BLOG: Hiring turn-offs – and easy fixes: Part 2

A man interviews someone across a desk
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BLOG: Hiring turn-offs – and easy fixes: Part 2

A man writes notes during an interview process

The interview process

In Part 1 of this blog, Macstaff MD Anthony McCormack detailed 10 of the 21 big bad black marks that can tarnish an employer’s ‘employer brand’ during the hiring process. In Part 2, here are numbers 11 to 21 and, like in the first part of this blog, suggestions for some easy fixes on all accounts.

Many employers are not making their hiring process as ‘user friendly’ as they could be.

The knock-on effect of that really could be bigger than most companies realise.

With a proliferation of candidates out there in the market, it’s more important than ever not to turn off potential employees with an out-dated hiring process.

So, how does your company stand up to the test?


  • 11 Work/meeting environment – A candidate is obviously, even if sub-consciously, going to be making some internal inferences towards whether they will like the work environment you are providing on the basis of the meeting. Cramped meeting rooms, untidy desks and odd smells should be eliminated.
  • 12 Lack of clarity on the role and its responsibilities or the salary and its benefits (see video above) – The job discussed at interview should be the same as the one advertised. Candidates should be able to ask questions and get clarity on the roles and responsibilities, as well as the salary and benefits. If not, the job you are offering may be seen as too much of a risk.
  • 13 One-way communications – Employers are going to want to ask and get certain questions answered by the candidate. However, if communication seems to be a one-way-street, this will put off candidates who like to be heard and who want to confirm a win-win scenario.
  • 14 Inappropriate questions – Nothing sticks in a candidates mind more than inappropriate questions from an unprofessional hiring manager. PLUS there’s possible legal ramifications for the employer. Despite this seemingly obvious no-no, I still hear horror stories all the time!
  • 15 Didn’t like hiring manager – Sometimes, what looks like a match on paper, is not a match in practice. The chemistry isn’t there. However, at least make sure managers involved in the hiring process are in some way likeable, if you can.
  • 16 Personality profiling – Sometimes this is required if it is found to be beneficial by the employer or due to policy. I think they are potentially over-used though. Once a company has psychometric tests in their armoury, some candidates are going to be put off by what can be seen by some, as psychological mumbo-jumbo.
  • 17 Panel Interviews – Again, sometimes this tool or tactic can pay dividends from an efficiency or fairness point of view. But a panel interview which feels like an interrogation is a top turn-off for candidates, especially if it is not handled sensitively.
  • 18 Lack of preparation or understanding – I hear back from candidates regularly that it was clear the hiring manager hadn’t even read their CV until they sat down opposite. This leaves candidates feeling undervalued and even if you love them and feel they are perfect for the job, it may be too late for the feeling to be mutual!
  • 19 Back-door references – Renegade hiring managers do this all the time because all they want is an inside scoop from their mate at the competitor down the road. But that kind of breach of confidentiality and trust will not soon be forgotten by the candidate.
  • 20 Low-ball offers – I understand that companies are typically run for profit and that additional salary goes straight to the bottom line. However low-ball offers are less likely to be accepted, partly for financial reasons but also because candidates can get offended by feeling devalued or even dis-respected.
  • 21 Rescinded offers – Again I appreciate that offers may need to be rescinded due to circumstances changing that can be un-foreseen. This number should be kept to a minimum though because it can be very damaging to a candidate that may have resigned from their current job, and can create very negative PR and potential legal issues too.


So that’s 11-21 of the 21 big bad black marks that can tarnish an employers ‘employer brand’. Thankfully, like in Part 1 of this blog, there are some easy fixes.

  • 11 Showcase the working or at least meeting environment as positively as possible. Pick a nice room, ensure it is uncluttered and smells good – not fusty. Think of ‘selling your house’ type preparation.
  • 12 (see video above) Ensure the role and responsibilities are as advertised and be willing and able to speak freely and candidly about the job, the expectations and the compensation.
  • 13 The best candidates are likely to be discerning and even demanding. Ensure two-way communication is facilitated, so a win-win scenario can be confirmed during meetings.
  • 14 This is the 21st Century so don’t ask inappropriate questions. In fact, don’t ask questions that you would not want broadcast all over social media. Believe me, that is not un-heard of.
  • 15 Ensure hiring managers are likeable, or at least trained to be likeable. Go out of your way to create rapport and engagement. This increases the likelihood of offers being accepted but it also creates a positive brand image. These people may be your customers as well as prospective employees in the future.
  • 16 Use personality profiling and various testing on an as-needed basis. Just because you have it, you don’t have to use it every time. Some candidates find them confusing and intrusive.
  • 17 Be aware of how intimidating panel interviews can be. Maybe consider a series of short one-to-ones instead and if you do go for a panel interview, make sure it’s framed and introduced well and handled sensitively. Again it’s as much about the candidate experience of the ones you don’t hire, as much as the ones you do.
  • 18 Select candidates carefully and make sure HR and HM are on the same page. Prepare for the meetings in advance, know and understand the appropriate CV, tailor questions accordingly and always show respect.
  • 19 Don’t take references until a candidate has given permission to contact specific referees. This ensures that a candidate’s trust is respected and confidentiality is maintained.
  • 20 Avoid ‘low ball’ offers by offering a fair salary for the position. This awkward situation should not not come up at the end of the process if open conversations have been had between candidate, employer and recruiter about salary bands and expectations in advance.
  • 21 Obviously rescind offers if you have to, but this should truly be a last resort. Much better to do full ‘due diligence’ including referencing and background checks and only offer when you’re 99.9% sure that you want them.

Hopefully, these two blogs have been a useful exercise for hiring managers and employers in looking at things from the candidates perspective. Furthermore I hope you can promote these thoughts into a forward-thinking recruitment ethos and engineer them into a reliable hiring process.  

This should go some way both to ensuring that you are getting the pick of the crop in a demanding candidate market and also protects and promotes your employer brand for the future.  #VirtuousCircle.

When recruiting for our customers, Macstaff like to act as true brand ambassadors and work with expertise and empathy in pursuit of both a positive candidate experience and in protection of your employer brand.

Read more: BLOG: Hiring turn-offs – and easy fixes: Part 1

Read more: BLOG: 18 top tips to help you settle into your new job

If you would like to see of Anthony’s videos on this subject, go to the Macstaff Facebook page at