Finding outstanding talent has long been a challenge for businesses, but the landscape in 2024 is tougher than ever. Skilled workers have their pick of opportunities, and the cost of employee turnover can hurt a company’s bottom line. In this competitive environment, you can’t afford to let mistakes in your hiring practices send great candidates straight to your competitors. The good news is that many factors driving candidates away are within your control. With a few adjustments to your hiring practices, you can vastly improve your chances of attracting and retaining the people you need to take your company to the next level. Here are eight common missteps hiring managers make — and how to avoid them. Robert Half can help you with the hiring process — learn more.
Problem: In a candidate-driven market, lowball offers won’t fly. A Robert Half survey revealed that 54% of hiring managers lost excellent candidates in 2023 due to differing employer-employee salary expectations. Today’s professionals know their worth. Companies unwilling to meet that value risk wasting everyone’s time. How to fix it: Transparency: Robert Half’s research found that 42% of workers expect to see a salary range in the job posting, and 57% would take themselves out of consideration if the employer doesn’t provide it upon request. Be upfront about salary ranges to avoid mismatched expectations.Market research: Are you sure you know the going rate for the position(s) you want to staff? Use resources like the Robert Half Salary Guide to familiarize yourself with compensation trends in your industry and location.Get creative: If you can’t offer work location and schedule flexibility, an attractive salary is even more important — plus you’ll need to consider sign-on bonuses, perks or enhanced benefits packages to convince candidates that it’s worthwhile to come into the office every day.
Problem: Bad interviews don’t just deter the candidate — they damage your reputation. Lengthy processes, disorganized interviewers and inarticulate communication reflect negatively on your company. Word travels fast, making future recruiting efforts even harder. How to fix it: Streamline: Evaluate whether every step in your interview process is necessary. Respect candidates’ time.Prepare interviewers: Ensure interviewers have training, clear questions and the candidate’s materials beforehand.Personalize: Go beyond generic questions; make use of job interview questions that help you dig deeper. Show genuine interest in what makes the candidate unique.Keep candidates in the loop: Be timely. Ghosting top talent leaves a terrible impression. A brief, respectful update is all it takes.
Problem: If your company remains rigid on in-office requirements, you’re missing out on a vast portion of the candidate pool. Nearly half (48%) of the hiring managers we surveyed lost good hires in 2023 because of remote work limitations. In today’s environment, taking a closer look at policies on remote and hybrid work options is one the best hiring practices reviews you can initiate. How to fix it: Reevaluate roles: Analyze which functions have the potential for remote or hybrid arrangements. For instance, could a customer service position’s duties be successfully performed remotely with the right software?Clear policies: Set well-defined expectations about remote work frequency and availability.Collaboration tools: Invest in the technology to make remote work seamless for employees. Tools like Slack for team messaging, Zoom for video conferencing, and a shared cloud drive (e.g., Google Drive) facilitate communication and file-sharing, regardless of location.
Problem: Overly specific job descriptions deter great applicants who lack a particular niche experience but bring exceptional transferable skills and potential. A narrow focus limits your options unnecessarily. How to fix it: Prioritize skills over credentials: Can the missing requirement be learned on the job? Perhaps under the guidance of an experienced mentor within your company?Emphasize growth potential: Look for candidates with strong ambition and a willingness to learn.Don’t go too far: On the other hand, don’t try to show your flexibility by making the job description too generic. Be specific about the unique characteristics of the role.
Problem: Top talent won’t sit idle in a market brimming with opportunities. While you deliberate, competitors swoop in. Robert Half found that 33% of hiring managers lost good candidates in 2023 because they were too slow to extend an offer. How to fix it: Improve application review: Don’t let quality resumes sit unanswered. Optimize the screening process, potentially using applicant tracking software or other tools to quickly identify the most promising candidate.Accelerate the interview process: Line up multiple in-person interviews on the same day. Using collaboration and project management tools can keep your HR, hiring managers and senior partners on the same page, improving coordination and speeding up decision-making.Benchmark salaries accurately: Benchmarking salaries using resources like the Robert Half Salary Guide prevents the slowdown that comes from having to renegotiate offers.Set timelines: Don’t be slow to schedule follow-up interviews or communicate decisions. Be transparent with candidates about the process and expected timelines. 
Problem: Focusing solely on active job seekers means you’ll miss out on a vast pool of highly qualified professionals. These “passive” candidates aren’t actively scouring job boards but might be the perfect fit for your company. Often, the most desirable hires are already employed elsewhere. Your overall strategy for implementing the best hiring practices should take this into account. How to fix it: Proactive sourcing: Don’t rely solely on inbound applications. Use platforms like LinkedIn to identify people with relevant skills and experience. Sell the opportunity: Focus on what you can offer passive candidates. Is there potential for growth, innovation or a mission they could feel passionate about? Tap your network: Set up a robust employee referral program. Your current staff may know of people already employed but who would thrive in your company culture.
Problem: Without a strong employer brand, you get lost in the shuffle. Candidates can’t envision what makes your business stand apart. If they don’t understand the allure of your brands to customers or your company culture, you’ll likely miss out on their applications altogether. How to fix it: Define your mission: Ensure the core values and mission statement you post on your website go beyond corporate boilerplate. What makes your company unique? Make this information easily accessible on your site’s career pages.Employee advocacy: Without any sense of pressure, encourage your employees to speak positively about your organization on social media if they feel so inclined.Highlight your impact: Showcase your commitment to sustainability, community outreach, diversity and inclusion, or other ethical considerations important to today’s workforce.
Problem: Unconscious bias, whether related to age, gender, race or other factors, leads to missed opportunities. Even companies with great intentions can fall into unfair hiring patterns without a conscious effort to promote DEI. How to fix it: Blind resume review: Consider scrubbing names, addresses or other identifying factors during initial screenings.Structured interviews: Ensure all candidates face the same questions to reduce subjective assessments.Bias training: Educate everyone involved in the hiring process on how to recognize and counteract their biases. Are you losing job candidates because of your hiring approach? Be honest with yourself — it’s a question every company should periodically revisit. Don’t be afraid to shake things up. Try implementing one or two changes for your next open position and track the results. You may be surprised at the positive impact even small hiring practice adjustments can make.