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Why Your Approach to Hiring Is All Wrong [What To Do Instead]

June 30, 20237 min read

It seems like everyone is talking about improving their hiring process. 

Countess organizations have begun exploring strategies to shorten time-to-fill, tactics to reliably identify high performers, and the best practices to eliminate bias from candidate evaluations and hiring decisions. 

Unfortunately, not enough companies take the time to identify the root cause of their reliance on continuous and costly recruitment and hiring efforts. 

In this article, we’ll discuss why organizations should reframe the role that hiring plays in their business, and how doing so can lead to a greater ROI with each new hire. 

The Wrong Approach to Hiring

Hiring should enhance performance, productivity, and revenue generation of your existing team. However, this can be hard to accomplish when your organization is consistently hiring to full existing roles. 

A staggering 95% of hiring is done to fill existing positions, which means most organizations are playing catch-up when it comes to personnel rather than growing their company. 

To make matters worse, most organizations are spending more than ever before on recruitment and hiring efforts — with little change to the success or longevity of the candidates they eventually select.

With  recruiting costs rising, companies are looking for a way out of the time-intensive, resource-draining recruitment and hiring cycle and change their entire approach to hiring. 

Luckily, there is a way for companies to immediately reduce their need to fill existing positions and save their recruitment budget for genuine growth. 

What Is The Root Cause of Endless Hiring? 

The root cause of endless hiring is two-fold. 

First, poor retention leads to a cyclical need to fill existing positions. The average turnover rate across industries was a painful 57.3% in 2021, and over half of the resignations over the year were voluntary. 

This inability to retain employees long-term forces organizations to spend recruitment and hiring budgets on filling existing roles to maintain their current operational level, rather than growing teams or departments to increase their revenue generation potential. 

Secondly, an over-reliance on external candidates has forced companies to transition from focusing hiring efforts on entry-level positions to hiring across all experience levels. 

In the past, companies filled around 90% of their open positions through internal promotions. External candidates were recruited for entry-level positions with the expectation that new hires would be trained and developed to eventually take on a higher role in the company. 

Now, less than a third of open positions are filled through internal or lateral movements. Organizations have largely moved away from emphasizing internal training and development and instead rely on recruiting external applicants for roles ranging from entry-level to C-Suite. 

Fighting A Negative Feedback Loop

The movement away from internal promotions and the poor retention most employers face create a cycle that can be difficult for organizations to escape. 

Better compensation and promotion opportunities were the two primary drivers of voluntary resignations in 2021, which means companies' reluctance to promote from within directly contributes to high employee turnover. 

This leaves organizations trapped in a cycle of constantly filling entry-level roles that are vacated due to poor advancement opportunities as well as spending additional funds recruiting for the leadership roles their ex-entry-level employees were eyeing before resigning. 

What To Do Instead

So, how can companies fight their way out of this inefficient, expensive, and time-intensive cycle to meet frustrated job seekers in the middle? 

They can start by implementing these simple strategies to make hiring from an exercise in personnel maintenance to a launchpad for growth. 

Post Positions Internally First 

As we touched on above, failing to promote from within is a recipe for endless recruitment with little to show for the effort and expense. 

Internal job boards were created decades ago to help companies reduce turnover and retain talented (and trained) employees interested in a new opportunity and they’re just as effective today. 

Besides the potential benefit of finding the perfect person for your open role without a prolonged recruitment process, posting jobs internally also signals to current employees that you value their efforts and see their potential for advancement. 

This small and simple step can reduce turnover costs, minimize ramp times, and improve employee morale. 

Track Internal Hires

Companies often don’t track their internal vs. external hiring stats, which can lead leadership to develop an overinflated idea of the number of internal promotions occurring. 

Tracking internal and external hiring statistics can help your company evaluate your true reliance on external hires and gain insight into a significant source of voluntary turnover. 

Leverage Predictive Analysis to Recruit New Talents 

When it is the right time for an outside hire, predictive analysis can help ensure your new team member represents a step towards greater success. 

Predictive analysis combines data mining, machine learning, and advanced statistical forecasting and modeling to empower companies to make data-driven hiring decisions that are forecasted to improve performance, productivity, and profitability. 

This quantitative, scalable selection process offers employers a time-saving path towards greater hiring success and lowers employee turnover by analyzing hundreds of data points and variables to identify high-performing candidates with a strong likelihood of long-term tenure. 

Revisit Your Job Description 

Job descriptions can bring applications pouring in or send potential candidates away in droves. 

Gendered language and an overabundance of desired qualifications can both severely limit your talent pool, reducing your odds of making the ideal hiring decision. Strict Applicant Tracking Systems can also harm your chances of securing the perfect person for the job.

The time and effort that went into creating your job description will affect the number of applicants you receive as well — 56% of job seekers report the quality of a job description influences their decision to apply or move on to the next opportunity. 

Don’t Overemphasize Passive Candidates 

Recruiting passive candidates has become popular, but companies shouldn’t devote too much of their recruiting time or budget to wooing workers that aren’t actively looking for a new role. 

While 86% of workers reported they would leave their current position for a better offer, only about 11% of open roles end up being filled by passive candidates

This means that while passive candidates may be theoretically open to leaving their job for a unicorn position, they’re far less likely to accept an offer than active job seekers. 

Solicit Referrals from Your Employees 

Referrals remain the number one way open positions get filled and turning to your current team for referrals provides two important benefits.

First, your employees understand the daily responsibilities and culture of your workplace better than anyone else. 

This means they’re likely to take a variety of details into account when considering making a referral from their network and only extend leads that are likely to be up to the job requirements and mesh well within established workflows and office norms. 

Secondly, involving your employees in the recruitment and hiring process signals to them that their insight and input are valued and contribute to the success of the company. 

Focus Your External Hiring Efforts 

When you do look externally to fill a new position, consider limiting the scope of your search rather than casting a wide net.

Niche job boards that exclusively market positions to your target professional can provide more bang for your buck and avoid a massive influx of irrelevant or underqualified applications that slow down your hiring process and drain your hiring budget. 

Use Skills Tests 

As many hiring managers have discovered, experience does not always equate to competency. 

Similarly, a prestigious educational background may be impressive on a resume, but an applicant that graduated from a state school may very well outperform an Ivy Leaguer when it comes to practical abilities. 

Skills tests remove pedigree bias in hiring and allow employers to cut through polished resumes and interview small-talk to directly determine the level of performance each candidate has to offer before making a bad hire.

Organizations that decide to use skills tests should limit them to later rounds of selection. Overly long application processes have been shown to turn away up to 50% of job seekers, so forcing every candidate to complete a skills test when they submit their resume may not be the best idea. 

Modernize Your Interview Process

Interviews have traditionally been a weak point in the hiring process due to their vulnerability to subjective evaluations and biased evaluations

Organizations can improve the fairness and success of interviews with a few simple steps:

  • Anonymizing resumes before making interview selections  

  • Using standardized interview questions and evaluation systems

  • Creating diverse interview panels and hiring committees to minimize personal biases

  • Engaging in ongoing anti-bias training 

  • Training to recognize the signs of a bad hire

Correct Your Hiring Approach With WhoHire

WhoHire modernizes the hiring process by leveraging predictive analysis to forecast candidate performance, productivity, and other crucial KPIs pre-hire. 

Our Performance Fingerprints allow organizations to consistently onboard talented candidates that expand the revenue-generating potential of their workforce and mesh with their company cultures.

Jonathan Porter-Whistman

Jonathan is the International Bestselling author of "The Sales Boss: The Real Secret to Hiring, Training, and Managing a Sales Team" and is the CEO of

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