Top 8 Common Recruiting Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

Erasing The Word Oops - Kathbern Management Toronto Executive Headhunters

The recruiting process is absolutely crucial when you’re trying to secure the best talent. From the first email to the final offer, every step of the recruiting process is key to sourcing top talent for your company. More often than not, an ideal candidate can get cold feet if something occurs in the recruiting process, which is why it’s important to avoid common mistakes that recruiters can make.

Acing the process is not only important for attracting and retaining top talent, but it’s also important in ensuring that you don’t hire someone with the wrong fit. Hiring someone who is a bad match can cost your company time and money. To hire well, it’s critical that you ensure your recruiting and hiring process is a well-oiled machine.

Here are the top eight common mistakes that many Toronto head hunters say occur in the recruiting and hiring process, and how you can avoid them

     1.  A Bad Job Description When Recruiting

Writing a perfect job description takes time and effort, and something that’s either too vague or too prescriptive can really hurt the recruiting and hiring process. If you have something too detailed, you risk having low engagement since many people won’t feel they meet your criteria. If you have something too vague, you’ll have a wave of applicants but also risk not finding the right fit.

It’s important to write a fair job description, outlining the roles and responsibilities and include some of the “must-have” skills. The job description is meant to tell the applicant what will be expected of them, and it allows you to outline what you’re looking for from the right person.

Try not to go into immense details, e.g. “7 years of supervisory experience in a mid-level company of teams of 10+” This may turn off potential candidates that don’t exactly have that specific experience but would be a great leader nonetheless. Secondly, don’t oversell the position. Keep things real and to the point in order to ensure that when the person gets hired, they aren’t shocked when they realize what their role is.

Read More: Beware of Undersizing The Job for tips on how to avoid preparing a job description that under sizes what you might need in the future.

     2.  Lack Of Timely Communication During the Recruiting Process

It’s important to communicate with your applicants, especially ones you’re considering hiring. Chances are if you’re interviewing them, they’re on the hunt and actively talking to other companies. If you are not working with a hiring agency, you want to ensure that they understand where you’re at in the hiring process and also know where they stand. Leaving a candidate hanging is the number one way to lose them.

There’s no way to over communicate to the candidates. Give as much information as possible, e.g. “Still waiting to hear back from the VP for availability. I should know by Thursday.” When Thursday comes around, send another update even if you don’t have an answer. Remember, the candidates are keeping an eye on the process and bad communication can leave them feeling like working at your company would be just as disorganized and disconnected as the hiring process.

     3.  Poor Interviews During Recruiting

There’s nothing worse for a candidate than walking into an interview and having the interviewer skim the resume right in front of them. Ensure that the panel or Interview 101 Magazine - Kathbern Management Toronto Executive Headhuntersinterviewers are prepped and briefed on the candidate in advance. Prepare the team with a one pager on the background of the candidate, their strengths and weaknesses, and add any probing questions you think should be asked during the interview. Candidates are on the lookout for any red flags – don’t scare them off with a crappy interview.

Make sure you have the right people in the room to interview so that you don’t waste the candidate’s time. Have the interviews start on time and follow-up with feedback after the fact.

     4.  When Recruiting Always Have a Reference Check – Online And Off

Don’t let a perfect candidate make you forget about doing a background check. Have your recruiting agency call all references (or do it yourself) and pop open Google and LinkedIn before moving forward. Dive deep into top candidates and ensure that they fully check out. So often, recruiters or hiring managers skip this step and end up regretting it later on. Again, hiring someone is a big investment for your company and you want to ensure that they are the right choice.

Read More: Usually Predictable, But Sometimes Surprising- Resist The Temptation To Skip Employment Reference Checks

     5.  Don’t Forget To Look Internally While Recruiting

People With Checkboxes Over Faces - Kathbern Management Toronto Executive HeadhuntersEnsure that your recruiting firm or recruiting team looks internally to fill positions in addition to searching externally. You never know which employees feel they are ready to take on a new role or higher position. Internal candidates are strong choices because you already know them, they’re loyal to the company, and don’t need as much (if any) onboarding. Forgetting to look internally is such a huge mistake – don’t let it happen to you. At the very least, it provides an opportunity for career counseling with those who are anxious to move up.

     6.  Rejecting Good Candidates During the Recruiting Process Because They Lack a Few “Must-haves”

If you meet a candidate who is a good fit for your company culture and team, has a strong background, and has some (but not all) of your required skills, it’s important to dig a bit deeper. Remember that everyone has room to learn and grow, so think about the job requirements and what skills can be taught vs. what attributes come naturally. For example, in a sales role, a good presence, communication ability, and a background working with clients can outweigh specific industry or product knowledge. You can teach a candidate about the industry or product, but you can’t teach a good personality or fit for your company.

Work with your hiring firm and the interviewing team to discuss what you’re looking for in the person you want to hire. Then, decide what skills are must haves and which are teachable.

     7.  Rushing The Recruiting Process

Nothing good comes from moving too quickly, and that’s especially true when it comes to hiring. Yes, you may have a position that needs to be filled right this instant, but don’t let it cloud your recruiting process. If you think you may need extra time finding the right person for the job, consider hiring a temp or contract worker, or shifting internal resources. You don’t want to rush the process and end up with a bad fit, which will leave you empty handed down the road and in the same rushed position!

     8.  Skipping The Screening Call During Recruiting

The screening call is important because it ensures you weed out the candidates that aren’t exactly the best fit. This ensures you don’t waste their time or the interviewer’s time. Even if someone looks great on paper, speaking on the phone is a whole different ball game. Consider using a video conferencing tool such as Zoom Cloud Meetings ( It is easy to use and doesn’t require the interviewee to download any software at their end.

It’s the recruiter’s job to find the best candidates for a role, and screening helps the process.

The Bottom Line

The recruiting process should be as painless as possible for all involved, and it’s important that the process is organized, professional, and pleasant for everyone. Just as you need to hire the right person for the company, your candidates are looking for the right company for them. It’s a shame when companies lose top talent due to one mistake. Treat good candidates like gold and make sure your hiring and recruiting process is defined and tuned.


Kathbern Management is a Toronto based recruiting firm focused on working with organizations who are seeking to find and hire the key people who are critical for their success.

Contact us today for a free consultation about your key person search.

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