Recruitment Tips, Employer Trends, and Hiring Insights from CareerBuilder

Employment Branding > Social Media > Talent Acquisition

How to Lose Candidates and Alienate Prospective Employees

Alienating CandidatesLike the date who wears too much AXE body spray or the Kardashian sister who chooses the wrong dress to host the ‘X Factor’ in, we do not always make the wisest choices in our attempts to come across as attractive, engaging and professional.

What’s worse is when those choices actually prevent us from achieving those goals – and in fact bring about the opposite result. Unfortunately, the same thing can happen in the recruiting process. Because they’re not looking at recruitment from the candidates’ point of view, it’s easy for employers, recruiters and hiring managers to miss the very things they do that actually alienate candidates – rather than attract them.

Ignorance may be bliss, but unless you want to risk damaging both your employment brand and your ability to recruit top candidates, you need to be aware of the following six things you might be doing to turn candidates off.

  1. You Have a Bad Online Reputation: Today’s job candidates are more resourceful than ever, checking sites like, Jobvent, Yahoo Answers or Vault to see how real people rate the companies they’re interested in as employers. Find out what employees are saying about your organization by running a search on these sites or conducting a general search on Google. You should get a feel for how employees perceive you – and, as a result, what candidates are hearing about you – and from there, create a strategy to manage your online employer brand reputation.
  2. Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly: As I pointed out last month, mobile websites are no longer ‘bleeding edge’. If your website isn’t optimized to accommodate the growing number of job candidates who are searching for jobs from a tablet or smart phone, you’re giving off the impression that your company is behind the times. Even worse, you’re likely driving them away from your opportunities completely – and toward more mobile-friendly pastures (a.k.a. your competitors’ websites).
  3. Typos Abound In Your Job Posting: You know the way you feel about candidates who submit resumes and cover letters teeming with spelling or grammatical errors? Candidates feel the same way when they see the same errors in job postings. To them, a sloppily created job posting is a red flag that the organization cares less about finding the right candidate and more about finding ANY candidate.(For more job posting tips, check out 7 Steps to Must-Read Job Postings.)
  4. Your Application Process Sucks: It is estimated that as many as 34 percent of candidates who try to apply for jobs don’t complete the application process – simply because the application process is too much of a hassle. Something as small as having a bad “Apply Now” link is enough to turn candidates off, according to CareerBuilder internal research. Another common job candidate complaint: a time-consumer application process. When was the last time you assessed your application process from an outsider’s perspective? Doing so might provide some insight as to why you’re not getting the quantity of applicants you believe you deserve.
  5. You Have No Social Media Presence: A recent study found that 54 percent of candidates rely on social and professional networks for job research, indicating a huge opportunity for companies to use these platforms to their advantage. The more information you can push out through a company branded Facebook page, Twitter account or company blog, for example, the more information they will have about your organization and culture as they apply to jobs with your company. Not only does it save you the time of explaining what it is your company does during the interview process, but it also saves hiring managers and recruiters time weeding through resumes. With the right information, unqualified or irrelevant candidates will decide for themselves if they aren’t the right for the company before they apply.
  6. You Ask Bizarre Interview Questions: You might think you’re being clever by asking candidates what kind of animal they’re most like or how many uses for paper clips they can come up with; however, candidates rarely feel the same way. More than likely, these questions will only serve to elicit useless information from the candidate at best and, at worst, turn the candidate off entirely. Unless having multiple uses for paper clips is relevant to the job, stick to questions that speak to the specific position.
Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.


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