Here's something many leaders may not be aware of. While attempting to attract and recruit top talent, you may be inadvertently pushing them away with these common pitfalls. Take a few minutes to go through the checklist of turn-offs below to see if you've been employing any of these practices and ways to avoid them.
- Continuously being late: Showing up late to candidate interviews shows a lack of organization, an inability to prioritize and a lack of respect. This can have your candidate questioning if you are a leader who can stay on task, be rigorous about growth without distraction and if you value the position and the people you hire. Consider appointing your second-in-command or Executive Assistant to be on point to greet the candidate should you encounter a critical delay. Another tip is to set a calendar reminder for 5-10 minutes prior to the interview so prevent prior calls from running over.
- Asking all the questions. Smart candidates are curious and need to explore the company and opportunity (and you). When an interviewer controls the conversation by asking all the questions, it can be an indicator of an authoritarian culture where curiosity can’t be explored and new ideas aren’t valued. One tip is to build in time during the interview (not just at the end) to invite the candidate to ask questions.
- Expecting love at first sight. Your company may be outstanding, game-changing or revolutionary but candidates need time to see that. It is short-sighted to believe that everyone immediately sees the greatness and if you judge a candidate based on initial enthusiasm, you could be missing the opportunity. The most valuable executives are going to poke holes, challenge each other, question strategy and see competition. The people who take the time to dive deep are the ones you want on your team. They are the people that will ultimately meet roadblocks head on because they likely saw them coming. Remember, like happens before love.
- Not identifying “must-have” qualities or experiences up front. Interviewing with ambiguity leads people to make decisions about what they personally like vs. what the company really needs. When candidates get mixed messages about business needs and growth opportunities it can show a lack of unity across the leadership team and a misaligned corporate vision. A good practice during an interview is to resurface what the candidate has seen in the job description or prior correspondence about the position and reiterate/summarize the most important skills, qualities and experiences you're looking for. This will ensure you're on the same page from the onset vs. leaving it to their interpretation.
- An inconsistent interview panel without clear process. Do you identify up front who will interview the candidates? Are you certain they have the time and will be there for all candidate interviews? Have you mapped out the interview process? Does everyone have a copy of the job spec? How many times will the candidate be coming back? Will they need to do a project and what does that look like? Have you discussed how the project will be reviewed? Do you have a process for how feedback will be given? Do you need a unanimous "yes" to hire or does somebody have a final vote? Figure out these things before you start interviewing. Time is the killer of all deals and this goes for recruiting too. When you waste people's time through a disorganized and lengthy process, you risk losing great candidates. Others will swipe them up or they can become turned off by the length of time between conversations while you are sorting out what's next.
Mediocre candidates will be patient with the above and take the time to cycle through a disorganized process, but outstanding candidates are driven in their work and can see the above as potential red-flags in the company. If you want A+ talent, run an A+ hiring process.