidates—active and passive—and what you offer that makes you different from the rest.


4. Not thinking about current employees

You could be missing a great opportunity by tapping into your current talent for the roles you are looking outside for. Your current employees already know how great the company is and they understand the nuances of the work you are doing. If you can work with leadership to identify top talent ready for the next role, why not help craft the next step in their career? You shorten the onboarding process for you and the hiring manager and start developing career growth programs in your organization. You also make your team feel valued. This is a win!


5. Cover letters

Do you demand the cover letter with each application? Come on. Be honest. Do you even read the cover letter? The cover letter was created as one more step a candidate must take to prove they want the job and are willing to do whatever it takes to even get a call back. But let’s be honest, TA and HR no longer have the upper hand. The candidates do. Take away the barriers and arbitrary requirements and start seeing your applicants increase.


6. Saying no one wants to work

People want to work. What they don’t want to do is jump through the recruitment hoops you have built only to meet a dead end in the ATS. The process is broken and until we fix it and really review the candidates who are applying as people, no one will want to work—at least not for you.


7. Not leveraging your social media

Do you have social media for your business? I sure hope so. Work together with your marketing team, who is likely managing the accounts, and create a plan for recruitment marketing. Tell employee stories, promote case studies about the awesome work you do, highlight your benefits, and share current job openings and career paths available at your organization. Other than a minor time commitment, this can be free. And you could reach the passive candidate that would never have seen your job on the usual sites we talked about already.


8. Ignoring reviews

Would you buy anything on Amazon, or anywhere really, without looking at reviews from other customers? No? Me either. So, with all the review platforms where your current and former employees can give their feedback on what it is like to work for your organization, why would you leave that to chance? Make sure you monitor or manage your Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google reviews. You will still have some reviews that you don’t love, but you will at least know what people are saying. And have an idea of what candidates already know when they walk in for their interview.


9. Email “applications”

The amount of companies that have a web page with one paragraph about the organization, a stock photo, and a request that candidates email their resume to an email address (, likely) is startling. If you take a look at trends and your Google Analytics account, (Do you have this? You should have this.) you will see more and more of your website traffic is coming from mobile. Make it easy to apply—don’t force people to get to a laptop and send a resume to your email address. You want to convert them to an applicant as soon as they are expressing interest. A short, mobile-responsive form for them to fill out is a great way to start the conversation. Again, it is about removing barriers.


10. Ghosting

The scariest thing you are doing is ghosting your candidates. Everyone who applies should be able to have some sort of response from you. Even something as simple as an automated thank you when they complete an application is a good place to start. People are investing their time and emotions into applying for jobs. Especially once you have talked with them or brought them onsite for an interview, they deserve to know where they stand. Do not just disappear. Give them respect and appreciation. If you don’t, their reviews of your organization may haunt you later. 


Don’t scare away your next hire.

Start making these simple changes and think of how you can avoid some of these scary mistakes in your 2022 planning. 

What do you think? Anything else you would add to this list? What is the scariest thing you see companies doing in their recruiting process? 

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