The 7 Deadly Sins of Recruitment

The 7 Deadly Sins of Recruitment

‘I thought Jane was the perfect candidate – she had the right background and said all the right things at interview – but it became clear after only a few short weeks that she had oversold her previous experience and was not the right fit for my role or company’. 

How many times have you heard this, or experienced it yourself? As a recruiter with nearly 20 years’ experience, I have heard it hundreds, if not thousands of times.

Recruitment can be a complicated business. You have to assess prior experience, skills, education, technical ability, stability in previous roles, overall competence, soft skills, presentation skills, team dynamics and cultural fit and behaviours. The list is endless and even in the most established and process driven business, hiring the right staff at the right time is the number one headache.

Let’s look at the 7 deadly sins of recruitment and how you can avoid them.

1. Automatic hiring 

Let’s imagine Sarah has resigned for pasture new. Sarah has been with your company for 5 years and was one of your first employees. She has been an exceptional employee and now you urgently need another Sarah.

But do you?

Your business has evolved in the five years she has been with you; do you need another Sarah or do you need Sarah v2.0? Have you ever taken the time after a resignation or promotion to sit down and truly evaluate what is needed now? Have you conducted an in-depth job evaluation? 

While automatic hiring can seem a quick and easy solution, taking just 30-60 minutes to evaluate your current and upcoming needs will help you to future-proof your business. 

2. Relying on incoming applications alone

While the UK is experiencing the lowest rates of unemployment since December 1975 , there are still over 1 million people of working age who are unemployed. Add in the estimated 1 in 4 in employment who are looking for a new job that’s nearly 10 million people all looking for work at the same time. Yes, really 10 million. That’s a lot of job applications.

Whether you are a well-known brand or an upcoming start-up, relying solely on posting a job to your website, LinkedIn or a job board, is a sure-fire way to attract an inbox full of unsuitable applications. This will waste your time and energy, extend your time to hire, and could have a negative impact on your current employees, customers or both, ultimately costing you time and money. 

3. Hiring on skills and experience alone 

Your people are your biggest asset at every level of an organisation, people are also complex. Most recruitment and selection processes focus on four key areas:

  • Appearance
  • Ability
  • Apparent intelligence
  • Qualifications (educational and professional)

While these are useful in the selection process they are not a concrete indication of whether an individual will perform well in your role; research confirms the difference between high and low performers lies at a deeper level and that you should also assess:

  • Temperament – How they will go about doing the job?
  • Ability – What they can do?
  • Character – Do they have the maturity and reliability to use their ability in the right way?

How do you assess these vital attributes? 

4. Having too many steps in your process

There may be a lot of candidates in the market, but they do not want to go through a 7 or 8 stage interview and assessment process to secure a position. Firstly, this is time consuming and costly, taking people hours away from your core business activities, and secondly, it suggests to the candidates that you are not sure what you are looking for.

Having a solid process which assesses the experience, skills and behaviours needed will ultimately save you time, money and effort

5. Using untrained interviewers 

John may be good at his job, but it doesn’t mean John is good at conducting interviews. Interviewing is an art form; using effective questioning to dig deeper is a real skill. 

Untrained interviewers can contribute to poor hiring decisions.  They can also allow unconscious bias to enter the selection process and can damage your employer brand and reputation.

Set a high standard for your business and think carefully before using untrained interviewers to make up numbers. Take the time and investment to ensure your interviewers are fully trained. 

6. Not briefing your recruiter

Whether agency or in-house, recruiters are experts. You wouldn’t expect a lawyer to stand up for you in court without taking the time to talk them through your case, so do the same for you expert recruiter. An hour at the beginning of the process will mean they can do a better and quicker job for you. 

7. Underestimating the true cost of your recruitment

With the increasing move to in-house recruitment teams, there is a belief that organisations do not spend on recruitment. This is a fallacy. Staff salaries and associated costs, applicant tracking software, cost of running interview and assessment days and job adverts/boards all contribute to your cost per hire. 

And let’s not forget the cost of making the wrong hire.


SQUARE 1964 D21 0035 FR copy

Sue Walsh – Senior Consultant, The Associates Global

Sue has worked in agencies and on client-side. This has given Sue real insight into her clients’ priorities and how to make their lives easier, whilst delivering value for money and finding the right people. She has wide experience in tech-based companies – either vendors or solution-houses – and has an interest in customer success and global recruitment. Contact or connect with Sue.

The Associates Global delivers Exclusive, Retained, Contract and Managed Service recruitment solutions for businesses in the UK, USA, Canada and the rest of the world. We recruit for teams in strategic, technology and sales – whilst saving clients effort, money and time using our TAG 360 Methodology.