Everyone knows that social media videos should be short.
Everyone knows you should post LinkedIn posts between 8-10am.
Everyone knows that you should make the application process shorter and simpler.
Everyone knows that your job postings should have lots of information.
Everyone knows that “thank you for applying” messages should be professional sounding.
Everyone knows, everyone knows, everyone knows…*
These things that “everyone knows” are called “best practices.” They are the things that are “generally true” for the maximum number of people.
They aren’t specific to recruiting. There are best practices around how long a movie should be and how to optimize around a keyword for SEO. There are best practices like “the customer service rep should say your name at least five times on a call” and “salespeople should spend at least three minutes talking about the big name brands who already bought from them.”
But there are major issues following “best practices.”
- These things are “best” in the aggregate. That is, they might be best on average. Your mileage WILL vary.
- Everyone knows all about these “best” practices, which means everyone is using them. The practice that was meant to set you apart is now the default.
- Most people using best practices don’t know why they are best practices. They are followed blindly, even when they are actually counterproductive.
Following best practices says, “I don’t know what I want, so I’ll just do what other companies do.” It is a game of Follow the Leader, which is a game you “win” by losing. All they are doing is giving themselves cover as they abdicate responsibility for choosing.
No one ever got fired for following best practices, but no one ever succeeded that way, either.