Stop Sabotaging Your Ability to Hire Top Candidates

I’ll never forget my first job interview. Hearing about how great this company was to work for made me want that job so much more. When I arrived, I had to wait a long time before meeting with the interviewer. I wasn’t given any information about the delay, offered something to drink, or told where to find a restroom. I was nervous, and now I felt lost and abandoned sitting alone in the lobby. When I was finally taken to see the interviewer, he was distracted and rushed through his questions. In less than 20 minutes, I was shown out without having the opportunity to ask a single question. In fact, I had waited in the lobby longer than I had been interviewed! I couldn’t understand why people thought this company was such a great place to work.

The competition for talented people is fierce, and candidates can afford to be highly selective. Your candidates are watching and evaluating everything you do. If you think they aren’t, look at sites like and check out these hashtags to learn what makes candidates pass you by:

  • #ihaterecruiters
  • #recruiterfail
  • #recruiterspam
  • #candidateexperience

Recruiters have high expectations for candidates. And yet they often fail to hold themselves to the same high standards. Candidates are expected to research the company’s products or services and be prepared with thoughtful questions about the job and their responsibilities. And in return, recruiters too often fail to respect a candidate’s time and treat them rather like an annoyance. That’s a huge mistake.

Candidates care about how you treat them, and you can’t ignore the impact of the experience you create. They are evaluating how quickly you can act once you make that first contact. Be prepared to schedule interviews with qualified candidates within a day or two. Your hiring team needs to move fast so candidates don’t have to come back two or three times just to meet everyone. I hear from frustrated candidates all the time who are excited about an opportunity but frustrated because it takes weeks to get an interview scheduled. If you are too busy to schedule an interview, a candidate will wonder if you will be too busy to give them feedback on their work, be available to answer questions, or help them work through problems.

Another common recruiting mistake is contacting a candidate and then failing to communicate. Do your candidates hear crickets after the first contact? If they do, shame on you. We expect candidates to be at our disposal and yet we fail to communicate our process. Your candidates are looking for a career with your company, not buying groceries. They expect to be kept informed of the status of their application and the excuse that you’re too busy, is a weak one. We have multiple avenues for communicating that take mere seconds. So just do it!

Take a moment to view your hiring practices through the lens of your candidates. How do you stack up?

If you need some insights to help you create a candidate-centric hiring process, schedule your insight session today or call mesend an email, or text MOMENTUM to 480-418-1411 to get more in-depth, step-by-step recruiting help. And, the best part is that it’s FREE!

Rebecca Barnes-Hogg, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is The Small Business Hiring Expert and works with small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to end their struggle to hire the right people. She is the author of the upcoming book, The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business, and a co-author of Rethinking Human Resources. She can be reached at 843-779-YOLO (9656) or