Taking over a failed recruitment process – how to do it?

Recruitment companies often find themselves in situations where they have already searched for a position, but have been unsuccessful. Transitioning an existing recruitment exercise is a different process than starting from scratch with a new recruitment project. The recruiter needs to get answers to the following 4 questions when preparing to take over an existing recruitment process:

1.Which candidates were considered in the previous recruitment exercise?

It is particularly important for the recruiter to assess the candidates already considered for two reasons:

  • To avoid re-engaging candidates who have already been selected.
  • To assess whether the candidates were suitable according to the previously agreed requirements. Sometimes it is sufficient to identify that a recruitment exercise was unsuccessful because the hiring manager did not receive suitable CVs from the candidates and was therefore unable to recruit any candidate.

2.Why were the candidates considered not recruited?

This question is particularly important because it is not necessarily the case that candidates were not recruited because they were not suitable. Some of them may have simply declined the offer they received, or may have received a better offer from their current employer, etc. When taking over an existing recruitment process, it is important to get as much contextual information as possible to ensure that the recruitment process is successful and that the same mistakes are not repeated.

3.How long was the previous recruitment exercise?

This question is particularly important to assess how much time resources have been allocated. If the recruitment process took e.g. one month, then it can be safely taken over without further questions. But if the previous search took e.g. six months, then a broader analysis is needed to find out which channels were used to attract candidates, etc. Typically, long but unsuccessful searches also damage the employer’s image, and this needs to be critically evaluated before taking over the recruitment process.

4.Managing disappointment and expectations

There are two types of employer frustration that are prevalent when taking over a previous recruitment project:

  • Frustration that the labour market cannot offer suitable candidates. This frustration is often unfounded, simply by identifying that the recruitment process has been conducted through the wrong channels, the requirements for candidates have been incorrectly formulated, or the target audience has simply not been fully reached.
  • Frustration that the company cannot attract the right candidates. In this case, it is simply a case of reviewing the steps in the selection process and, at the same time, reassessing the value package for the candidate. It is the recruitment steps, if they are numerous and do not engage and motivate the candidate, that may be one of the reasons why candidates are not interested in continuing. Of course, if the value package is not competitive, then this is a technical shortcoming of the recruitment exercise, which should also be addressed in consultation with the hiring manager.
Insight by

Karolis Blaževičius

Managing Partner of Indigroup

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