The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Recruiters

good habitsWhen it was first published in 1989, Stephen Covey’s ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People‘, a business and self-help book, instantly became a top seller.

Apparently, by preparing readers for a change in mindset and then introducing the 7 habits of highly effective people to that mindset, Covey helps readers to apply the ‘habits’ to their own working lives and promote pivotal change and growth in their career progression*deep breath*. Bill Clinton even invited Covey to counsel him on how to integrate its teachings into his presidency.

But as always, we like to do things a little bit differently here at Social Talent, and so we decided to flip the idea on its head and give it a good ‘ol recruitment spin. The result?

The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Recruiters of course! A collection of our biggest pet peeves when it comes to the industry we know and love.

1. Complaining there are no good candidates.

ostrichWell have you taken the time to really look? Have you searched your database? Have you written a Boolean string with all the keywords you require and advanced searched LinkedIn, Monster or Jobsite with it?

Have you searched Twitter? Have you contacted previous candidates you’ve made contact with and asked them if they know of anyone suitable? Have you gotten in touch with those people who applied for similar postings in the past? You get the idea. Stop being unimaginative!

2. Spamming candidates

i.e Using LinkedIn to send InMails to everyone who matches 1 keyword in your job spec and then, to add insult to injury, not tailoring that contact to the individuals they are reaching out to.

3. Falsely connecting

You know what’s not cool? Pretending to have “done business together” with every half decent candidate on LinkedIn in a connection request. Just stop.

lying4. Describing every job as a “Great Opportunity

This is a great opportunity. You will have the opportunity to experience X. You can take the opportunity to learn Y. This is your opportunity to Z. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity“.

Sound familiar?

Give it a break! Be imaginative when writing your job specs. Ask yourself “What can I say to make this job sound irresistible to potential candidates“? How about: “This is a kick-ass job” or “you’ll gain in valuable experience in an exciting field” or “be apart of an award winning team” or “come and work for a fantastic, hard-working but fun-loving company“. I hate to use clichés but please, think outside the box. Search “great opportunity” in Google. 33, 100,000 people are using the same phrase to advertise their job postings. Don’t be one of them!

5. Trusting the job spec

I.E. searching for and rigidly sticking to every keyword included in the job spec. If you were asked to find someone with say 5 years experience, would you really discount someone with 4 and a half? If you were told the right person needed to have a 2.1 in their degree, would you really discount someone with a 2.2 but with extremely relevant and sizable experience in the field? I didn’t think so. Understand what’s needed. Don’t overlook the perfect applicant for the sake of silly details.

pricetag6. Listing the salary for every job as “salary negotiable

Imagine if you walked into a grocery store intent on buying a loaf of bread. The price sticker on the bread says “price negotiable”. At the till you offer 20 cents; a perfectly reasonable offer in your opinion, however the checkout supervisor then informs you they will only take a minimum of $1 to start. How aggrevating would that be? WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST SAY THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE?!

Yeah… Job-seekers feel the same way about those annoying salary get-out clauses.

7. Thinking that posting all jobs on LinkedIn and Twitter is ‘social recruiting’

SOCIAL SPAMStating “We’re hiring for job X, with Y responsibilities and salary Z” on a social networking site, is like marching into coffee shop full of random strangers with a sandwich board bearing the same message. Target people you know are right for the role, not just any old Tom, Dick or Harry! Go to Twitter/LinkedIn and advance search for suitable people. Seek out the right people by using a lead. Ask for help on Twitter by tweeting those who may know someone just right.

The same can be said for LinkedIn. Reach out to your connections in that industry and ask them if they know of anyone fitting. Use social networks to connect you to the right people, not the world and his wife.

Are you guilty of any of the 7 habits? Maybe you know someone who is? Share your pet peeves when it comes to ineffective recruiters in the comments below.

See more on the Social Talent Blog

About the Author: Siofra Pratt is a Digital Marketing Executive at Social Talent, which she originally joined as an intern in May 2013. In her current role, Siofra manages inbound marketing & content creation, social media management and advertising for Social Talent and is the voice of the Social Talent Blog.  A former banker, Siofra holds an honours degree in Commerce and an honours Masters in Creative Advertising.  Follow her on Twitter @sioffy or connect with her on LinkedIn.



  • Leah Bennett

    I'm sure we have all been guilty of at least one of these mortal sins…It's not about what we have done…everyone has a learning curve…it's what we do to improve that really counts! This is a great article and every recruiter/hr manager and hiring manager should read, post and review on a regular basis. Don't be the one that makes these obvious and career damaging mistakes! Thank you Siofra for telling the truth! Going to adjust my ad right now!

  • Pingback: The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Recruiters « BIZCATALYST360°


Watch Our Webinar 728x90