Your Recruiting Process Doesn’t Work – Here’s Why

Kathbern Management - Toronto Recruitment Agency - A sign that says the system was never broken it was built this way

Recruiting fails because of a handful of poor tactics. Fix these classic pitfalls and watch your talent acquisition success soar.

You Are Fishing in a Puddle – Go For the Ocean!
The whole idea of successful recruiting is to choose the best candidates from a very large pool of talent. When you place a limit on the size of the pool, you will naturally have fewer good “fish” to choose from.

All of the following missteps lead to fishing in a puddle.

1. You are Doing It Yourself – When You Get Around to It!
When you take the Do-It-Yourself approach to recruiting, you are taking on a job that is best done full-time for several weeks in order to identify good candidates and then screen them, interview them and potentially make the job offer and get them on board. All this needs to be done QUICKLY in order to not lose the best ones.

SUGGESTION: Dedicate yourself (or someone in your organization) to the task, or involve a professional recruiter to do it for you.

2. You Are Using Multiple Recruiters on the Same Search – Wrong!
If you decide to get outside help and want improve your chances by putting several recruiting firms on the job at once, you are guaranteeing that NONE of them are taking the task very seriously. How can they, when there is a very great risk that one of their competitors will be get lucky and therefore their effort will be wasted? Instead, they will probably just review their database for some easy-to-access candidates; hope that one of them fits the bill and move on to the next project.

SUGGESTION: If you decide to use a recruiter, choose ONE that you trust and give them the exclusive right to source candidates for this particular position.

3. You Aren’t Tapping Your Competitors – Why Not?
Let’s face it, the employees who work for your competitors know quite a lot about your industry. They have relationships with clients that could be yours. Why would you not specifically target them with whatever it takes to move them to your team? In doing so, you are not just adding talent to your side; you are weakening your competitor at the same time. Two benefits from one move!

SUGGESTION: List all of your competitors and then identify the key individuals within each organization. Reach out to each one with an invitation to discuss an interesting alternative – working for you!

4. Your Job Postings Are Boring – Does Anyone Care?
Most job postings are just dry and boring job descriptions. They focus on the job from the company’s perspective. Candidates are interested in “What’s in it for me?” They want to know what the challenge is, what new experiences they will have, what new skills they will learn and what the stimulating responsibilities will be. They want to know why it will be exciting, why it will be a good fit for them and why it will be better than the job they have now.

SUGGESTION: Write your job postings from the candidate’s perspective, not the employer’s perspective.

5. You are Ignoring Passive Candidates – And that is 80% of the Total!
Some estimates indicate that up to 80% of all individuals currently working would be interested in hearing about a new opportunity that is more challenging, offers better compensation and is in a better location than their current job. They are working now and are not necessarily unhappy, so they aren’t actively looking for a change, but they would consider it if it were presented to them. Job ads do not reach these people because they are not looking. They must be contacted directly and presented with the opportunity.

SUGGESTION: Reach out directly not only to key employees of your competitors but also to other individuals in the right job function in related industries that could quickly learn what they need to know to be successful with your company.

6. Your Process is Painfully Slow – Good Candidates Have Alternatives!
Whether you run your recruiting internally or involve a recruiting firm to help you, it is deadly not to move quickly once the process starts. Every time a recruiting process is initiated to fill a particular position, different candidates will emerge. Each time, there will be a few “A” level candidates, more “B” level candidates and a lot more “C” level candidates. The candidates with the most alternatives are the “A” level candidates, the “B”’s next and then the “C”’s who have relatively few prospects.
If your evaluation process moves at a snail’s pace, don’t be surprised if your “A” level prospects start to disappear as they accept offers from employers who are more adept than you at making decisions and getting an offer in front of them. The “B”’s will eventually find a home as well, but for sure some of the “C”’s will still be left when you finally get around to making someone an offer.

If you restart the process in a couple of months, a whole new set of candidates will present themselves, but the result will be the same unless your process is able to sift through who is available and make an acceptable offer to an “A” level candidate before they again are presented with a competing offer that they can’t refuse.

SUGGESTION: Once you start a recruiting process, keep it going so that there are no delays.


A single senior level hiring event which fails will, on average, cost a year of progress, recruitment and severance costs and have a negative impact on the organization’s goodwill as perceived by other employees, customers, shareholders and outside agencies.

Larry Smith founded the management search firm Kathbern Management in 2004 after a multi-decade career in senior roles with organizations in the office equipment, communications technology and investment banking industries. Kathbern Management focuses on working with owners and senior managers to “get the right people on the bus”.

While most of Kathbern’s projects have been in North America, others have been in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, West Africa and the UK.

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