We often compare the recruitment process to dating. Two parties, testing the waters, seeing if they should commit to something more long-term. But what happens when things turn sour? The dream date, your favourite candidate, decides to take themselves out of the running. What did you do wrong? Why did they ditch you when you had already dreamed of your successful future together?

Below are some of the big hiring “turn-offs” that have candidates running for the hills:


Vague job ads are unhelpful but misleading ads are a complete time waster for all involved. Most employers don’t run a full “bait and switch”, but resist the urge to embellish the role to make it sound sexier than it is. Don’t downplay the realities of the role because in the end you’ll be doing yourself a disservice as well.


Curveball questions like “What animal would you be and why?” were a fad way back when, but they’ve been proven to be irrelevant and ineffectual in improving hiring success. Worst still are questions that are inappropriate and open you up to claims of discrimination. Remember to steer clear of topics related to race, religion, age, gender, family planning etc. The best types of questions to get an idea of a candidates true capabilities are behavioural interview questions.


Job hunting can be a frustrating process, it’s a job seeker’s livelihood on the line. Be respectful of deadlines you set and be sure to manage expectations of your candidates. If you do experience delays, be respectful and communicative in relaying the changes.


Like dating, both parties have to be interested for a successful hire to take place. It’s not a one-way street. You should be trying to woo a candidate as much as they are trying to impress you. Top performers don’t stay on the market for long and they usually have a number of opportunities they are weighing up. If you don’t sell your company, culture and job and give them a chance to ask questions and learn more, they’ll walk away unimpressed. If you want to win over top talent, you have to WOW them!


Failing to communicate is one of the biggest gripes with hiring processes. From no response to applications, to no follow up after interviews, communication (or lack thereof) is a big problem. As a recruitment firm, we understand this more than most. While it’s hard to please everyone when you have a large volume of applications, setting expectations and putting the follow up onus back on candidates can help. And we firmly believe that everyone you interview in person does deserve a personal follow up either via phone or email.


Hiring can be a tricky process, and it often comes with more bumps in the road than expected. In the end, candidates mostly wanted to be treated with respect. If you’re honest, communicate respectfully and do your best to treat it like a two-way opportunity then you’ll increase your odds of winning over your true love, I mean, best candidate.