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5 Costly Mistakes Companies Make When Trying to Recruit Top Talent

Learn from the mistakes of others when searching for your best prospects

If you’re looking for quality employees and finding the process difficult, you may want to examine your process and criteria. In some cases, the challenge may not stem from a shallow talent pool – rather the way you go about your search. Check out these 5 costly mistakes some companies make while trying to build out their team, and avoid them when and where possible.

1. Refusing to think outside the box

Many companies have extremely specific parameters about whom they employ, perhaps limiting themselves to the graduates of specific universities or alumni of large corporations, or individuals with many years of experience in a specific field.

While it’s important for recruiters to know what they want, your company shouldn’t limit itself by creating artificial employment parameters which may not affect a candidate’s actual on-the-job performance. In fact, it’s often some of the most unlikely hires who end up becoming the greatest workers – and sometimes even the leaders – of the companies they join.

2. Forgetting the past during the hiring process

When hiring a new employee, it’s essential to look at the past employees you’ve hired, especially the best and the worst ones. There’s a good chance that all the best hires had at least a few good things in common, and all the worst ones had a few negative things in common as well.

Whether you identify some subtle signs of future greatness, or a few warnings of bad on-the-job performance, it’s important to identify what these specific indicators are and look for them before they cost you, big time. As the saying goes, “those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” And if you don’t study the history of your employment decisions, you’re bound to make the same mistakes.

3. Hiring solely for a resume, instead of company culture and values

Every company has a specific culture, with specific expectations, norms, and ideas about how work should be done. Often, these psychological elements have much more to do with the long-term success of an employee than simply an impressive resume. So, if you don’t completely love what you’re hearing or feeling about the person when talking to a potential recruit, but you feel like you can’t pass up an Ivy League education, top-tier MBA, or a successful stint at a Fortune 500, think again!

The candidate in question might be an amazing employee – just not an amazing fit for your company. Likewise, if you interview a candidate with a less-than-stellar resume, but their passion, perseverance, or attitude really touches or impresses you, don’t be afraid to consider bringing them on – even if it’s not for the role you originally were hiring for. While decent workers are everywhere, a truly amazing company fit is hard to find, and you don’t want to waste talent just because they don’t perfectly fit a job description.

4. Haggling during salary negotiations or trying to underpay for quality talent

While negotiating a fair salary price for a future employee can be an important part of the hiring process in any company, it’s important to keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The decision to underpay a qualified applicant with the goal of saving money often backfires – the employee often resents taking the offer and feels less valued at work, leading to reduced work performance and a desire to leave the company.

If anything, a company should aim to slightly overpay for good talent in order to increase employee retention and make sure employees feel valued and secure enough to produce their best work. This often creates a positive feedback loop of happy, innovative, and hardworking employees who are loyal and committed to an employer who they feel respects them.

5. Lack of transparency about work expectations, compensation, and company culture

When trying to recruit a new employee, it’s essential to be as transparent as possible about both what you expect from them and what they should expect from you. For example, some companies may talk in interviews about flexible work schedules or going home early, when in reality, company bosses may expect 50-60 hour workweeks in the office. Likewise, some firms may go about advertising the potential for employees to get quick promotions, when in reality, they may need to work multiple years to get even a minor raise.

Most good candidates are willing to work hard for their salaries and any promotions they want to receive – however, no one wants to be seriously misled about what working at a company is really like. So, be as honest as possible and if a recruit doesn't like what they hear, they likely aren’t the right fit for your organization.

When it comes to recruiting top talent for your company, common sense goes a long way. Look for hard workers with good values, no matter where they come from, be honest about the compensation and culture at your firm, and know that, when it comes to salaries, you get what you pay for.

At Capital Markets Placement, we know the ins and outs of the recruiting process for firms in a range of industries. For more tips about how to hire rock star employees at your company, contact us today at 212.342.7430 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.

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