Where you shouldn’t look for candidates

In today’s competitive employment market, cutting-edge employers and recruitment experts like you are looking for the sharpest, keenest and best-fitting candidates out there. To find them, you’ve no doubt been scouring your mind for ever-more imaginative ways to widen your candidate pool.

Many of you will have been experimenting, for instance, with the power of technology and social media to deliver text and email alerts for relevant jobs, and thinking laterally to ensure your career sites and job listings reach a wider audience.

Unfortunately, as some recruiters become increasingly creative in their pursuit of untapped candidate sources, they are in danger of falling into some nasty traps. Here are five worst-case scenarios:


Falling in love

In recent years, some recruiters have run the equivalent of speed-dating sessions for graduates, where instead of an open day, hopeful employees attempt to impress recruiters in a short space of time. These events aim to give young people the chance to get in front of top employers or recruiters and pitch their talents. This can be a great way to unearth lots of hidden talent and to capture CVs that may be of use in the future. It can go horribly wrong on several counts, however. Namely, if you don’t keep a professional head on your shoulders and you end up having flirty conversations with the best-lookers, or lose focus with the long line of young hopefuls trying to sell themselves.


Being seen as patronising

In the current economic climate, some industries have been hit by huge swathes of redundancies, particularly the Armed forces and the public, banking and construction sectors. These workers may not have come from the industry you are recruiting for, but many of them will have transferable skills that you could be tapping into. Beware of being patronising, however. Don’t insult a highly qualified or experienced worker by approaching them for a lower grade job in the assumption that they will be grateful. Use communication to understand and manage their expectations.

Minority search

Discrimination laws mean that not only are people with disabilities or from racial and ethnic minorities protected by law, but they are also now emerging as an untapped workforce. How you go about attracting a workforce that might not have found you, however, requires professionalism and an understanding of the law. It’s all very well posting relevant jobs with representative bodies, websites and publications, but it’s important that you word vacancies carefully to avoid discriminating against others.


Being out of date

Any recruiter worth his salt is using social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to winkle out so-called passive candidates. But there are limits. It is verging on desperate to phone someone at work, for instance, because you saw a posting on a forum dating back five years ago. You will certainly find scores of potential candidates if you Google for CVs or look on sites such as Pinterest, but again, you could alienate someone who is now quite senior if you haven’t checked your dates and facts. Remember, social networks are not the only source of finding candidates, and are not always the most reliable source.


Thinking too far outside the box

 Some organisations use off-the-wall creative campaigns to successfully drive traffic to their career site. In the USA, for instance, gaming giants Caesars Entertainment and Harrah’s, sponsor annual poker championships for MBA students. Caesars claims that this one-of a-kind recruitment event can draw more than 600 MBA students from top business schools across the country. While it would certainly attract bright minds, it’s not the sort of event that would bring in the right calibre of candidate for every industry.

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