7 Big Recruitment Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Jason Hanold
4 min readApr 2, 2024

Research from the Center for American Progress suggests that it cost around 20 percent of an employee’s salary to replace them when they leave. For organizations with high staff turnover, the problem can be costly. Finding, hiring, and retaining a talented team capable of positioning your company for long-term success is challenging. Recruiting requires resources and time, as well as planning and patience. Sometimes, a seemingly trivial mistake in your company’s hiring process turns out to be a major miscalculation.

Fortunately, by avoiding a few simple mistakes, employers can find qualified candidates sooner, helping them to secure the best people for open roles. In this article, we explore potential recruiting problems and pitfalls, identifying ways to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Writing Inaccurate Job Descriptions

Candidates rely on potential employers to be honest in their advertisements and describe positions accurately. Businesses that don’t provide accurate job descriptions are less likely to attract candidates with the abilities and qualities needed to help their teams succeed.

A good job description is more than just a list of duties. It also describes the purpose of the role, highlights key areas of responsibility, and outlines the specific skills needed to succeed. Recruiters need to be careful not to overhype positions or mislead applicants into believing a given role offers more opportunities than it really does. This could lead to disenchantment and poor morale further down the line.

Mistake #2: Involving Too Many People in the Hiring Process

It is easy to overestimate how many people are needed in the process of screening candidates, interviewing applicants, and making a final decision. Involving too many people in decision-making slows the process down, which not only impacts the time to hire, but the overall candidate experience, creating a real risk of the candidate accepting another job offer in the meantime.

This common recruiting error can be avoided by setting a maximum number of people to involve in recruiting for open roles. Usually, the HR manager will work with someone from the relevant department to screen résumés and conduct group interviews, potentially involving one or two other team members. The hiring process should ideally involve between two and five employees. This enables the team and candidate can get a good feel for each other without impeding decision-making and slowing down the time to hire.

Mistake #3: Failing to Disclose Salary When Advertising Open Positions

According to recruitment experts, businesses that don’t post a pay range when advertising open positions are likely to be missing out on top talent. According to research from Reed.co.uk, approximately 80 percent of candidates said that they are less likely to apply for a job if the salary is not advertised. In the current, highly competitive recruitment climate, hiding this crucial piece of information incurs the real risk of missing out on top talent.

Mistake #4: Lowering Expectations or Overlooking Red Flags

Recruiters need to stay on their guard for red flags and uphold their standards rather than rushing to fill open roles. Hiring candidates who aren’t a good fit for the company, the role, or both can lead to decreased productivity and negatively affect the work culture. A bad hire can even lead to an unsafe work environment, negative attention on your business, or having to let the employee go.

Employers must establish stringent vetting processes that help them evaluate applications rigorously, ringfencing promising candidates. Jumping the gun, on the other hand, could cost them a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Mistake #5: Not Checking References

References provide crucial insights into a candidate’s work history, work ethic, strengths, and weaknesses. Surprisingly, however, recruiters often fail to check them, creating scope for a poor hire. Recruiters should make it standard practice to contact referees and ask pertinent questions to gain a clear picture of the candidate.

Mistake #6: Overlooking Internal Candidates

When there’s a job opening, particularly a people leader position, many businesses default to looking outside the organization for candidates. However, many times the right person may already be right in front of them. Where employers fail to invite incumbent staff members to apply, they not only run the risk of overlooking ideal candidates, but potentially alienating existing employees.

Many recruiters regard hiring from within as a last resort, believing that shuffling staff members around will simply result in an opening elsewhere that needs to be filled. This rationale is incredibly shortsighted and damaging to businesses. After all, it is easier to fill entry-level positions than it is to hire for management roles.

Mistake #7: Not Teaching Recruiters about Unconscious Bias

To maximize the odds of reaching the right talent, recruiters need to attract a large and diverse candidate pool. To achieve this, you need an inclusive recruitment strategy. Everyone involved in the recruitment process should be taught about how to identify and avoid unconscious bias to ensure they are selecting candidates based on their skills and experience rather than similarity to themselves. By establishing processes to overcome unconscious bias, businesses hiring choices are based on necessary skills and untapped potential, in alignment with your diversity and inclusion policies and goals.



Jason Hanold

Executive Recruiter, clients NFL, Google, Patagonia, Under Armour, Gucci, Nike, Northwestern, eBay, UFC, Vail, REI, Electronic Arts, Live Nation, #HR #Recruiter