Hiring Practices that Hurt an Employer’s Brand

Well, 2022 continues to be a wild ride for hiring. Coming out of the pandemic, many companies were on a hiring spree, and demand for roles (especially in the tech industry) had never been higher. Then in April and May, the pendulum began to swing back, as some big name employers had layoffs, and worries about the stock market, interest rates and global political conditions began to cause alarm in some sectors. Now, as we enter the summer of 2022, how do things stand? Well, it depends on who you’re talking to. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. At TalentReach, we see it all. We have clients who are hitting the pause button on hiring, but still many who cannot hire fast enough. Overall, we’d say it is still a candidates’ market. The advice we’re giving clients: your employer brand is more important than ever. But this is a constant no matter the market conditions. To attract top talent, you must have a good reputation and be an employer of choice. Just like in high school, word gets around. Employers can’t have one set of rules for recruiting and hiring for boom times and one for lean times. Here are some of the WORST practices for employers to engage in – these are the things that give top candidates reasons to look elsewhere.

  1. Rescinding the job offer. Of course this is one of the most extreme practices, and no employer wants to do it. But lately, the industry has been rocked with big name employers, notable Coinbase, Redfin, and Twitter doing just that. Imagine great candidates who have interviewed, been offered a position, and accepted, many of whom tendered resignation at current employers, suddenly having the rug pulled out in this manner. Rescinding an offer is going to put a black mark on the employer brand of anyone who does this, and will cause many future candidates to think twice when interviewing or accepting a position. While obviously no employer wants to do it, steps should be taken to avoid this at all costs. It’s a hard one to overcome.
  2. Ghosting. We’ve said it before: basic courtesy means telling a candidate, especially one who has gone far down the interview process, that they will not be receiving an offer. Ideally, a candidate would love some feedback, such as, “While the hiring team enjoyed meeting you and were impressed with your experience with X, we’ve decided this role would be best for someone with experience in Y.” But even a, “Thank you so much for your time in exploring employment with us, but unfortunately we’ve selected another candidate for this role.” It gives candidates closure, and they can move on, rather than waiting to hear about a role.
  3. Salary shenanigans. This one is a broad category, so we’re just calling it “shenanigans.” It includes not being up front about the salary range (post it!), not respecting a candidate’s stated minimum requirements, or demanding proof of current salary. The days of subterfuge are over. Don’t waste anyone’s time interviewing candidates whose salary requirements won’t be met. We’ve heard of employers asking for a candidate’s range, then going through the whole process only to offer $20K less than the candidate’s minimum (with vague promises of salary potential down the road.) And as far as looking at a candidate’s current salary: that’s irrelevant. The only question is how much the new role should pay. If they are underpaid in a current role, that is not an excuse to offer less than you would to similarly qualified candidates. On the flip side: a GREAT practice is to bump up current employees when a new employee comes on board at a higher salary. As the last few years have shown us, demand drove up salaries for new hires. But when you hire a new person for the same role that employees who were hired 2-3 years ago are doing, make sure you increase the other pay. If those employees (with experience) discover the new hire is making significantly more, they might be headed for the door. 
  4. Timing. Another general category, but can be summed up with: Be smart, but be efficient. This means make the hiring cycle as efficient as possible, and don’t drag it out with approval bottlenecks and delays due to hiring manager vacations, etc. Make a hiring decision quickly, and don’t make great candidates wait weeks. In that time, they could be snapped up by a competitor. Consider the hiring process a time-sensitive one.

Bottom line: in good times or bad, an employer’s brand is critical. Companies need to take a long view. It’s not just about this month’s hiring needs or next year’s. As 2022 has shown us, things can change quickly. But reputation lasts a long, long time. Make sure you’re being the employer you want to be, for today and for the future.


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