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Why you’re not hiring top candidates…and what to do about it!

Many clients come to us because they’re filling their positions quickly and efficiently…with the wrong people. And we know that a bad hire is sometimes worse than no hire at all. Instead of “just” an open position, you need to ease out the bad hire, and then start the process all over again. What’s going on here?

Using our insights into the software and tech industries, we’ve put together seven reasons why you’re not attracting the right candidates, and how you can turn things around.

1: It’s a branding issue. In order to attract rock star candidates, you need to know your brand, monitor your brand, and cultivate your brand. The candidates you want to attract are savvy: they’re looking at what your current and former employees are saying about you on Glassdoor. They’re combing LinkedIn for profiles with your company’s name in them, and seeing what’s there. You need to proactively work on your employment brand, by looking where your candidates are looking and making the necessary changes. As a start, your team should be well-represented on LinkedIn, and their profiles should be sharp and engaging.

2: You’re strapped for resources. Engaging with top talent isn’t a one-time effort, especially when you’re looking to fill high-level, mission-critical, or hard-to-find positions. You don’t land a superstar employee with one contact; talent engagement is a pipeline, and you need to be working that pipeline even when you have no open positions to fill. In speaking with our clients, we find that this is one of the top reasons they retain an outside recruitment firm: they need to keep the candidate dialogue going even when they’re fully staffed, and they simply don’t have time for that.

3: Your job descriptions are lackluster and vague. Many companies struggle to write engaging, meaningful job descriptions, or they just don’t see the job description as being that important. But in today’s job marketplace, job descriptions are marketing collateral. They’re the first impression you give to candidates, and they need to be great…or the very people you’re trying to attract will move on to your competitors. Ask yourself whether your job descriptions are an accurate representation of the specific position, and of what it’s like to work at your company. Most importantly, do they motivate people to want this job? If not, it’s time to revamp them.

4: You’re not selling your company and/or the position. Again, this is a big mindset shift for a lot of our clients. Hiring is sales. You’re selling the competitive advantages of this specific position, and of working for your company, or on this specific product, or with this specific team. That’s the reality of the software and tech industries today, and your position listings need to match that reality.

5: Candidates are losing interest during the hiring process. In the recruitment industry, we know that the moment a client “cools off,” your chances of hiring them take a nosedive. Many companies don’t keep candidates engaged during the hiring process. Those great candidates are then lost to competing offers, or they simply lose interest due to a lull in the interviewing process. Worse, they may see the lull as a sign that the company initially offered the position to someone else, and no one likes feeling like the second choice. Many candidates are afraid to follow up too many times, for fear of becoming annoying. Combatting this problem involves managing expectations: at every step in the hiring process, your candidates should know what’s happening next, and when. Be explicit: “We’ll let you know by noon on Friday if you’re moving on to the next step. Feel free to ping us if you haven’t heard anything by then.”

6: You’re in denial. Especially if you—or your hiring staff—lived through the dotcom bubble or the 2008 recession, you may be living in a fantasy world where employers have the upper hand. You may be assuming that candidates will wait forever while you make a decision, or that candidates will respond to a lukewarm reception from you during the interview. If that’s the case, think again. It’s definitely a candidate’s market these days, and your hiring process needs to show that. When you have a superstar candidate coming for an interview, you need to see the interview as a recruitment tool. Make a strong pitch for why this candidate should choose your company over your competitors.

7: You’re over-relying on the resume to screen candidates. It’s true that the resume provides a fairly standardized way of comparing a group of candidates. But the best candidates don’t always write the best resumes, and you’re likely to be swayed by “name-dropping,” focusing on candidates who went to prestigious universities or worked at big-name companies, whether or not they have the skills you need. Candidate screening involves much more than the resume, and you should consider additional steps such as a short phone interview, a coding test, or a standard set of written questions for each candidate.

At Search Consultants, we specialize in the full-spectrum recruitment and hiring process. We’re a consulting firm, not just an external recruitment firm, and we stand behind our promise to deliver results, in the form of highly-qualified candidates for your positions.

If you need an ally when it comes to recruiting and hiring top talent, e-mail us today at, or give us a call at 919-590-9855.

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