Top Three Mistakes In Your Recruitment Practices – And How To Fix Them

Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the privilege to work with some big names (as well as some smaller enterprises too) and a common pattern has emerged. The same business complaints in recruitment keep coming up. These complaints revolved around the length of time it takes to hire, the cost associated with each hire and the quality of the hires.

Ask any HR Director or CEO and they will tell you that their people are their greatest asset; however, a constant challenge is attracting, finding and keeping the right people. HR are often failing to deliver on recruitment - a vital business function, with the business leaders often complaining that HR (or the Talent Acquisition function) just isn’t working for them, they don’t understand why, their business struggles with the lack of talent in key roles, customer experience suffers and its costing them. For some reason their recruitment appears to be broken, adding very little value to the process and or just seen as get in the way.

Many companies talk about people being their biggest and most valuable asset so let’s put that to the test. Below are my top three mistakes I see being made by companies everyday:

Mistake Number One: The candidates have been forgotten in the rush to automate

It seems hard to believe but 10 years ago many companies had a manual, paper based systems and recruitment process and job boards such as Seek had only just arrived. In the last decade we have seen an unprecedented move to new Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and to recruitment teams in-house away from agencies. The automation of not only job applications, but the process itself. Gone are the days of a high touch human process, has now been replaced by videos, online psychology tests and algorithms (AI) for screening and selection of candidates. Often candidates (even those successful through many steps and hoops) have very little human interaction and a very poor experience.

Clients often tell me that they “have a process”! But their process is poor for the candidate. Employers, in their rush to automate HR and Talent Acquisition functions seem to have forgotten the most important person the candidate or employee (and often Hiring Managers) and the experience they receive as part of the recruitment process. Candidate experience or CUX as I call it, is essential.

The need to automate is key – but you need to automate the right things. “Automate the mundane and add value on the people aspects of your process” is what I say. Don’t forget candidates are your customers too and should be treated as such. With respect, feedback and a timely and polite process.

Even if they don’t get the job you want them to have a pleasant experience and feel good about your organisation (again candidates are your customers too).

A poor process and experience do little for your brand in the market place or engagement with a new or potential employee.


Mistake Number Two: Recruitment has been dumbed down and there is little internal capability

With recruitment you need to look at your process (map it out), your touch points (human contact) and correspondence. In each of these steps you need to evaluate if there is value added at each step of the recruitment value chain for either the candidate, the hiring manager or even the vendor (recruitment agency). If not HR and the recruitment team are just getting in the way!

The other step you need to evaluate is whether your recruitment team is a team of administrators, just passing on paper (e.g. 50 to 70 CV’s going to hiring manager!) or a team who add value at each stage (e.g. Just send over the best four CV’s which have been screened).

I’ve seen it time and again where an organisation has automated and bought a new ATS and in turn have reduced the heads in the HR team. The remaining team members are called “Recruiters” but often have no background in the industry and are not allowed to do much more than administration. Often because of a combination of lack of Capacity (over worked) or due to lack of Capability (not a recruitment specialist).


Mistake Number Three – Organisational mindset, Recruitment is viewed as an administrative function and not a strategic enabler

Because of the above (a poor process and the lack of internal capability) many companies don’t view recruitment as a strategic enabler or a corner stone to their talent acquisition. Recruitment should be a critical function for building block for culture, engagement and productivity and leadership that we all talk about and aspire to.

In order for any company to go “From good to great” (Jim Collins 2008) they need to hire and retain the best people in the first place. Recruitment is your strategic enabler, not an administrative process and should be treated as such.

HR in this respect should be a value-add centre not a cost centre and HR needs to show a return on investment hiring amazing talent for the organisation.

However, many organisations treat the symptoms but not the cause of poor recruitment practices. Often stemming from a lack of heads (FTE) and lack of Capability (True recruitment Specialist) in the function. Often driven by budget. I call this “The fish on the beach scenario!”

Think Tsunami - they are busy looking at the fish on the beach, whilst on the horizon a tsunami is coming.

So How to Fix This?

Well you really need to start with what you are trying to achieve? (Strategy) and a review of where you are at right now

If you’d like a copy of my Recruitment Value Chain Checklist, or a copy of the Recruitment Audit Compass (and the sixteen facets your HR need to review). Please contact me at

James Foxall