back to blog

5 Ways Top Job Candidates Slip Through the Cracks

Hiring managers: Did you hear? The pressure is on. Since the start of 2014, Texas employers have added nearly 350,000 new jobs, according to the Austin Business Journal. That’s a lot of competition for top job candidates. But what if we told you it wasn’t necessarily your competition that’s causing you to lose out on the top talent? In reality, you may be inadvertently overlooking or turning away your best job candidates on your own accord. Here’s how:

  • Posting poor job descriptions. As we discussed last month, poorly written job descriptions can serve as a double-edge sword.  On one side, it may not attract the right candidates by withholding such elements as a salary range or specific skill-set opportunities. On the other side, it may be so general that it leads to an overload of unqualified candidates—to the extent that those few who should rise to the top are getting lost in the shuffle. If your hiring process seems to be suffering in this way, talk to a staffing partner for ideas on how to improve your job descriptions to attract the right candidates. As an example, Christine Comaford, author of Smart Tribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together, recommends the following job description formula: Situation, Tasks, Actions, Results + Who will and won’t fit in the role (no whiners, yes self-starters) + Compensation + What you want the candidate to do next.

Holding an interview process that’s too intense. Dr. John Sullivan at calls this mistake “death by interview.” You know the drill: An interview process that takes weeks, if not months; and four or more separate interviews that force the candidate to rinse-and-repeat the same answers time and again. If this sounds familiar—or if you’ve routinely been turned down by top candidates who either became bored or simply got another job while waiting for you—heed the following: The intensity of the interview process should be appropriate for the position. Not all positions require multiple interviews all the way to the top brass. For instance, in this case bigger is not better. Move it along before your top candidate does…right to your competitor’s doorstep.


Failing the art of the interview. Researchers at the University of Michigan found the typical job interview increased the likelihood of choosing the best candidate by less than 2 percent. So if typical interviews are so inefficiently helpful, what’s the point? Our answer to you: Don’t be typical. Using a combination of behavioral-based interview questions and skills-based testing is the key. What’s more, a poorly managed interview can raise a red flag for candidates. A simple gesture such as not having the candidate’s resume in front of you—or obviously not having looked though it—could leave a lasting negative impression. Think of the interview as a first date: What impression do you want to leave?


Being inaccessible or unresponsive. Playing hard-to-get in this economy is never a good idea. And while your responsiveness to job candidates may meet traditional standards, there are certain sought-after candidates who require a higher level of responsiveness. “As recruiter in the creative-class space, I often receive texts and calls to my personal cell phone, and private messages on social media at all hours of the day,” says Jay Long, managing director of the HT Search division. “Being accessible and responsive in this way can speak volumes to people like software developers, who have come to expect quick answers at sometimes unorthodox times. Showing that you’re unwilling to accommodate them may give the impression that your workplace won’t keep pace.”


Not playing to win. Think of how competition has evolved in sports such as swimming, football and track and field. Athletes are bigger, faster and better than ever.  Likewise, many recruiting tactics that worked in the past simply don’t cut it in today’s job market. If you’re not actively studying job trends and your competition, your game will suffer. When it comes to recruiting engineers, Knovel’s website reports, “To all intents and purposes, it would appear that engineers now have a plethora of choices as to not only where they want to work but also who they want to work for.” This mindset is certainly common in software development and other in-demand skillsets. So, it’s time to up your game.


If these recommendations seem overwhelming, or you simply need someone to help bounce ideas around, contact a staffing partner or recruiter. At the very least, these professionals can advise you. Or, you may find they can take some of the burden off your plate. Just like using a realtor to buy a house, using a staffing partner or recruiter to win the interest of top job candidates can save measurable time and money…while keeping your chances airtight at staffing only the best.


Image Copyright: axelbueckert / 123RF Stock Photo