These 7 Recruiting Mistakes Are Costing You Top Talent


Ever wondered why you’re not bringing in top talent to your workforce? As an employer, you know it takes more than offering an attractive wage and a good benefits package.

Every part of your talent acquisition process factors into your ability to make a successful hire. With that in mind, here are 7 common recruiting mistakes you should avoid at all costs – admittedly, I’ve made a lot of these mistakes myself over the years.

7 Recruiting Mistakes You need To Know

Recruiting Mistakes Are Costing You Top Talent

1# Posting convoluted job listings

Your job listings should be clear and inviting. Qualified candidates should be able to read your description and say, “This seems like a great place to work!”

In a conscious effort to sound professional and formal, some employers make the mistake of posting some incredibly dry and uninspiring job descriptions.

Some of these job descriptions may also have a really unnecessarily long application process that would take hours for anyone to complete.

It has been said that these measures might thin the application pool to serious inquiries only – and this may be partly true. But do you really want only the people who are desperate for a job to spend hours on one application?

Instead, you should be the one to put in the extra little bit of work. Make your process easy, even if it takes more time to screen through all the additional applications you’ll receive because of it.

2# Imposing your resume preferences on others

As applications pour in, you’ll see resumes that meet your standards and resumes that don’t. Of those that don’t, there are two types: Those that don’t fit the skill set the position requires, and those that don’t give off a professional vibe that appeals to you.

If an applicant doesn’t meet the requirements for a position, it’s clear they aren’t a good fit. But if you don’t like the way their resume looks – the format, the wording, the font – pause for a moment.

Is the resume truly unprofessional – for example, including inconsistencies and spelling errors? Or is it simply not the style you would have chosen – for example, a heading underlined instead of bolded?

Don’t dismiss a potential candidate simply because they don’t do things like you.

3# Overemphasizing best resume practices

It’s true: There are – objectively and statistically – resume practices that are more common than others.

One study I headed actually found that recruiters were 2.3 times more likely to prefer two-page resumes over single-page resumes. Does this mean that a three-page resume should go in the trash? Not necessarily.

Again, the point here is to try not to be too rigid as you review applications. Unless it truly displays ignorance or unprofessionalism, focus on the content and what the applicant ultimately brings to the table.

4# Assuming work gaps on a resume must be a sign of inadequacy

Depending on your level of cynicism, you might view employment gaps in resumes with some wariness. Were they in jail? Living in their parents’ basement and playing video games? Do you really want to take those risks?

While work gaps should definitely raise some red flags, they often times aren’t as bad as what you’d imagine. Many people take time off due to health issues or to take care of family members and now that things are settled down, they’re able to reenter the workforce.

It can be tempting sometimes to dismiss a perfectly qualified applicant cause of work gaps, when it would have made more sense to give them a chance to explain their situation during the interview stages of the hiring process.

5# Letting software do your work for you (ATS)

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) allow you to feed the applications into a program, set certain parameters, and receive back rankings of the “best” results. Theoretically, this could save you a lot of time.

However, as I’m sure you’d know if you’ve ever used applicant tracking systems for your hiring process, there’s always the chance they dismiss perfectly fine applications due to their limited capabilities.

Applicant tracking systems are also only as reliable as the parameters you set for it – so setting strict limits can often mistakenly cause many of your top candidates to be filtered out.

Due to these issues, consider utilizing ATS only if the number of applications is far too overwhelming to process on your own.

6# Skipping the phone interview

Once you’ve narrowed down your applications to just a few, it’s time for interviews! But wait: Call first.

You may find that the applicant looks great on paper but can’t hold their own in a phone conversation to save their life.

This is a good first step for the applicant to prove their professionalism, and it might save you a lot of hassle by adding this additional screening process before giving candidates a chance to come into the office for an in-person interview.

7# Skipping reference checks

We get it. You’re already in the honeymoon stage with your top candidate. They may even already be filling out their paperwork and have a start date.

Reference checks are a pain, because it’s just generally hard to reach people. You have to leave messages, call businesses, and hunt a lot of people down. While it can be a real pain in the neck, don’t neglect this step.

A good reference can provide a lot of insight that you’ll need to make your final decision. You may also receive some controversial information that makes you reconsider your choice.


To sum up: There’s one clear message from these 7 things not to do when recruiting new employees:

Don’t rush it.

You don’t want to pass over a fantastic employee – or accidentally hire a poor one – simply because you wanted to hurry up and hire someone as soon as possible to fill a vacant role. Put the time and effort into your hiring process and your new star employee will make sure it was all worth it.

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Author bio: Peter Yang is the CEO of ResumeGo, a resume help service that works with job seekers to perfect their resumes and maximize their job search potential. He regularly shares his entrepreneurial and career knowledge on sites such as CNBC, Glassdoor, and