Hiring tactics like ‘bait and switch,’ and ‘love bombing’ drive skilled talent away, report finds

Dive Brief:

  • Companies struggling to recruit top talent may want take a closer look at their hiring practices, which could be driving skilled candidates away, according to a May 2 report from hiring platform Greenhouse.
  • In a survey of 1,200 job seekers, more than half of respondents (53%) said they experienced “bait and switch” tactics, where the advertised responsibilities differed significantly once they started the role. Similarly, 53% experienced “love bombing,” where they were excessively praised and flattered only to be lowballed with a salary that didn’t match their qualifications, skills and experience, the report found.
  • “For applicants, the hiring process is the first glimpse into the company culture,” Carin Van Vuuren, the platform’s chief marketing officer, said in a media release. “How companies treat candidates is a crucial factor; most candidates want to work with a company that values their time, communicates frequently, and is transparent.”

Dive Insight:

Greenhouse’s latest report highlights what research has consistently shown: During the hiring process, job seekers are interviewing potential employers as much as hiring managers are interviewing them.

Candidates interpret how they’re treated during the hiring process as a sign of the company’s culture, Van Vurren explained in the release. Drawn-out interviews, misleading job descriptions and ghosting candidates are basic and costly mistakes that cause candidates to feel mistreated and look unfavorably on the company’s culture, Greenhouse CEO and co-founder Daniel Chait added.

This, in turn, damages a company’s ability to hire and retain top talent and “ultimately affects their bottom line and future growth,” Chait said.

One vital preventative step is to ensure interviewers are properly trained, the platform has previously noted.

For example, proper training can keep interviewers from asking questions that indicate bias, Greenhouse pointed out. In this survey, 54% of candidates said they have faced discriminatory questions, such as those related to age, race or gender — a 20% jump from last year, the findings revealed.

Referring to the company “as a family” is another red flag, indicating to interviewees that the company culture lacks boundaries between work and home, according to findings by HR content provider People Managing People.

To avoid these and other red flags, including unrealistic expectations, hiring managers should create clear and jargon-free job descriptions and be transparent about financial compensation and why the job is open, People Managing People recommended.

Also, technology and automated processes can help keep candidates in the loop, although hiring managers should remember that the human touch matters, especially where talent is in short supply, experts have said.

Hiring teams may also want to address the tediousness and length of the application process — two major turn-offs for prospective employees, a 2023 report from talent cloud company iCIMS found. Some jobs can stay vacant for three months or longer, and good candidates aren’t going to wait, Josh Bersin, CEO of his namesake firm, noted last year.

Beyond losing skilled candidates, poor talent acquisition practices can hurt a company’s business, iCIMS has found. More than half of workers in a survey said they’re less likely to patronize a brand after a bad application or interview process, iCIMS reported.