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When "More Recruiting" Just Makes Things Worse

Posted by Bob Corlett on June 9, 2010

I think most organizations do too little recruiting, not working hard enough to find the right people who can really drive results.

But occasionally I see a company who is doing too much recruiting. There are simply times when more recruiting has the potential to make an underlying problem much, much worse for you.

Here are a few situations that are not improved by more recruiting:

  • When you have a turnover problem, more recruiting can feel like a decent short-term solution. Out with the bad (apples), in with the new (people). Things will be better with fresh new people right? But when you are in your second or third round of "out with the bad apples" - the problem you have will not be solved by more recruiting. If you have repeated cycles of turnover, it's time to look at how you select people, manage performance, compensate and retain top performers. Until you solve the underlying turnover problem, more recruiting will just create more ex-employees in your future, and they will be warning good people to stay away from you. (Read What Drives Employee Turnover.)
  • If you are finding that all the new people you want to hire are more expensive than your current employees, more recruiting is not going to help. Instead of recruiting, you need to be looking at what you are paying your current people, or they will be soon looking ... for work elsewhere. (Read How to Set Salary for a New Hire; Think Like a Compensation Pro.)
  • If you are recruiting from a small pool of candidates, and have tried using two or three different contingency staffing firms to find "good people" but have been unsuccessful - if you have not yet found anyone "worth paying a fee for" - the problem you have cannot be solved by more recruiting. You may have unrealistic expectations about the kind of candidates who are attracted to your firm, or perhaps you are expecting too many skills for too low a salary, or perhaps your selection process is picking the wrong people. Either way, adding yet another search firm to the mix is a dicey proposition. Think about it, your already limited pool of potential future employees has now been contacted by people from two or three different search firms to "pitch" your opportunity. To the candidates (your potential future employees) it smacks of disorganization, it smells desperate, and from this point on, every single contact made with every single candidate further lowers their opinion of you. If you continue recruiting, soon nobody will want to interview with you, and your own employees will begin to wonder if they are mistaken for staying with you. And to make matters much worse, think about all those search firms you engaged but did not pay a fee to? They will begin to find you more attractive as a recruiting target than as a potential client. (Read Who's That Driving Around in Your Employment Brand?)

Yeah, sometimes more recruiting is just not the answer to a staffing problem.


Learn more about the right way to handle the executive search and hiring process, and how to handle employee turnover issues. To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process, download our free assessment. 

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Topics: Employer Reputation, Executive Search, Employee Turnover, Negotiating Salary for New Hires