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Top 10 Recruitment Problems You Should Be Avoiding

How long does it take you to fill a role, on average, from the moment you realise you need to hire someone to the moment someone starts?

There are many factors that can cause delays in your hiring process, and delays can sometimes lead to lost candidates or rejected offer letters. Below you will see 10 of the most common recruitment process problems that organisations have but have done nothing about.


1. Candidates have to leave your careers page to apply – The candidate journey plays a huge part on how your employer brand is perceived by those who express an interest in working for your business. Having to leave your website can not only cause confusion for the candidate, but it is also an unpleasant experience for them.

Something as simple as downloading a form is one of the worst things you could ask a candidate to do when applying to your business as it can cause many problems for them.

The first problem is that some candidates may not be able to edit the form online and so will need to print the application – introducing the problem of needing a printer, with ink in it, and enough paper to print the whole form, not to mention having to post the application, or having access to a scanner to email it back or a fax machine to fax it back. The candidate drop-off rate here will be huge; you may also find that some candidates will be unable to open the application and will be required to download additional software in order to view it – again this can cause a large number of drop-offs.

Another big ‘NO’ is sending the candidate to another website to complete their application; if the branding or formatting changes, this can cause confusion for the candidate and breaks any flow that your website was providing the candidate. If they find the vacancy on your website, let them complete it on your website; you can use iFrame technology or RSS feed-based technology to display vacancies on your careers page from a system that can be managed easily by your HR team rather than relying on your IT Team.

Another thing to avoid is forcing the candidate to create an account in order to apply for a vacancy. Not only is this additional information that they need to remember, but it’s an additional and unnecessary step to getting their details. There are products available where the minimum criteria to store someone on their system is an email address, and this can be used to login at a later stage should they need to complete their application.

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2. You’re using too many job boards – Job boards are a massive help when trying to get a wide reach of the candidate market, but they can become time consuming when you work with a number of job boards on an individual basis; most of the time you will be required to submit the information separately for each job board, when you could instead, work with a provider who has established a relationship with multiple job boards, along with a preferential rate due to economies of scale, and will only require you to add the information once – this will not only save you time, but it will save you money as well.


3. You aren’t storing great applicants – Great candidates are hard to find, so it’s important that when you do find them, you keep hold of them, or at least keep in contact with them. Candidates who were close 2nds during a selection process, or those who expressed interest in you and were well suited to your company but, at the time, had no vacancy for, should be saved where they can be accessed easily and searched for using keywords, such as ‘Sales’ or ‘C++’.

Advertising comes at a cost and is time-consuming; if you can reduce the number of times you need to advertise for a ‘Sales Executive’ by utilising a talent pool that you have built from previous campaigns, you will not only save money, but you will reduce your time-to-hire, and also improve your recruitment brand.


4. You’re ignoring social media – Social media is a free resource for you to use when recruiting. Many organisations already have a pre-established community of loyal followers on social media, whether that’s on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even on YouTube and any other social sites, and they’re more than happy to post out news and blogs or product updates, but why not jobs?

People who follow your brand via social media have some level of interest or loyalty to you as a business, so it’s likely that these people would be keen to work for you as well, or will at least be willing to share your job openings to others in their network that the job may be more suited to.


5. You’re relying on agencies – Agencies can be great when you have a specialist role, or you just don’t have the manpower to source great candidates – however, they are expensive, and you can quickly be looking at a £15-20k bill for 3 or 4 vacancies.

Utilising job boards is often a better first step, you get a wide reach for candidates, you effectively have the same access to the market place as what a recruitment consultant does, and it’s a lot cheaper, although the downside is that you still have to manually filter the talent that you have attracted.

There are software providers though, who utilise their own products to search the candidate market for you, and many of these will have experienced recruiters employed directly for them, so you can get the same skills as an agency, the same, or larger, reach of the candidate market, and often this can be done in less time as they will utilise their software to speed up the search, filter and selection process.


6. Your process is disjointed – It’s said that you are most unproductive when changing tasks, and this is definitely the case when you have a recruitment process that relies on multiple products or companies. For instance, should you have a recruitment process that involves a job board, ID and background checks, a psychometric test and/or a skills-based test, and a video interview; you can very quickly begin to lose information as it comes in from various products. This information is often printed out into a recruitment file or manually entered into a system where the information on each candidate can be collated – this whole process is time-consuming, disjointed, confusing and more importantly, expensive.

The ideal situation would be to work with a company or product that has all of these features within their system, so that you can access everything from one location, and each candidate has a digital file that auto-collates all information relevant to their application.

