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Recruiting Red Flags: What’s Turning Them Off That You May Not Even Know About

Date Published: October 06, 2022 | Last Updated:November 28, 2023 | By Suraiya Sarwar
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In today’s competitive job market, employers can’t afford to provide anything but a very positive candidate experience. Most, of course, try to do exactly that. But some fail without even realizing it.

What are the red flags that may be turning off your job candidate? Learn more below.

Being Coy About Salary

Salary and benefits these days play a large role when it comes to candidates’ decisions to accept — or even apply for — a job. Candidates are oftentimes turned off by companies that don’t openly share a salary range and try to cloak the lack of transparency with language like “we offer competitive wages.” As one candidate says: “Every time this has happened to me in the past, the wage were well below competitive market rates.”

Not being open and transparent is detrimental to both employees and employers — make sure you’re optimizing your recruitment efforts by providing a realistic preview to help candidates decide whether to begin the talent acquisition process.

Continually Advertising for the Same Position

Candidates say that continually seeing what appears to be the same job advertising over and over again can be a big turnoff.

If your company is growing and adding more people in the same role, that’s great — but be upfront about that in your communication materials. Otherwise, to candidates, it raises red flags that the culture of your organization may not be appealing to employees and that your talent acquisition process is a revolving door.

Vague, Unclear, or Very Broad Job Descriptions

Before applying for a job, candidates want to have a good idea of what, exactly, they will be doing. When job descriptions are vague or overly broad they send a signal that suggests:

  • The company’s not entirely sure what they’re looking for.
  • The position will be a dumping ground for all kinds of tasks, most of them tasks that others don’t want to do.
  • The expectations for the job are unreasonably high.

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Be as specific as possible about the position and what it will entail, providing candidates with a realistic job preview.

Non-inclusive Language in Job Posting Materials, or Company Communications

Sometimes the language used in job postings and advertisements suggests a bias in terms of the type of candidates the company is looking for.

The use of terms like “digital native,” or “recent graduate,” for instance, may suggest that older candidates are unlikely to be considered.

Instead of using descriptive terms, be specific. For example, replace “ninja” with “expert” — replace “digital native” with a specific indication of the technologies the candidate should have experience with.

Words and Phrases That Carry a Double Meaning

“Work hard/play hard” — we expect a lot of our employees; in fact, our expectations are far out of line with our salaries.

“Self-starter” — don’t expect a lot of training or support; you’re on your own.

“Great earning potential” — we don’t pay a lot, but there’s always a chance that someday we might.

“Like a family” — most families are fairly dysfunctional, so no thanks…

Critique and edit your job postings to remove language that may send negative or mixed messages.

Too Many Interview Rounds, or a Process That Simply Takes Too Long

Employers can’t really afford to take it slow when it comes to the hiring process today. If they do, it’s highly likely that candidates will have found opportunities elsewhere. Keep in mind that candidates are likely considering multiple companies—potentially even multiple offers.

A process that takes too long, or becomes too grueling because of the multiple interviews, tasks, and pre-tests required, will send candidates running.

Being Treated Poorly During the Interview Process

When potential employers — and their HR representatives and managers — respond slowly, or not at all, during the hiring process that doesn’t bode well for how communications will flow after hire. In this hiring environment, candidates continue to report being “ghosted” by companies they’re interested in, prompting them to engage in ghosting themselves.

But there are other ways that candidates can get a negative vibe from the companies they’re interviewing with. Interactions with rude, condescending, or dismissive staff people, for instance. Interviewers who appear bored or uninterested. Interviews being canceled, postponed, or rescheduled.

Keep in mind that the talent acquisition process is like a courtship and your company will be judged in much the same way that personal relationships are judged. Take steps to ensure that your process is warm and welcoming and that candidates are treated the way you’d treat your closest friends and colleagues.

For reliable, comprehensive background checks with quick turnaround times, choose AccurateReach out today to find out more about how we can help with all your hiring needs.


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