Why “Less is More” Is an Effective Recruitment Strategy
A large group of job candidates wait for interviews, as part of a company's recruitment strategy

Managing your recruitment strategy can be a stressful, time-consuming job in itself. From drafting comprehensive job descriptions to conducting detailed interviews with candidates, there’s a lot of work that goes into finding that “perfect hire” for your company.

Of course, many hiring managers subscribe to the notion that “more is better.” In other words, recruiters should cast a wide net for potential employees, and then sort out the suitable from the unsuitable during the interview stage. But is this really the best approach?

The truth is, your recruitment strategy will be far more effective if you focus on the quality of candidates, rather than their quantity. Simply put, you don’t want to attract more candidates – you want to attract the right ones. Let’s discuss some key reasons why this is the case.

Why More Candidates Shouldn’t Be Your Goal

1. Getting more candidates requires a greater time investment.

How valuable is your time? No doubt you already have a full workload as it is, not to mention a busy personal life. When does the potential benefit of attracting more job candidates outweigh the time cost of doing so?

The reality is, you can only allocate a certain amount of time to your candidate search. If you try to squeeze in too many candidates within that time frame, you run the risk of not giving any candidate the thorough vetting that they need. On the other hand, you can go deeper with fewer people. Having fewer candidates allows you to really drill down into each prospect’s unique strengths and weaknesses.

2. Conducting too many interviews can lead to burnout.

Interviews can be stressful for both parties involved: the applicant and the recruiter. Some people gain energy from meeting new people. Others find that they need to “recharge” after doing so. 

If you have tons of interviews scheduled within a short period of time, it can quickly become overwhelming. This is the case not only with in-person interviews, but even more so with virtual interviews. (We all understand that “Zoom fatigue” is a real phenomenon by now.)

The point is, you need to take your own mental and physical health into consideration during the hiring process. Reaching out to more candidates may take its toll on you, or your team.

3. You don’t want to let the most promising candidates get away.

What if you interview a candidate who seems like a good fit for the position and your company? Should you “pull the trigger” and hire that candidate right away?

No two cases are exactly the same, and some caution may be warranted. However, if you hesitate to make a job offer to one candidate because you think a better one could be in the next group of interviewees, you may end up sorely disappointed. And that suitable candidate may find another job in the meantime! It’s a candidate’s market right now. That means it’s more difficult to hold onto applicants that may have other job offers waiting for them if you’re slow to respond. Don’t let your recruitment strategy cause you to lose top talent.

4. A bad hire can cost your company – big time.

In some situations, making a bad hire can be far worse than having a vacancy that needs to be filled. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year expected earnings.

Of course, this estimate doesn’t factor in other, less tangible costs, such as the drain on productivity from lack of work continuity, the stress and frustration of managing poor employee performance, not to mention the opportunity cost of missing out on a good hire. In fact, when you incorporate those costs into the mix, it’s no surprise that a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that a bad hire could cost up to five times the employee’s annual salary!

Here again, obtaining more candidates without regard for their qualifications will only increase the odds of making a bad hire.

5. Putting in the time on the front end will ensure you find a suitable candidate.

It’s vital that you figure out what you’re looking for on the front end, even before you first post the opening on a job board. Steve Jobs once said that “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” That’s a great quote for marketing and design, but a lousy way to search for a new employee. You should have a clear understanding of which skills (both hard and soft) your ideal candidate should have, as well as other traits and qualifications that signal they’d be a good fit for the role. 

You want your interviews to be strategic. Make sure to establish a set of minimum requirements for candidates. If certain applicants don’t meet the absolute minimum, then it would be both pointless and disrespectful (of their time and yours) to interview them at all. In terms of what to discuss during the interview, it may be wise to develop a standardized list of questions to ask each candidate, and then incorporate a ranking system according to their answers.

In addition, you should also understand how your culture plays a role in the recruitment strategy. A candidate may look great on paper, but if their attitude or goals are in conflict with your established company culture, then hiring them would likely lead to significant friction down the road.

Finally, make sure you understand what the current market conditions are in your industry, what your company can afford, and what will make up an attractive offer for your ideal candidate. After all, finding the right fit is only half the battle – you have to convince them to come on board, too.

“Less is More” is the Best Recruitment Strategy

In the final analysis, it’s important to look at several candidates in consideration of a specific job opening. However, having too many candidates can become counterproductive. When it comes to your candidate search, quality should always be given precedence over quantity.

If you partner with a reputable recruitment firm that clearly understands your needs, then you’ll be able to more easily “weed out” candidates who aren’t a good fit. For instance, The Doyle Group can help you to streamline your overall hiring process, and make it more efficient. We can also provide you with much-needed clarity and expertise, and help you to reach your ultimate goal: gaining a new employee who will become a “force multiplier” for your business.