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5 surefire ways to scare off candidates

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With Halloween behind us, the one-day excuse for scaring the heebie-jeebies out of people is gone for another year. Yet hiring managers continue to scare off candidates all year round by going about the process wrong. To help you get it right, Human Resources magazine has compiled a list of five things not to do when hiring candidates – unless you want them running for the hills.

1. Have an endlessly long hiring process

Hiring is hard. No one will suggest that finding the perfect match in a limited amount of time is an easy feat. Even candidates are aware of the challenge, and will understand that the process can take a while. Having said that, a recent survey confirmed what most experienced hiring managers already suspected: there are limits to their patience.

When faced with a lengthy hiring process, 39% of respondenst said they would lose interest and pursue other roles. Additionally, 23% indicated they’d need to hear back within one week after an initial interview in order to stay interested.

2. Ask them what their hiding

Some interview questions are better than others, and some of the best ones help your candidate open up. “What are you hiding” isn’t one of them. Although you could consider this question to be a curveball that keeps candidates on their toes, more likely than not they will simply have no idea how to answer it.

If they are hiding something, they’re not going to tell you. If they’re not, they will leave the interview thinking they’d rather not work for such a paranoid employer.

3. Request they complete a full project

Whether to strengthen their interiew process, or to minimise the impact of unconscious bias, plenty of employers ask candidates to complete a small project during the hiring stage. Some dedicated online platforms even allow hiring managers to create an initial shortlist, purely based on candidates’ skills.

Although having a candidate show, rather than tell you what they can do can be a great way to find the right match, it is paramount that you’re not getting candidates to provide free work. When potential hires are asked to complete a genuine project and hand it over before they’re even hired, chances are they’re going to run the other way.

To prevent that from happening, make sure any work you ask candidates to complete is clearly fictitious and confirm that they maintain ownership of it.

4. Ask them about their pregnancy plans

Whether government laws or company policies consider it appropriate or not to ask female candidates about their pregnancy plans – it is not. Admittedly, female employees taking time off to give birth can put a temporary strain on a company. But unless you’re running a sinking ship, it’s nothing you can’t handle.

Even if candidates don’t have any plans of becoming pregnant, simply being asked about it can be enough to make them walk out your office to never come back, since no one wants to work for an employer who discriminates.

5. Conduct the same interview multiple times

As mentioned before, candidates can be pretty understanding people. They get that after meeting you,  you’d like them to have a chat with the team leader, senior management, or some future colleagues. They’ll even get that due to busy days and scheduling issues, this can’t all happen on the same day.

What they will not appreciate, is having to make several trips to your office, only to be asked the exact same questions by different people. Some overlap is unavoidable, but if your interview process consists of multiple stages featuring different interviewers, make sure you coordinate which topics they’ll cover with the candidate to prevent questions being repeated.

ALSO READ: Can you scare staff into being more productive?

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