Regardless of the sector, any organisation is only as good as the people who work there. So it makes sense that you want and need the best for your team. However in a candidate tight market, attracting the right people to your vacancies can be easier said than done.

There are many things that people look for in a new job and whilst at the end of the day it all comes down to personal circumstance and preference, there are definitely some avoidable mistakes that can get in the way of hiring.

So, what prevents people from accepting a job that would otherwise be a good fit for them? Here are seven ways to scare off your perfect candidate:

1. First Impressions Count:

How well is your recruitment process managed? If a candidate feels that things are disorganised, messy or confusing, it’s not exactly filling them with confidence that working with you is going to be any better. And consider the physical location too – accessibility, lack of facilities, a working environment that is too chaotic can all be red flags to a prospective employee and may have them turning down what could otherwise be the perfect job for them.

2. Timeliness Matters:

A big complaint from candidates is the length of time the recruitment process is taking, particularly if they are in the mix for other opportunities as well. While some things may be out of your control, streamlining the recruitment process to ensure that people are not left waiting too long for an outcome on their application is important. Otherwise by the time you do get around to interviewing or making an offer, you may find that your perfect candidate has given up and taken their skills elsewhere.

It also goes without saying that if you are meeting candidates, respect their time and try your best to be on time and stick to the allocated interview slots. If something unexpected does come up and you’re running late, let them know ASAP because…

3. Poor Communication Rings Alarm Bells:

The level and quality of communication throughout the process can be another way to lose good candidates. It starts right from the moment you advertise the job – is the ad clearly worded and gives a good indication of skills required/what the role entails? Are applications acknowledged in a timely manner? Is there someone people can contact with their queries – and is the information given out accurate and delivered in a professional manner? Is the interview process clearly communicated? Are unsuccessful applications advised of the outcome?

Keep in mind that someone you decline today may be the perfect candidate for you tomorrow – but if they felt that their application wasn’t handled well the first time around they may not want to put their name forward to you again.

4. Public Perception Getting in the Way:

Is there something out there in the public mind that is putting people off wanting to work for you? Whether justified or not, it’s important to front foot any issues – be open and honest with candidates. If there have been problems, acknowledge it but also let them know what you are doing to improve the situation. Engaging a recruitment agency can help to tease out any negative perceptions that you may not even be aware of and they can act as ambassadors for your organisation.

5. Nightmare Interviews:

Having a bad experience during the interview itself can be a common reason for candidates withdrawing their application. It’s important to remember that although the candidate is technically the one being interviewed, this is also their opportunity to consider whether it’s the right role for them.

While you might think that putting on a strong poker face and really putting the candidate through their paces during the interview is a way to test their suitability, it can be a big turn-off to the candidate themselves. People should be treated with dignity and respect at all times, so coming across as cold, confrontational, hard to please or uninterested during an interview is a quick way to scare an otherwise good candidate off.

6. Talking the Talk but Not Walking the Walk

Organisational values are important – but you need to be able to back them up with evidence that you actually do what you say. With our busy modern lives, flexibility in the workplace is highly desirable when it comes to juggling family and other commitments. It’s all well and good to tell a candidate that you offer a supportive and healthy working environment, or that your company does wonders for the community; but if a candidate comes away with the impression that there is no substance behind your claims, chances are they will find somewhere else that does.

7. Salary Disappointment:

Let’s not kid ourselves – most of us work to earn a living, not for the fun of it. The fact that salary plays a big part in a candidate’s decision to accept a job offer can’t be understated. Of course employers don’t have limitless budgets when it comes to remunerating staff, but it is a competitive job market out there so chances are the really good candidates have a few options to choose from.

If a candidate has been transparent with you around their salary expectations, a sure-fire way to lose them is by offering something that doesn’t hit the mark. Remuneration needs to be a discussion that occurs throughout the process, not just at the end. Otherwise both parties may be in for a nasty surprise.

Remember too that there can be additional perks that may entice your dream candidate such as flexibility, additional leave, parking and professional development opportunities. Money isn’t everything, but it does make a difference.

As you can see there are many reasons why a candidate may be put off from considering a potential job, but thankfully most of these can be minimised or prevented by engaging a recruitment agency to ensure you not only attract the right people, but that the entire process is managed in a way that gets them excited about the prospect of working with you.

So if you are looking to hire, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team and see how we can help!

Best wishes,
Kirsty and Nikki

Partnering with a Recruitment Agency