In recent articles we have covered different aspects of the recruitment process and given tips about how employers can streamline their efforts to attract the best candidates. In this article, we explore the recruitment practices that are most likely to put a candidate off the application process.

1) Long winded advertisements

There are few things more irritating to a candidate than having to decipher reams of jargon when going through a job advert. A candidate is just as likely to give up and move onto the next advert as they are to reread a job posting several times to get the gist of what’s expected of them. Avoid falling at the first hurdle by wording your advert concisely so it describes what you are looking for and what you are offering in simple, plain, English.

2) Time-consuming applications

A survey conducted by a US recruitment firm in 2015 revealed that 60% of candidates felt that the application process for a job was far too stressful and complex. In some cases, this was enough to put the applicant off altogether, before even completing the required forms.

To avoid this frustration, make sure your application form can easily be filled in online and that it requires only the most essential information in the first instance. If you have a multi-stage application process, try to avoid asking the applicant to answer repetitive questions or duplicate information on the application form. Application forms that have to be printed at home and filled in by hand are a definite turnoff – avoid these at all costs.

3) An extended selection process

Candidates hate drawn out, lengthy selection processes, especially where they have to wait days or even weeks for feedback on interviews or screening tests. This isn’t surprising. Searching for a new job can be a stressful experience and uncertainty only adds to this. Candidates who feel they are left in limbo during painful deliberations between interviews are more likely to drop out of the process altogether. Avoid this situation by streamlining the selection process, keeping the applicant in the loop and giving them prompt feedback, whether or not they are successful in securing the job.

4) An uninformed interview panel

Remember that your interview panel is quite often the first time an applicant has met a representative of your company; therefore, selecting the people best suited to interviewing is of great importance. Candidates are likely to get discouraged by interviewers who show a lack of knowledge about the job, or come across as unenthusiastic about the company.
Candidates like to be listened to – I have lost count of how many individuals have returned to our office, reporting “great interview, but they didn’t learn anything about me”.

5) Complex or vague answers to simple questions

Ambiguous or indirect answers to questions about the company, the job, employee benefits, career prospects and so on do nothing except make your company look shady. A crucial part of the application process is to build mutual trust between your business and a potential new employee. If the candidate does not feel you are transparent or they do not trust you, then it is unlikely they will want to work for you. Be direct and open about the job, especially about such issues as pay structure and commission, working hours and responsibilities. Being upfront will help build trust and secure a good, professional relationship from the start.

We have all applied for jobs and have experienced the recruitment process first hand. When recruiting for a role within your business, a good exercise is to put yourself in the position of the candidate and go through the process yourself. This will give you a good indication of how long the process is likely to take, if there are any pinch points and what can be improved in order to assist potential recruits through the system as painlessly as possible.

Tricia Hay

Tricia Hay is Owner, Director of First Base Employment Limited