Post and pray: Common talent-sourcing mistakes

Post and pray: Common talent-sourcing mistakes

While many job-seekers can be accused of a pokies-style job search approach, as highlighted in my recent article ‘Why online job seeking is similar to playing the pokies’, companies are equally guilty of lacking robust strategies when it comes to hiring via online channels.

It may be sign of the times, in that technology has made us all rather lazy. Unfortunately, though, it is not serving job seekers or employers well.

Having worked in corporate human resources, recruitment agencies and having run a job site for many years, I have seen a lot of the behaviours that occur when it comes to sourcing talent.

More often than not, the hiring of staff is a reactive process, with little time or thought given to the planning and strategy stage of the process. This could be because it involves the tough stuff and takes time to discuss and formalise the real criteria around the talent the company is looking for. More often than not, those hiring miss these crucial steps, which results in a job ad being thrown up (via all sort of online channels).

The most common mistakes

The client wants to fill the job ASAP. This results in little time or analysis dedicated to what people need. It is more a case of “I need someone like X,Y,Z.” An old position description is found to work from. The hiring manager puts pressure on the recruiters (agency or internal) to get them someone brilliant really quickly and cheaply, often not giving them a detailed brief (due to lack of time, or not really knowing what they need).

The recruiter is looking to find the hiring manager someone great based on very little information. The challenge is being to attract the right person when you don’t have enough information to form a picture of who the person should be.

The recruiter will rehash an old job ad that seems to be similar to what they believe the hiring manger is looking for. Chances are, like so many job ads online, the job ad tells the reader very little – thus making it hard for the jobseeker to know if they are right for the role.

The recruiter receives a large number of applications and gets frustrated by the sheer volume. On the other hand, the recruiter looks good to the hiring manger because they can say they received 150 applications. It makes them look to be productive and working hard, and making the hiring manager feel good as so many people are interested in their job. Realistically, this is a sign of a poorly-executed recruitment strategy, yet still too few companies fail to see this.

The recruiter wastes their time focusing on all the administration around screening resumes, sending emails to unsuccessful candidates and so on.

Most likely the company also damages its brand with disgruntled applicants feeling they have been overlooked. Then the recruiter wastes their time, and that of the hiring managers and prospective candidates as they go through the interview stages.

Getting the recruitment process right is difficult and takes a lot of time and effort by those involved. I’ve highlighted a common process, and the mistakes made, to show the importance of getting your processes right.

The devil is in the detail and it should also be in the job ad!

If companies are serious about sourcing the best talent, this is a good place to start. And better still, it is reasonably simple to change.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.