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Headhunt Like a Friendly Whale, Not a Shark: Ellie Rankin Dailey Breaks Down 3 Top Challenges in Recruiting

“The best way to identify the wrong candidate is by digging deep into their motives. First, understand why they’ve applied for the role. If a candidate’s motives are linked to a job title, money, recognition, or working for a particular brand, then it’s probably best to let them go.”

Ellie Rankin Dailey
Senior Talent Partner, Russell Tobin


Recruitment is a unique industry. It’s different wherever you go. 

No two jobs are the same, no two candidates are the same, no two recruiters are the same, and no processes are the same. 

Despite the differences seen in the industry, the challenges are what bind recruiters together. 

Lately, some of the most common recruiting challenges I’ve seen recruiters struggle with include unconscious bias, sourcing qualified candidates, and identifying red flags.

Top 3 Hiring Challenges

Challenge 1: You Either Have Too Many Candidates or Not Enough!

I believe that recruitment essentially boils down to two different scenarios. 

You either have no candidates to fill a position or too many! It all depends on how you deal with these two situations. 

1. Dealing with Too Many Candidates: If you’ve got too many candidates, you’re dealing with logistical challenges involving interview scheduling, CV scanning, and a barrage of candidates who want to hear back. 

High-volume hiring is all about organizing and strategizing. Be clear with your interview schedules and deadlines, and sort your candidates effectively.

2. Not Enough Candidates: A lack of candidates will lead to a purple squirrel hunt due to demanding job requirements by the hiring manager or simply because there is not enough brand awareness.  

With insufficient candidates, I suggest making the position as attractive as possible. Think about the flexibility of the role, growth opportunities, and other associated perks. I also love to take advantage of remote hiring and open the position globally to more prospective candidates. 

Challenge 2:  Unconscious Bias 

Whether you want to admit it or not, unconscious bias always finds its way into our hiring decisions. 

With DEI initiatives and equal hiring practices being the talk of the town, combatting bias has become another challenge for us. 

But if this bias is taking place unintentionally, how avoidable is it? The truth is- our brains are naturally wired to be biased in some ways. 

As humans, these flaws will always seep into our recruiting practices. So the best way to mitigate it is by standardizing recruitment to establish fairness for all candidates. 

Providing proper training and setting non-negotiable expectations with your hiring team also go a long way in spreading awareness about unconscious bias. 

Challenge 3: Identifying Red Flags

We recruiters always have a checklist ready for what we’re looking for in an ideal candidate. But no one ever tells us about what a candidate shouldn’t be like! 

In my opinion, the best way to identify the wrong candidate is by digging deep into their motives. First, understand why they’ve applied for the role. 

If your candidate’s motives are linked to a job title, money, recognition, or working for a particular brand, then it’s probably best to let them go. 

I’ve seen that the best candidates will woo you with their passion for growth and how their skills can benefit an organization. 

Another red flag to watch out for is a lack of research by a candidate. If they cannot provide basic knowledge about an organization, they’re clearly not interested enough in the role.

Technology’s Role in the Future of Recruitment

Looking back at recruiting from a decade ago makes you realize how far we’ve come. 

Technology has revolutionized recruitment practices and has made our jobs far more manageable. 

The age of social recruiting and technology has opened the doors to a whole new world of hiring practices. The best part is that networking and industry knowledge has become more accessible. 

If there’s anything I would suggest to a new recruiter, it is to take advantage of the countless communities and groups

As long as you’re a friendly whale as opposed to a shark in the waters, you can easily network with brilliant recruitment experts to understand your industry.  

Happy recruiting!

[Disclaimer: This blog is a summary of the views shared by the guest on our video series, The Recruitment Scoop]


Team Recruit CRM

Recruit CRM builds cloud-based software for the global recruitment & staffing industry. We are on a mission to help recruitment firms grow faster with cutting-edge technology. We help recruiters do everything from sourcing candidates on LinkedIn, sending emails, setting up interviews, and reminders, collecting updated CVs & even feedback from clients. For the vast majority of our users, we are the main tool they use to get work done every day.

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