10 of the worst problems with the well-established Recruiting and Selection process used at nearly every medium-sized and large organization:
1. Job openings are designed based on the Essential Requirements needed for the job (many of which are untested, arbitrary and not even close to Essential) rather than on the work itself. This happens because managers want more highly-credentialed people on their teams to vault them up in status — or because HR has already defined every job in the organization and assigned Essential Requirements to it. Talk about the tail wagging the dog! Maintaining the bureaucratic system becomes more important than hiring a smart and capable person to do the work.
2. Job ads are written in a terse, unfriendly and talent-repelling language that signals job-seekers “Don’t even think about wasting our time if you don’t have every qualification listed here!” HR and Staffing departments tend to know little or nothing about marketing. Many do not understand that their job is a sales and marketing job. No one pays Staffing people to screen out resumes, a task that has no business value. They are paid to hire great people, fast!
3. The Applicant Tracking systems that use keyword-searching algorithms to screen resumes are ancient technology deployed in a pointless, slow and expensive way. We will never hire great people by sifting keywords. We have had twenty years or more to realize this and act on that knowledge. Luckily, the best employers are beginning to experiment with non-ATS recruiting using talent pools, recruiting pipelines and social networks.
4. We do not force our prospective customers to fill out fields in an endless ‘customer application’ form, but we do require job-seekers to fill out creaky, insulting online application forms. We send them the clear message “If you want to work for us, start begging.” We expect job-seekers to take tests for us, complete questionnaires and tolerate unexplained delays on our end. We make it clear: “You are just another job-seeker, so sit down and be quiet.”
5. The interview process itself is broken. From every other area of our lives we know that having a human conversation is the best way to get to know someone. In a flowing conversation, we will see how a person’s mind works, but many interviewers cannot put down their nineteen-fifties-era interview script and talk to a job-seeker the way humans do. They don’t have the conversational skills for that — nor the discernment to simultaneously vet and woo job-seekers the way modern recruiting requires. In that case, why are they interviewing people in the first place?
6. We treat the subject of salary as something that a job-seeker must earn the right to discuss. Why doesn’t every job ad clearly state the salary range for the position? It’s because employers won’t give up the negotiating advantage that an undisclosed starting salary range gives them.
7. We signal to job-seekers that if they want to work for us, they must relinquish personal information starting at the beginning of the application process. We demand their past and current salary details as though that information had anything to do with the hiring decision — but it doesn’t. Then we are surprised when qualified and eager job applicants don’t show up in droves.
8. We do not track or worry about the number of talented candidates who stop by our website to learn about career opportunities and maybe even start an application — but then run away in horror and disgust. E-commerce marketers stress and obsess about shopping cart abandonment. When someone is considering buying from our company, we hate to see them leave the store without buying anything. When it comes to job applicants, though, we say “It should be hard to get a job with our company. Anybody who leaves the process is not someone we would have wanted, anyway.” This is a sign of crushing fear — right out in the open!
9. We design and execute the recruiting process not to hire the most capable or creative person but the most docile and pliable one. Then we complain that we don’t get the out-of-the-box thinking our organizations need. If you weed out independent thinkers in your recruiting process, you don’t get to complain when you don’t see or hear them at staff meetings.
10. At every stage of recruiting, we send the clear message “We are the employer, and we are big. You are the job applicant, and you are small. We have the big decision to make — which one of you job applicants is good enough for us.” This mindset kills us on the recruiting front every day. It kills our ability to compete.