Alex Hyett
Alex Hyett
CEO and Founder of GrowRecruit

5 Mistakes Unsuccessful Recruiters Make All the Time

Here’s the hard truth… Candidates don’t like you.

It’s nothing personal, it’s an occupational hazard of being a recruiter. No matter how great your intentions 90% of candidates will ignore you.

It might not be your fault, the problem is the other 20 recruiters that have contacted your ideal candidate this week, have made one of these 9 mistakes below.

Improve your chances of getting a response by avoiding these common mistakes recruiters make.

1. Not understanding the job description

Job Description

This has to be the main reason that your message is heading straight for the trash. The position you are hiring for just isn’t right for the candidate.

As a recruiter, it is your job to know the job inside out. However, many recruiters just cast out a wide net and hope it will catch someone who is the correct fit. Or worse they don’t understand the difference between the skills they are hiring for.

I see this a lot with technical roles such as for Software Developers. What do you think a candidate thinks when they see a message like this?


I have been looking at your profile and you look like you would be a great fit for a position I am hiring for.

The role is for a Senior Developer at a company building cutting-edge apps with Node.Js…”

It is not the message itself which is bad but when this is sent to a candidate with no Node.js experience or even JavaScript experience, it does leave the candidate wondering if the recruiter even read their profile.

I have even seen this with Senior Developers being contacted about Junior roles.

If you can’t be bothered to read a candidate’s profile before contacting them. Don’t expect the candidate to bother reading your message.

You can even burn bridges by doing this an ruin your chances of hiring them for a different position in the future.

2. Not being upfront about salary


This is particularly important when trying to source candidates who already have a job. Recruitment is predominantly a sales job, and therefore it is your duty to clearly promote the benefits of what you are selling.

Your salary should be at least in line with market rates in your area, so there is no harm in being honest about it from the start. If they are too low then you are going to have a hard time trying to find good talent anyway.

A candidate who is currently OK at their current company is unlikely to engage with you unless you give them a propelling reason to.

You might be worried that advertising too low a salary will put off prospective candidates. This is rarely the case and only really happens if you are contacting the wrong candidates in the first place.

It is better to know at this early stage that a candidate will say no, than down the line when you have already spent time and resources with interviews.

If you are unsure of what you should be offering in remuneration then you can use websites such as GlassDoor to see what the market rates are. Even better if GlassDoor has the candidates current company and job description listed.

For example, a Lead Software Developer in London has an average salary of £56,720 with a max of £80,000. Depending on their experience you can probably guess where they are in this range and tailor your offer appropriately.

3. Advertising in the wrong places


LinkedIn is great for finding candidates but it isn’t always the best place to get in touch with people or advertise for positions. As mentioned in point 1, recruiters already bombard potential candidates on a daily basis on LinkedIn.

To avoid being lost in the sea of messages you would be better off finding another means to contact the candidate.

Email is one way, provided it isn’t freely available on LinkedIn otherwise it is likely to be just as miss used.

For developer’s one of the best ways to contact them is via their personal blog. If they post regularly as a lot of great developers do then send them a message via the contact form on the website. Why not compliment them on one of their blog posts while you are at it. You are much more likely to get a better response.

As with sales you need to go where the people are and think more like a marketer than a recruiter. So instead of posting job ads on LinkedIn why not try StackOverflow or GitHub instead.

4. Promoting the wrong perks to candidates


All jobs come with perks of some sort of another but some perks can actually be a deterrent to some candidates.

For example, take free beers on a Friday, which is one perk a lot of tech companies offer. This is a nice plus for young developers who haven’t got anything better to do on a Friday night.

However, what about the more experienced candidates who have a young family at home that they want to go back to. What is supposed to be a perk can sometimes be seen as a way to keep you in the office longer on a Friday.

You would be better off promoting the generous holiday package, paternity leave or pension to more experienced prospects.

5. Not understanding your candidate’s motivations


If your prospective candidate is in a job they enjoy, with a great boss, good pay and great work-life balance they are unlikely going to want to leave.

To get a prospective candidate through the door you need to understand why they might want to leave their current job in the first place.

Maybe they want more responsibility, or want to do more of what they love and less of the managerial stuff. If you are lucky enough for a prospect to respond why not find out what might make them move.

What are the biggest mistakes you think recruiters make? Let us know in the comments below.