The one BIG mistake that every company is making with their candidate recruitment



There is so much written and spoken about social recruiting and social media for businesses, there is a danger of over complication of the essence of understanding what the whole experience should be.

There is a phrase I use a lot when talking to clients about recruitment, social recruiting or using social media in recruitment. It is a mistake every company makes and which (for me) is the no.1 thing they need (but often fail) to do:

Look back at yourself through the eyes of your candidates.

What does the candidate experience when they start interacting with your brand? It could be your career site, your website, your Twitter profile, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile or even just an email or phone call they receive from you.
Have you ever even considered what the experience is for a candidate for any of the above? When was the last time you even bothered to consider what the candidates see when interacting with your brand?

As we move more into the social recruiting sphere (and don't think you can avoid it for long), the transparent nature of social media becomes ever more obvious. With the ability for people to instantly share (on all of the social networks) information on companies – both good and bad – the need to consider what the candidates are experiencing is truly paramount.

If you are recruiting graduates or young people, then look at the content you are presenting from their perspective. If you are of a different generation, get one of your employees who fit that demographic to review it.
If you are recruiting more experienced people, and you don't fit that same skill profile, again get one of your employees with relevant experience to check the content, to see if what you have produced resonates with them. This sounds so simple doesn't it, but I know from experience that the majority of companies don't even consider what the candidates see!
There still seems to be an element of brand arrogance in the market when it comes to companies believing people want to work for 'their' brand, because they are who they are. >>Wake up and smell the coffee -  those days are quickly disappearing!!

Whether you are producing a new website, new career site, a new blog or even a new Facebook page, you absolutely (with no exceptions either) need to put the audience first. Think of who you are trying to reach out to. Then target the content accordingly to that audience.

You have such a small window to get the persons attention (maybe just 10 -15 seconds, according to some web experts), that you just have to get it right immediately.

So, remember, look back at yourself through the eyes of your candidates. Grab a coffee and go an do it today…….. I think you will be a little shocked at what you see!

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  • No mention of job ads Andy? I agree that it is paramount to make a good first impression and set the right tone but this is particularly important in recruitment ads. Each and every ad should address its target audience. If you’re recru9iting for a senior level Accountant say, you’ll use a different tone to that you would use to address potential first jobbers. As I say time and time again when talking on the subject, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, plus every time you put out any form of communication, be it a website, a brochure, a job ad or even the simple business card, you are making a corporate statement. The online job ad is one of the best opportunities to put an organisation in a favourable light but amazingly so many recruiters don;t take advantage of that opportunity. Instead, many produce a badly thought through piece of copy, often a cut and pasted job description that has absolutely no allure,is often full of typos and bad grammar which shouts ‘we haven’t got a clue about what we’re doing’ and makes potential quality candidates think to themselves ‘if they can’t get the basics right, there is no way I am entrusting my career aspirations to them’.

  • Alasdair,

    Sorry, how remiss of me! Of course job adverts come into this category as well.
    I agree with you that so many are a pile of pap, that it is a wonder they get applications at all!!

  • Good thoughts Andy. As someone who previously spent almost a year conducting a job search using every possible recruitment method available at the time, I couldn’t agree with you more. From a jobseeker point of view the candidate experience was shocking in most instances. Largely because as you point out, there is absolutely no thought put into the experience of the biggest part (in my eyes anyway) of the equation – the candidate.

    We’ve all heard the statistics about how brands can be damaged by poor treatment of jobseekers. It’s only becoming a bigger and more immediate issue as social media continues to grow. Do you think the voice for change is growing louder?

    Thanks Andy!


  • Andy, great post.

    As Marc points out, most firms get it so very wrong by failing to treat potential employees as they would potential clients.

    And that’s why nimble, flexible firms who know how to engage with their target audience will win. Whilst the big brands who seem to think ‘processing’ candidates in the most cost effective manner is the way to go are in for some painful lessons. All it takes is one bad experience followed by one tweet or status update from someone with a big online network and the damage is done

  • Excellent and much needed sentiment Andy! I think the perspective of the job seeker/candidate is unfortunately one of the first things that is unconsciously thrown out the window when people get into recruiting, and the longer a person remains in the recruiting industry/function, the more clueless many become when it comes to understanding what it is like to be on the other side of the process and relationship.

    I wrote a similar article in August that looks at the “fantastic opportunity” approach of many recruiters, messaging, social recruiting, resumes, interviewing, pipelining, job posting and ad response, relationships, offers and more – all from the perspective of the candidate. I’d be curious to know your thoughts.

  • It’s surprising how often job seekers undervalue the impact that information about them online can have. Statistics continue to show us that like it or not, it is a reality we must face and deal with.