recruitingLet’s step back 30 years and revisit the typical business. Amongst all the beige boxy PCs with about four pixels on their monitors, endless rows of filing cabinets and other forms of paper storage, all surrounded by the horrendous brown decor leftover from the ‘70s.

Thankfully, our office workspaces have changed since then! Yet there’s one area of business that many companies haven’t updated their approach to in decades: recruitment.

Sadly, a token post to a job board or brief mention of a vacancy on social media doesn’t mean your recruitment efforts are fit for 2016 and beyond.
Instead, businesses need to thoroughly update their recruitment methods – rather than be stuck with outdated and ineffective recruitment processes that could seriously hinder business.

Ditch these outdated recruitment practices before you get left behind.

#1 Paper applications and CVs

Plenty of retailers, restaurants, and cafes continue to collect stacks of CVs or paper application forms each time they recruit. While this approach might work for jobs which only attract a handful of candidates, for in-demand vacancies the paperwork can quickly get out of hand.

In these situations, it’s far more convenient to use an applicant tracking system to manage and monitor recruitment efforts. Once you pass a certain number of applications, the time (and paper!) savings begin to outweigh the monetary cost of the software itself.

By freeing time spent previously managing paper applications elsewhere in the recruitment process, you can better focus your efforts on the most promising candidates.

#2 Unoriginal job descriptions and adverts

You’re not alone if you use job description templates or reuse job adverts to make recruitment that little bit quicker and easier – but the result will be tedious, generic adverts that won’t be as effective as they could be.

Instead, give your job description a little bit of personality. Show off your employer brand.

Is your workplace highly creative? Appeal to fellow creatives in your job description.

Does your company pride itself on its rapid growth? Share figures in your job ad and talk about how you’re looking for individuals who are motivated by results.

By opening up about what it’s actually like to work for your company, you attract candidates who are more likely to fit in and excel in that atmosphere. That bodes well for engagement, motivation and employee retention.

#3 Failing to use social media

As we mentioned at the very start of this article, a lone tweet about a job vacancy isn’t much of a social media recruitment strategy. Instead, use social media not only to reach already-interested followers, but strangers who are likely to find the vacancies appealing. Use hashtags to reach specific types of people (eg. #york or #yorkjobs) and join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook to advertise roles to relevant individuals.

Another underused approach to social media recruitment is to tap into your employees’ own networks. If your staff enjoy working at your company, it won’t take much encouragement for them to tweet about a vacancy. Again, this is another free advertising opportunity for your business – so it makes sense to utilise it!

#4 Over-reliance on in-person interviews

In-person interviews are a hassle for both parties. The candidate has to pay travel costs and perhaps arrange time off work to attend. The employer has to take time out of their workday.

It’s increasingly unnecessary to use more than a single round of in-person interviews for most roles.

Instead, narrow down your applicants using a combination of other methods, such as application screening questions, online text chat interviews, skills tests, phone interviews, recorded video interviews and live video interviews.

Try out the full range of these methods and see which you find most effective. You should also seek feedback from candidates on the recruitment process to see where you could make improvements.

When taking this approach, by the time you reach in-person interviews you’ll be left with a small pool of candidates that you know can perform the job competently and are likely to fit with your company culture. You aren’t wasting anyone’s time.

#5 Failing to contact rejected applicants

The old-school mindset is this: if you know a candidate isn’t right for the role, why should you spend any further resources on them?

Therefore, rejected applicants don’t get a letter, call, or email informing them that their application was unsuccessful. Requests for feedback are ignored.

In the age of social media, it’s easier than ever for disappointed applicants to air their grievances about a company to their friends, followers, and the rest of the online world. Candidates can ruin your reputation with a single tweet.

That’s clearly not ideal for your business.

These days, it’s easy to create email templates for plenty of steps in the recruitment process – including when you contact rejected candidates. If you use an applicant tracking system, you can even tell the system to automatically send these emails (in personalised form).

In these emails, be sure to offer recipients the chance to reply to get feedback about their application – and tell the rejected candidates that you’ll consider them when future roles crop up.

It’ll only take a few seconds to send each batch of emails – but you’ll save significant damage to your employer brand.


These recruitment practices aren’t going to destroy your company – but over time, they’ll damage your employer brand and reduce the effectiveness of your recruitment process. You’ll be left with relatively poor hires after a prolonged recruitment process – but your rivals could have hired a better candidate in half the time!

HR should make the most of today’s technology and accept that recruitment for many positions is becoming increasingly dictated by the candidates: they do their research and suss out your employer brand before they apply, so you need to ensure your recruitment process doesn’t damage your brand, or contradict it.

You wouldn’t put up with ‘80s PCs in your office in 2016, so why put up with ‘80s recruitment methods?


Author bio: Anna Roberts is Head of Content at RotaCloud, a UK-based startup that offers rota software to businesses of all sizes. Read more of Anna’s articles on recruitment, HR, and staff management on the RotaCloud blog.

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Cezanne HR

Cezanne HR is a leading provider of cloud-based HR software solutions, designed for medium and small-sized organisations - especially those with global workforces.