How HR Software Can Fix 3 Examples of #RecruiterFails

By: on June 30, 2017

We’ve written before about how job seekers don’t always have the best experiences during their job search. If you need more proof, look no further than the hashtag “#RecruiterFail” on Twitter.

Some of these tweets from frustrated people venting about their interactions with recruiters are funny; others make you shake your head in disbelief. But nearly all of them highlight mistakes that any small business or agency can make in their efforts to attract and hire great talent.

Here, we’ll look at three prime examples of #RecruiterFail and explain how the right applicant tracking system (ATS) can prevent these recruitment mistakes from happening to you.

Tweet 1: @LVNGD Feels the Woes of Mass Email

 THE PROBLEM:  Recruiting email blasts with broken placeholder tags

It’s every recruiter’s worst nightmare when sending out an email blast about a new job opening to hundreds of potential applicants: the dreaded placeholder tag that doesn’t work. You could’ve coded the tag incorrectly, or your email automation software could’ve bugged out when trying to pull candidate information from your spreadsheet file.

Candidates like Christina don’t care, of course. All she sees is a company that not only doesn’t value her enough to send a personalized email, but also can’t even do a non-personalized email correctly. Good luck trying to get her to apply now!

These blunders add up. One study pinned the financial loss for a company with 100 employees due to “email blunders, inefficiencies, and misunderstandings” at $450,000 a year. As other Twitter users have pointed out, this hasn’t stopped this particular mistake from occurring all too often.

 THE FIX:  Integrated email and preset placeholder tags

When your emailing platform of choice has to link with an external database or an uploaded Excel file to pull candidate information, the likelihood of a data transfer error increases dramatically. A simple typo in a column heading can cause the whole house of cards to come tumbling down, resulting in broken placeholder tags.

ATSs with integrated email functionality provide an easy fix by pulling information for placeholders directly from the platform’s core candidate database. As long as a candidate’s profile is correct and up-to-date, their details will be correct in the email as well. One platform, one integrated process, zero glitches.

Email placeholder tags in Workable pull directly from candidate profiles like the one

The other primary cause of broken placeholder tags is plain old human error because many email systems, especially older ones, make users code these tags by hand. Accidentally type “%firstname%” instead of “%first_name%” in your email when you hit ‘Send’, and you may have just lost a whole group of talented prospects.

If this problem keeps happening to you, consider investing in a system where the tags are preset. With a system like BambooHR (below), you can simply click the tag you want to use to add it to your email—eliminating the possibility of an erroneous tag.

Preset email placeholders in BambooHR


Tweet 2: @pedahzur_ak Experiences Déjà Vu

 THE PROBLEM:  A breakdown in communication between recruiters

As Cool Hand Luke himself once said—and as Joshua rightfully points out with his other hashtag—what we’ve got here is failure to communicate. It’s a simple enough mistake like our first #RecruiterFail, but one that comes with a similarly significant cost: A small business with 100 employees loses over $500,000 a year due to breakdowns in communication, according to a study by SIS International Research.

Your team’s communication (or lack thereof) speaks volumes about the type of employer you are or representing. Rather than deal with an inbox spammed with redundant opportunities, job seekers like Joshua may choose to walk away.

 THE FIX:  Hiring workflows and communication tracking

One way that ATSs can ensure that your recruiting team communicates effectively and doesn’t overlap on tasks is through customized hiring workflows. This functionality allows you to create a series of recruiting tasks for various job requisitions. Each task can then be subsequently assigned to a specific person to complete.

If the first step in the process is to email interested candidates about the new position, for example, the task owner of your choosing is automatically notified to start sending messages. You can loop in other team members to help as well, but otherwise, the team knows the task owner is the only one that should be emailing candidates about that position at that time—eliminating embarrassing mishaps like the one that happened with Joshua.

You can create custom tasks and assign them to specific users with JazzHR

On the other hand, special circumstances outside of the standard workflow do come up. Maybe you have to suddenly prioritize a new opening over others, or a candidate has proactively reached out to ask about any new positions.

For those cases, a system with candidate communication tracking is a must. As communication with a candidate occurs, a note about that communication can either be automatically logged in that candidate’s profile (e.g., an email or LinkedIn message) or can be manually added by a user (e.g., a phone call). When other team members are about to reach out to people, they can check candidate profiles to see which ones have already been contacted recently.

Lever automatically tracks emails and LinkedIn messages with candidates


Tweet 3: @uxward Is More Than Overqualified

 THE PROBLEM:  A bad fit between candidate and job opening

When hiring for a position, it’s perfectly natural to want to cast as wide a net as possible to attract a ton of interested and capable job seekers. Cast too wide a net though, and you risk the situation exemplified in the tweet above: notifying a candidate about an opening so out of sync with their skills, experience or needs that it turns them off from your company for good.

The average time it takes to find a job has ballooned to two months, according to CareerBuilder, and that’s not time that job seekers want to waste. A good candidate may ignore your error-filled messages. They may even forgive you spamming their inbox on accident. If you can’t deliver the one thing people like Brandon care about the most though—a good job opportunity—they are guaranteed to go elsewhere.

 THE FIX:  Boolean search and advanced filters

Boolean search allows your recruiting team to go deeper than one layer into your candidate pool. With applicant tracking software that has boolean search capabilities, users can use keyword modifiers like “AND,” “NOT” or “OR” to better hone in on good sourced candidates for job openings.

Brandon here likely got lumped in with a simple search for every candidate with two or more years experience, even though he’s a terrible fit for a junior role. A boolean search would fix this by allowing you to look for every candidate with two or more years experience and less than five years experience. Brandon gets eliminated, resulting in a list of better fit candidates overall.

A boolean search for candidates with HTML and Java experience in iCIMS

After you’ve done a boolean search, you can further whittle down your list of candidates with advanced filters. Depending on the various fields you’ve set up with your candidates, you can narrow your results by only including those who are at least a certain distance from your office, those who were referred by a current employee or those that are considered passive candidates.

The final result of all of this cutting and slashing is a more finely tuned list of candidates that won’t run to Twitter because of a poor fit.

Recruiterbox allows you to filter a candidate search by custom labels


Conclusion: How to Avoid a Fail In Your Software Search

You’d think these #RecruiterFails would be the exception, not the rule. But small business recruiters sadly make these mistakes (and others) all the time, resulting in 60 percent of job seekers saying they’ve had a bad candidate experience in their past.

That’s why providing a good candidate experience can make all the difference in nabbing sought after talent away from the competition. That starts with getting applicant tracking software to avoid the common pitfalls we’ve covered in this article:

To ensure you don’t also fail in your recruiting software search, here are some next steps:

  • Fill out this online questionnaire. Tell us about your business and your software needs and we’ll recommend the best systems for you, absolutely free.

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