Wednesday 22 March 2023
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Dear HR – Let’s Talk About Those Recruiting Mistakes…

HRDear Human Resource Manager, Recruiting Manager, or Talent Acquisition Manager –

There’s something wrong with your recruiting process, HR.

If you have a hiring team, then you need to do some investigating, because you have a rat on your team and their work stinks. If you’re a department of one, then you should check yourself before you’re wreck yourself. Just what am I talking about? Well, I’ll tell you…

As a reminder, I work with a lot of job seekers each month, some of them are my résumé clients, others are friends who happen to be passive job seekers – you know those who are in open conversations (interviews) about new jobs event hough they are already working.

The statistics are true –

85% of the workforce are passive job candidates – what does that mean to you? As soon as you open the door to welcome a new employee, an incumbent is leaving. We will discuss retention in another article – however, it’s a part of the recruiting problem.

Many of clients and friends are extremely talented, so they already have a job – with unemployment at 5%, most extremely talented high performers are currently working. Passive job seekers are selective – they are not in a hurry, because they don’t have to be. They are patient and particular, which means they know what they want in a new employer.

They are not afraid to walk away from a conversation or
job offer at any point in the candidate experience.

They have the upper hand in the entire process, so you and your recruiting pod have to be professional and savvy.

Working Together

You also have to work together and not to spurn a potential candidate who fits your organizational needs. In all likelihood, you will be making the first contact, either through an email, call, tweet, direct message, or inbox message on LinkedIn. Are you sure you know exactly what your team is saying? I have had clients tell me that they didn’t like the person who contacted them initially because they seemed pushy, unprofessional, and impatient.

The Power of Flexibility

When trying to convince a candidate to partake of an interview or even an informal discussion, are you being flexible or are you trying to make them feel like time is running out? Oh, I get it, you have a timeline and a bunch of other candidates, however – when you are trying to attract someone to your team you have to be patient and flexible or they will tell you to kick rocks.

“I Don’t Know.”

Next, if the candidate has questions about salary or the culture or management style, are you answering with “I don’t know”? Look, your entire team is not expected to know everything, although it wouldn’t hurt – but you and I both know, there are various ways to say “I don’t know” without saying “I don’t know“. For instance, “When you talk to Alisha, the Manager, she will be able to answer those questions for you.” Not only is that a better way of saying, “I don’t know”, but it also builds anticipation and excitement. You’re welcome 🙂

Finally, have you ever thought a candidate who was going to accept the offer only to find out later that she/he didn’t? Sound familiar? Well, a few things could have happened here:

  1. She decided the grass was not greener and decided to stay put.
  2. He had second thoughts based on the offer, e.g., money, benefits, title, or advancement opportunities.
    Think about what you are offering, according to the infographic above, it’s about benefits and flexibility more than $$$.

Maybe you were turned down based on the candidate experience, remember the includes the entire process. I have had clients tell me they have turned down jobs because something was said or done during the initial contact period that rubbed them the wrong way. Explicitly, talking down to a candidate, not sounding excited about recruiting them, not making them feel special, making them feel like they just another candidate or not being able to answer some basic questions.


It sounds petty, however top talent is hypersensitive to these things and even the application process could be a deterrent, so please – test your team, test the process, administer feedback surveys, and rehearse.

Examine the entire recruiting process from top to bottom, minimize the mistakes, and land those big fish.

HR & Recruiters, please, let’s stop the madness.



Chris Fields
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Chris Fields, MLHR is an Expert Resume Writer and HR Consultant who has been featured on, and Monster Thinking. He helps Executive job seekers with their resume credentials and writes regularly at the