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Below is a tiny snippet based on our upcoming workshop HR is the new IT.

(N.B. It would not surprise me if the below seems obvious to you if you are a seasoned HR professional.  Remember, the HR is the new IT workshop is aimed at non-HR team leaders, managers and executives).

Mistake #1 – Becoming emotionally attached to a candidate.

We’ve all been there.  You’re interviewing someone you really feel an emotional connection with.  It may be because you can sense the greatness in them the tests and employer references failed to reveal, it may be because he or she is a single parent that has suffered a spirit-crushing run of bad luck.  The thing is that neither one is a good reason to employ someone.  And chances are we may become the latest post script in their string of “bad luck”.  Sympathy is not a good reason to hire someone but because we are all human beings, we have all fallen into this trap at one time or another (there, I said it).

Mistake #2 – Not defining a timeline around our operational need.

Chances are, we wouldn’t be hiring someone if there wasn’t some extra work to be done.  Perhaps someone resigned.  Perhaps we won a new client or took on a new project.  Whatever the reason, we need an extra pair of hands and we know roughly when we need it.  In other words we have an “ideal start date” to work towards.

Between now and this faceless-pair-of-hands’ start date, there is much to be done: job description, advertisement, interviews, assessments, offer letters, negotiations, the lucky candidate’s notice period, immigration (possibly), on-boarding and a handover period.  Whew.  (And to save space, I missed out a few important steps!)

We have a rough idea how long each of these steps typically takes.  If we add up all that time and add that to the current date, will it match the ideal start date?  Unless we define the timeline as soon as the need has been agreed, we will never know!  The answer may only be clear in hindsight, one or two weeks (or even months) after the ideal start date has passed!  Again, don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

(Incidentally, we have a great, free and easy tool for clients that can help planning timelines for recruitment projects).

Mistake #3 – Undermining our employer brand.

No matter how we have defined our ideal candidate, the greater the number of qualified applicants we attract, the better a candidate we will be likely to end up with.  This is a matter of mathematical fact.

So let’s be clear, we want people to apply and we want people that really want to work for us.  A candidates’ perception of our company as a potential employer matters, and it matters more every year due to the shifting expectations of employees, from boomers and Gen X’ers to Gen Y’ers and… whatever the next cohort is called!

Remember that the application and assessment process may be the very first interaction a candidate has ever had with our company.  Regardless how familiar you are as an employee or owner, the candidate is likely at the other end of the spectrum, having little or no knowledge of the company.  (If you are in the hedge funds business for example, it is somewhat unlikely that the candidate has ever worked with you as a customer!).  First impressions count.  If you treat the candidate with professionalism, dignity and respect -acknowledging their application, giving them lots of information about the application and assessment process, a timeline for your consideration, and a timely and respectfully worded decision – chances are that they will say good things about you privately to their friends and colleagues, increasing the value of your employer brand.

If on the other hand their first experience is to be called three weeks after their application, for an interview that day, at a location they cannot find, blindsided with a difficult aptitude test, interviewed for ten minutes without any introduction to the job or the company, and ignored for six weeks till they finally follow up on the application only to be told they were not successful without any indication as to why… what do you think will have happened to your employer brand as a result?

Please feel free to leave a comment or question.  If you would be interested in further information on the HR is the new IT workshop, email us today on


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