Are you ready for an insider recruiter secret that can only be learned through years of experience? Here it is:


No one’s perfect.


However, that doesn’t mean you can’t strive for perfection and take a good hard look in the recruiting mirror. For recruiters, bad habits are easy to come by, hard to recognize, and even harder to break. But don’t fret — it is never too late to make improvements and try something new. Through self-evaluation, you can identify places to make some quick changes that may help performance and outcome. 

  1. Ignoring Potential

All too often recruiters (and even hiring managers) view candidates for what they are now, not what they can or will be. Look at the clay, not the pot. Are there intangibles that can bring value?  Can you recognize signs of a strong work ethic or high achiever on that resume?  A candidate doesn’t have to be a finished project.  In sports, a coach will say “Just give me an athlete” – looking for speed, size, strength, etc. — the stuff that can be coupled with great coaching to drive success.  

  1. Dismissing a Candidate too Quickly

It’s pretty common for candidates to be overlooked quickly because of a knee-jerk decision after a glance at their profile. Is it best practice to make a judgement on a candidate based only on school, or how old they are, what their profile picture looks like?  All the rage is passive candidates.  I get it… It’s what we are hired to find quite often. BUT – it may be worth the short amount of time it takes to include active candidates as part of your process.  If you’re on the fence, give a quick call. In 5-10 minutes you can uncover some key information.  You’re not obligated to interview them for a long time. Set expectations going into the call so this way if after 2 minutes you just know they are not a fit, politely dismiss the call.  It’s easy to get stuck on trying to find that perfect candidate, but it can limit your search.  Recruiting ONLY the “perfect” candidate, may be impossible. No one’s perfect- remember?

  1. Not Using Social Media Effectively for Recruiting

If you are going to use social media as a recruiter, be sure to use it correctly. Social media recruiting is much more than posting a job description to an untargeted audience and then following it up by a funny cat video. And while we’ve all been beaten to death about how social media is about building relationships, many recruiters still struggle with best practices. Think about building your community by bringing value and engaging people with your brand, both as an individual and as a potential employee of your company. Although your “community” will not necessarily be looking for a job, you want them to know who you are and what you do.   Tweet content and information they might find interesting and relevant – or even entertaining –everyone loves a good LOL.  Look at it as a marathon not a sprint.  It will not drive immediate results, but building a relationships with targeted people, can be fruitful in the long term.

  1. Being a Shrinking Violet with Hiring Managers

Have you ever gone to a kickoff meeting with a hiring manager to discuss a new open role and you are quickly relegated to the role of note taker?  You are an expert in recruiting – so why aren’t you the one driving the discussion?  Confidence is king.  Sure, many hiring managers are pretty dominant personalities, but figure out how to subtly take control of the meeting to be sure you uncover information you need, set expectations and agree upon actions and timing.  Don’t be afraid to give market data, make recommendations and talk about strategy to get them where they need to be. 

  1. Growing Complacent in Your Recruiting Ways

Always keep growing and getting better.  Be willing take an occasional look at what you are doing and think about changing things up a bit.  There’s always room for improvement if you seek it out. An experienced recruiter may have their message that they use when they call candidates down to the syllable, however, by looking at freshening things up and trying new ideas you may improve your results. And it doesn’t stop at outreach messages, try new things with every part of your recruiting from sourcing, screening, and email campaigns.