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5 Ways You Are Discouraging Top Talent

Recruiting top talent is a priority these days. After all, organizations wanting to make an impact need the right people onboard to make it happen. While there are different opinions on how to go about this task, experts agree that several common approaches simply don't work. Here are the top five.

1. Bland Job Descriptions and Vague Skill Requirements

The hiring process should be an exciting time both for your company and the candidate. That’s why it's critical that your job descriptions and requirements are clear, concise, and make top talent want to take action.

Think of each job listing as a mini sales page that generates interest, invokes curiosity, and makes potential employees want to learn more.

Don’t cut corners and rehash the same job descriptions repeatedly – customize them to evolve with the position. Candidates pick up on subtle clues like these and may form snap judgments.

A generic posting can raise red flags as to your commitment elsewhere.  

Furthermore, avoid jargon and don’t waste time mentioning attributes that every candidate should have (time management and organization skills, a positive attitude, etc.). Instead, break down exactly what it is you’re looking for and explain why each element is required.

- Are there specific technical skills that are needed?

- Is experience necessary in leading certain types of groups or projects?

- Any other non-negotiables that might be a deal breaker or, conversely, jump applicants to the front of the line?  

Not only does this strategy help candidates decide whether to apply but makes life easier for HR as well (by avoiding those who simply aren't the right fit).

Career pages are great places to tout the positives of your organization - like your mission, values, and accomplishments. Use colorful language and images to paint a picture of what a “day in the life” looks like. Consider including a handful of employee testimonials as well to back up your claims and provide social proof.

Also, keep in mind that millennials in the workplace put a high value on corporate social responsibility. Your employment page and job listings are an ideal outlet to generate buzz around your efforts and recruit top talent to join the fight.

You’re posting the job description anyway, so why not make it interesting?

2. A Poor Online Reputation Deters Top Talent

We live in a connected society these days. People have access to enormous amounts of information available on nearly any device. While that’s good in some regards, it’s problematic in others.

Especially when it comes to protecting your brand’s reputation.

Job seekers can effortlessly browse your company website, read reviews from others, and quickly post comments (both good and bad) to social media.

If you are not actively promoting and managing your brand, other people will.

Start by utilizing your site to promote your company culture and values. Never assume people know what you do or why - tell them instead. Talk about your mission, your talent, how you serve your clients, and what makes your organization so special.

Candidates are hungry for information and providing it makes recruiting top talent easier.

On the flip side, protect your good name at all costs. Monitor your social media presence and periodically browse employer review sites to see what others are saying. If you find negative comments or sentiments, address them ASAP.

Always stay ahead of the narrative and keep communication lines open.

You’ll never be able to win everybody over, but you can still sway a large portion of those who may be sitting on the fence.

3. Slow Response Times

Applicants are excited when they apply to a job. Because they’re focused on the possibilities for a bigger, better and more rewarding future.

However, the quickest way to stifle this energy is to leave them waiting. Yet that’s exactly what many employers do.

According to a report from SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management), it takes an average of 42 days to fill an open position. This is a good target to shoot for in balancing your company’s needs and the candidate’s expectations.

It’s okay if you’re not quite there yet – but it’s a must that you stay engaged. With other companies vying for the same talent, constant communication is required to keep the momentum going.    

When applicants apply for job postings, don’t make them wait to hear from you.

It’s frustrating, unsettling, and will cause top talent to look elsewhere.

Instead, respond quickly and keep them informed throughout the process. Let them know what the next steps are, what they look like, and when they can expect to hear from you again.

Never, ever leave them wondering where they stand.

If possible, use technology to expedite the hiring process. Send confirmation messages after each interaction and share information amongst departments to streamline workflows. No more than 1-2 weeks between steps is recommended.

Basically, put yourself in the applicant’s shoes and figure out how to make the experience better.

4. A Lackluster Interview Process

Recruiting top talent is only the first step in growing your brand. From there, you must convince applicants they’ve made the right choice. Providing a great interview experience is a major part of that.

Set them up for success by providing details about their appointment.

Tell them where to go, who they are meeting with, and what time to be there.

Provide good directions to your location and make note of any special requirements once they arrive. This might include what door to enter, whom to check in with, and how to find the meeting room.

Even better, have an employee greet them at the reception area and provide a brief tour/overview along the way. Make them feel welcome and show that you appreciate their time and effort to be there.

During the interview, be courteous and kind. Keep the vibe light and the tone conversational. This is your chance to get to know the candidate and discover the value they bring to the table.

If the mood is too formal - or the candidate feels like they’re on trial - you’ll never get an accurate representation of the person.

It’s important to have questions ready in advance, but don’t be afraid to go off script during the interview. Building a connection and earning trust is the fastest way to learn more about others.

No matter what happens, keep the big picture in mind.

Even if a candidate doesn’t accept your offer, they’ll remember the experience.

Make it a positive one and they’ll likely recommend your company to others. Not to mention be less prone to leave a bad review online afterward.

5. Ignoring Feedback While Recruiting Top Talent

After getting settled, it’s important to follow up with new hires and elicit their thoughts about the hiring process. In this case, surveys are your friend.

Ask employees what they liked about the hiring experience and what they didn’t.

- What did the company do exceptionally well and where did they fall short?  

- Did they encounter any major hurdles or stumbling blocks along the journey?

- How would they have handled things differently?

Consider incentivizing the request to increase participation rates. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just enough to get people to take action. A small Starbucks gift card usually does the trick - and the knowledge gained more than pays for the expense.

Use a similar process for exiting employees as well. Great talent will always come and go but knowing why may help stem the tide in your favor.

Most importantly, act upon the information you learn.  

If not, don’t bother asking. Employees will stop giving honest feedback if nothing comes about from it.


While every brand wants to recruit top talent, some make it more difficult than it has to be. The key is to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and see the process from their perspective.

Job seekers want to be excited about their career options, need to stay informed throughout the process, and should feel welcome at every touchpoint.

When you make this happen, they’ll remember the experience and share their story with family and friends.  

After all, is called Human Resources for a reason - because we all deserve to be treated like one.

Do you have a great (or horrible) hiring experience you want to share? Leave a comment below and tell us about it.

Together- We Succeed!

Chase & Associates

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