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Five mistakes tech recruiters make in communication with potential candidates

Change is accelerating in Tech recruiting, but the recruiting mistakes stay the same. From not adjusting to contemporary conditions to creating vague and shifting requirements to delays in responses to sometimes outright stupid questions based on a lack of reading, it seems like nothing’s changed. But the acceleration in tech hiring and the increasing difficulty in finding qualified talent means that these mistakes have greater consequences. And it’s a market that favors the potential candidate, so fewer people are willing to tolerate a perceived error or problem.

At Employa, we’re focused on opening up bottlenecks when it comes to recruiting new technical employees in a variety of industries. So let’s take a look at the top 5 recruiting mistakes when it comes to tech, whether it’s in IT or industry of another sort.

Communication and Recruiting

One trend in tech recruiting is that the increase in remote touchpoints with a candidate is here to stay. This holds true for both pure distance positions and those with an in-office component. Increasing remote touchpoints highlights the need for communication from humans of bots or both. A blog post for the Society for Human Resources Management pointed out in February 2021 that

“Even for businesses resuming in-person operations, I expect that virtual and automated interviews will instead replace many in-person touch points, helping to accelerate timelines...”

Candice Nicolls, SHRM-SCP

Bringing in automation and virtual processes, from intake to interviews and beyond, is here to stay. How they help depends on your company's culture as well as the positions under consideration. For example, automated interviews might suffice for entry-level jobs, but are not at all likely to work for interviewing a candidate for a high-level data security position.

Connected with this is the recommendation that recruiting departments step back and review what’s worked over the past two years and what hasn’t, and adapt. Also, as artificial intelligence and machine learning mature, the time is ripe for considering them as tools for finding and communicating with candidates.

First Communication

LinkedIn puts the percentage of people actively looking for a job at 36% of workers. It’s no surprise, then, that passive candidates comprise a large part of companies’ candidate funnel. Sorting and contacting passive candidates can be time-consuming, even with automated systems.

However, one of the most common recruiting mistakes happens at the beginning of the communicative process. Emails that read like they’re from templates with unpersonalized text are likely to fail with passive candidates in particular. Passive candidates, especially for higher positions, need to know that they’re being contacted because their potential fit is recognized, not because they’ve been sorted into a funnel. With that in mind, a template becomes a framework for personalizing the first contact email.

Another of the recruitment communication challenges that come early in the process is having a clearly defined and rational set of experience and position parameters. Input from all concerned can lead to a laundry list of characteristics with no clear distinction between requirements and preferences. This results in a set of hiring problems throughout the recruiting process, starting with the introductory email. Even if the full position description is too intricate for the first communication, being vague is among the hiring standards to avoid.

Interview Mistakes

A weak description of the open position has the potential to wreck the interview process as well. This goes equally for in-person, remote, and automated interviews. Not being able to pinpoint the most salient requirements for the position leaves the candidate confused and the hiring manager unable to intelligently answer questions. 

Unprepared staff in an interview - be it hiring or line managers - is among the most common recruiting mistakes, yet one of the easiest to avoid. For tech hiring, in particular, having someone available who can adequately assess and understand the candidate's accomplishments is vital. 

Worse yet, not knowing what are the most important characteristics of the position, and thus the candidate, increased the possibility of a hiring mistake. Missing the best candidate because of boilerplate recruiting emails or vague position contours is a problem, but a hiring mistake can be costly.

The COVID pandemic has made the cost of a hiring mistake even higher, global staffing company Robert Half reported in March 2021. A survey they conducted showed that 64% of senior hiring managers saw a greater negative impact from a bad hire than previously.

Besides the money and effort wasted, there is the time spent. The Robert Half survey shows that on average, it took companies 10 weeks to determine that hire had been an error, and another six weeks to find a replacement. When the initial recruitment is added, that’s almost half a year spent on one erroneous hire.

Reputational damage is another factor While candidate feedback on social media may be an immediate concern, the prospect of a role appearing, again and again, should also be taken into account.


Ignoring candidate feedback, whether it is based on the initial emails or the onboarding process, or at any step in between, is also among the top 5 recruiting mistakes. This holds true in particular as companies are sorting out how to adjust to the disruption brought on by waves of COVID. Ignoring the opportunity for a candidate to offer a candid review of what worked and what didn’t is now, more than ever, among the hiring standards to avoid.

The cost of the vicious circle reached new levels in 2021 when Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen pointed to the relationship between corporate performance and hiring when she told the U.S. Congress:

"Facebook is stuck in a cycle where it struggles to hire, that causes it to understaff projects, which causes scandals, which then makes it harder to hire."

Frances Haugen, Former Facebook Project Manager

Broken recruiting and onboarding processes might not get you hauled in to testify before Congress, but fixing hiring problems is probably a preferred route to airing them before lawmakers.


The dramatic changes in recruiting practices brought on by the COVID pandemic as well as trends in tech also present an opportunity to tune your company’s processes. Think about how these top 5 recruiting mistakes are reflected in your hiring:

  • boilerplate contact emails
  • lack of details in preliminary communication
  • vague position requirements
  • unprepared staff performing interviews
  • ignoring candidate feedback

In some cases, changing processes can help. In others, updating technology is the key, and for still others, finding a reliable partner can work wonders. Employa is an AI-driven research assistant that helps recruiters by using AI to select only the best applicants and ensure that your communications and requirements stand out. If you are considering how to reconfigure your hiring processes, contact us here

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