5 key hiring ‘blind spots’ and how to eliminate them

Recruitment is no easy task, but failing to address limiting weaknesses in your hiring strategy will make it that much harder

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Any experienced driving instructor will tell you that a failure to check your blind spots can result in you missing something you really should have seen. Much like learning to drive a car, recruiting employees can have many potential blind spots that can cause a hiring manager to miss something crucial. With the wrong approach, your ideal candidate may never make it to interview, let alone pass a probation period.

As director of talent acquisition myself, I’m constantly trying to avoid our team from missing out on talent and making false-positive or false-negative hiring decisions because of any of these blind spots in the sourcing, evaluation, and onboarding phases of recruitment.

Businesses with unnecessarily restrictive or inflexible hiring practices are always prone to these mistakes. These can limit a recruiting team’s ability to secure candidates who would otherwise be a perfect fit. Indeed, findings show that 76% of hiring managers admit that attracting the right candidates is their biggest recruitment obstacle.

So, just what are these hiring blind spots? Here are five key factors to look out for and how you can eliminate them from your recruiting process.

1. Restricting your search area

Never close a position until you’ve sourced a sufficiently diverse pool of candidates.

Too many employers are still limiting their search strategies to specific geographies — despite the availability of remote and hybrid working practices making it possible to adopt a location-agnostic approach. A restriction on your hiring by location is a restriction on success.

Your organisation may have skills gaps that local candidates are simply unable to fill. But, by embracing a global-first approach — removing geographical barriers from your hiring strategy — you significantly expand the talent pool and increase your chances of uncovering the perfect candidate for a role.

Businesses must also avoid limiting themselves with narrow sourcing channels. To identify and attract more diverse candidates, you should consider factors such as competencies and actual skills as key influences as opposed to relying on experience and education degrees.

Weigh up ‘coachability’ and skillset, rather than fixating on the brands a candidate has worked for previously. You shouldn’t be swayed too much by big names unless you’re certain that a candidate directly contributed to their success. Promoting roles internally can also diversify representation for senior roles (helping to overcome any entrenched historical bias externally for these positions).

2. Creating an uneven playing field

Try to make sure the balance of power is not disproportionately skewed towards the employer.

You don’t want to risk making the experience daunting and intimidating for the candidate. Remember, you’re trying to attract top talent. This is as much an opportunity for a candidate to assess a potential employer as it is the other way around.

With such a power imbalance, the candidate may not be presenting the best version of themselves during an interview, which means their performance may not accurately represent their suitability for the role. In this scenario, a successful or unsuccessful interview may not be an indicator of success or failure in the role itself.

To redress the power balance, it’s important to manage candidate expectations from the outset while giving them ample opportunity to ask questions during the interview and share their feedback via candidate surveys.

It’s essential that you respect your candidates’ time. This may mean accommodating time zone differences when scheduling interviews, giving them sufficient information to prepare for the interviews, and always providing feedback.

3. Misunderstanding what your candidate wants

Remote’s recent Global Benefits Report highlighted that 60% of candidates consider employee benefits to be a key differentiator when assessing one employer against another.

That said, many employers still fail to understand what their candidates want, offering the kind of ‘benefits’ that potential employees don’t consider valuable.

The best employers establish a core benefits package that provides tangible value, and that often includes benefits like flexible working policies, wellbeing support, employee training, and professional development opportunities that don’t cost much for a company but make a difference for its employees.

An in-office ping pong table or a ‘pizza Friday’ policy, for example, is rarely the kind of benefit employees will prioritise when considering an offer.

4. Overlooking the importance of diversity

While businesses are increasingly embracing diversity, many mistakenly assume that simply adding more diversity to their workforce is sufficient.

It’s about empowering those individuals to find their voice in the company and influence its overall direction. This involves hiring with diversity in mind for all positions, including senior and director-level roles.

By committing to DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging) not only in hiring but also in your style of leadership and your organisational culture, companies can realise the benefits of a truly diverse workforce. This makes the business more attractive to potential employees and fostering a progressive culture of innovation that introduces multiple unique perspectives.

Moreover, it’s equally important to offer benefits that facilitate DEIB in the workplace, and this goes beyond ensuring equal pay for work of equal value.

Consider your parental leave and flexible working policies, for example: do you offer fair and equal parental leave across all locations? Do you platform effective Employee Resource Groups aligned to the backgrounds and experiences of team members? Does your flexible working policy provide special accommodation to take into account the needs of employees with disabilities?

5. Failing to invest in retention strategies

It’s estimated that replacing a salaried employee could cost up to 6 to 9 months of their annual salary. But, employers often overlook the importance of a robust retention strategy following the successful onboarding of a new hire. Investing in retention is every bit as important as sourcing and embedding new talent — if not more so.

A high employee turnover can contribute to low morale, decreased productivity, and an increase in overall costs. Almost two-thirds of employers agree that reducing turnover increases motivation within the organisation. Businesses that meaningfully invest in employee retention also spend significantly less on recruitment and training.

Several factors contribute to a high retention rate, of course — with recognition and rewards programs being a key driver — but providing a clear pathway for employee development is paramount; empowering employees to upskill is key to driving engagement, though development is about continuous coaching rather than simply periodic training.

By recognising and removing these ‘blind spots’ from your hiring strategy, you stand a better chance of not only attracting but retaining great talent, removing unnecessary restrictions and limitations and restoring the balance of power between employee and employer.

If you think your hiring strategy might be suffering from short-sightedness, review these five key factors and ensure you’re not starving yourself of great talent.

headshot of Anastasia Pshegodskayais
Anastasia Pshegodskaya

Anastasia Pshegodskaya is Director of Talent Acquisition at Remote, one of the most fast-paced unicorn companies in the world. Before this, she built and led the global sourcing team at GitLab, while previously driving recruiting initiatives at Fortune 500 companies Uber and Dell. Anastasia is extremely passionate about people, and how technology can bring positive change for them — it drives her recruiting career and life.

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