Five Things That Repel Candidates


By Jas Singh

All the data shows that we’re about to enter a period of massive talent shortage. The events of the global recession have acted as a bit of a smoke-screen to the underlying facts – more and more businesses are growing, and there is less specialist talent.

As unemployment is falling, so too are there other forces at work. More start-ups than even before. The increase of remote working. And perhaps most influential of all: the effect of social – with the internet, most candidates have made up their minds on a company waaayyy before they turn up to interview (if they decide to attend in the first place).

All this means that hiring managers need to be more careful than ever when interviewing. News travels faster than ever – your reputation is more important than even before.

Here are five things that all hiring managers must avoid:



1) Not following up quickly (or even worse not following up at all)



The head of the list – and in today’s ultra connected world simply unforgivable. Candidates often take a couple hours out of their professional working lives to attend an interview – sometime a lot more, not to mention all the time required to prepare.

It only takes ten seconds to send an email. Yet amazingly studies have shown that on average 46% of candidates describe the feedback experience as poor or very poor. Even more shocking is that often there is no feedback at all! And with the same study showing that around 64% of candidates share their feedback online through sites like the impact of this is obvious.

The best hiring managers always give feedback promptly. Their reputations are important to them.



2) Indecision

From personal experience, nothing can put off a once interested candidate than indecision. The job spec isn’t clear. We need to re-define the role. We want to see more candidates. What if we make a mistake?

Leadership requires decisiveness. No-one wants to work for an usure manager or company. Candidates are willing to accept people can make mistakes – if things don’t work but you both gave it your best try then so be it. But putting other people’s career’s at stake when you simply can’t make a decision is a sign of weakness and poor leadership.



3) One-way questioning

Despite what you see on The Apprentice, one-way interviews no longer work. The best hiring managers sell themselves as much as the best candidates. In a talent shortage market, like everything in life – if you want the very best you have to work for it.

Candidates are spoilt for choice and will be attracted most to those they connect with. Working for a serious corporate in a formal environment is no longer sexy – hiring managers need to display their personality and connect with candidates throughout the process. That requires a two-conversation, not a one-way interrogation.



4) Inflexibility

Most companies have a formal recruitment process. Operate outside it and we won’t consider you. Do you only interview in your corporate offices? Does it have be during working hours? Won’t look at people without a degree? And my personal favourite – Only hire those who pass the online “personality test”?

This inflexibility is killing your hiring power. And maybe even damaging your reputation without you even knowing it.

The worst thing for any employee is to be just a “number” – another cog in the corporate wheel. As humans we all have a desire to be wanted – to feel special and unique. It makes us feel emotional – and it’s emotions that drive actions.

By being flexible to candidates, the best hiring managers gain a massive advantage over the rest. It displays a genuine interest and respect for the other person. It goes the extra mile.



5) Not controlling the hiring process

A leaders main responsibility is to protect and support his team. My experience over my career is that people who can get others to perform are much more successful than those who only achieve individually – no matter how great their skills or experience.

And first impressions count. For any potential new hire, a hiring manager who is not the main driver of the hiring process is a big no. How do I know he is going to be a good hands-on manager post-hire if he is not 100% hands-on during the hiring process?

The best hiring manager I have ever worked for is the CEO of a 4,000 person public company. I started working with him 8 years ago when the business was only 800 employees and at the time he was the single point of contact for hiring for all senior level hires. To this day, he still speaks to everyone that is hired above VP level as part of the interview process and for key hires is still the main driver of the hiring process. In eight years, the annual staff retention of the company has been on average of 90% compared to the industry standard of now 50%.

Control your hiring process – after looking after your existing troops, it’s the most important part of any leaders job.




Many companies are struggling to hire the right people quickly. News travels lightening fast and candidates are spoilt for choice.

Hiring results can only be as good as your hiring process. Hiring managers must build a safe and reliable hiring process to increase their hiring power.

How strong is your hiring power?



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