It is, however, important to consider your recruitment needs when looking for this type of system as you can find that many HR systems will have a recruitment module add-on that ties in some of your needs, but they are often a poor fit and offer very little flexibility; a better option would be to find a specialist recruitment solution that can integrate with your existing HR system – they often work out cheaper and more beneficial in the medium-term.


7. You aren’t talking to your candidates – Communication is key, this is particularly true when you are dealing with your candidates. If you think back to when you last applied for a job, you will probably know that it’s much worse to not know what’s going on, than it is to know that their answer is “no”. It can also be damaging to your employer brand if you don’t respond to candidates, or even if you don’t respond in a reasonable amount of time.

You should contact every candidate that applies to your company so that they know you have received their application and what the process to follow will be. You should then contact every candidate who is unsuccessful to let them know that they haven’t been selected. It is equally important to communicate effectively with the candidates that you are interested in employing, as all too often candidates will accept another job offer as a result of poor communication, or a delayed contract of employment. Automating your emails and introducing text messaging is a great solution for this, not only does it solve the communication problem completely, but it requires no additional administrative work.

To reduce the risk of losing candidates at the offer stage you need to improve your On-Boarding process. There are products available that will allow you to automate the distribution of contracts and ordering of supplies such as phones and laptops; Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software provide a flexible and customisable On-Boarding module that can not only send out a contract at the point of offer, but can handle information such as uniform size, bank details and digital contract signing, which can greatly reduce the time it takes to get a new employee starting.


8. You don’t know where the best candidates are coming from – Every good process is supported by great reporting capabilities, without the ability to report it can be very difficult to improve.

You should be able to easily report on where the best candidates are coming from, whether it’s a specific job board, an agency, a social media site, a referral or a direct application from your careers page – having this information will enable you to invest more in the areas that deliver the best results, rather than scattering your budget across a range of talent sources that have varied success rates. Using data from your reports will enable you to recruit better candidates, faster, and for less money.


9. You’re interviewing too many candidates – Interviews are a time-consuming, yet necessary evil when it comes to your hiring process. But that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with them.

Each interview, on average, takes about an hour, if you interview 8 people per role, that’s a whole working day lost to interviewing, not to mention the time it took to arrange the interviews, perhaps rebook or rearrange the interviews, or even when you have a candidate who doesn’t turn up when you’ve set an hour aside – you can quickly lose a lot of time.

An ideal situation would be to interview 2 or 3 candidates, and this is possible to achieve for every vacancy, all you have to do is utilise the technology available today.

Skills-based tests will allow you to filter down your chosen candidates from the original CV filter; you can choose the top 3 to 5 scores and decline the rest. You can then look at Psychometric tests to find the best personality fit for your organisation, and again, reject a further 2 or 3. You could even consider a final video interview to get down to the last 2 candidates who you would then invite to interview.

In total, it would take you no more than 10 minutes, per candidate, to go through all 3 of these filtering stages, and then you can allow for an hour for the face to face interview should you see that it is necessary.


10. You accept CVs in multiple formats– One of the most time-consuming parts of the recruitment process is the initial filter of all CVs. This can really start eating into your time when you are having to manually input data from paper applications or emailed-in CVs to an online system or spreadsheet in an effort to centralise the applications.

The best way to remove this problem is to digitalise your entire application process and create a standardised way of submitting an application. You can get an application form that covers all of the questions you would normally ask on a paper application, and you can also allow for word documents of the candidates CV to be uploaded; this would then be ‘parsed’ and the information would be stripped out into sections. The candidate could then fill in unanswered sections to complete their application.

This creates a standardised way for you to centralise all applications without any effort from an administrative point of view. It also ensures that you have all of the information you need from every applicant that applies.



There are many areas in the recruitment process that can become costly, especially if you recruit 10 – 15 times a year or more, as the extra time you take and the additional costs you incur soon start to add up.

There are specialist products designed to help you completely streamline your recruitment process, giving you the control to manage any level of recruitment in-house, comfortably and efficiently, attracting the best candidates, building a reputable employer brand and driving associated costs right down.

You can speak to a specialist at no cost to find out more about streamlining the recruitment processes within your organisation.

Simply call 01509 236 434 or email

Jay Staniforth

Jason has 5+ years' experience at Management level in Marketing and has worked across a range of sectors, including fashion, luxury vehicles, office equipment and software. With a BSc in Psychology, he takes an interesting angle with much of his work and has a great ability to focus on the value-add to the user in his writing.

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