Hiring hurdles

7 of the most irritating things job seekers wish companies would change about the process.

Most companies view the hiring process solely from their perspective. Applications, interviews, job offers — everything is designed to make hiring the perfect candidate easy for them. Smart business owners also view the hiring process from the applicant’s side. They realize an employee’s experience starts the day she applies, not her first day on the job. When I asked 1 million-plus LinkedIn followers to share the one thing they wish companies, hiring managers and interviewers would stop doing during the hiring process, I received a flood of responses. 

1. Failing to include the pay range.

“Not sharing expected salary ranges in the posting causes a huge amount of unnecessary work; all those candidates who require much higher compensation levels blindly waste their time crafting resumes and cover letters to get to the top of the pile … only to find out the position pays 30% less than they currently make.”

Businesses may be tempted to withhold the pay range, at least at first, in order to cast as wide a net as possible. But no matter how rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful and exciting the work, salary still matters. 

2. Requesting the same information multiple times.

“Asking me to submit a resume and then in the application, asking me to input my work and education history!”

In most cases, cumbersome applications systems are designed to benefit the employer, not the potential employee. “Since we might need all this information,” the thinking goes, “let’s have the candidate fill it out so that it automatically imports into our database. That’ll make our jobs easier.”

And it also makes lots of great people — especially those who already have jobs — decide not to apply.

Businesses should think of job candidates as customers. Your application system should make it as easy as possible for all candidates — especially outstanding candidates — to apply. 

3. Spacing too many interviews over too long a time period

“I wish companies would stop requiring more than two or three interviews that are spaced out over weeks.  If you can’t make a decision after a couple of rounds, then you probably don’t really know what you are looking for.”

Businesses should do their best to complete all interviews the same day. And if a business does feel the need to hold first(screening) and second (short list) interviews, they should let candidates know up front. And get them done within a few days. 

4. Involving human resources in too much of the process.

“Please take HR people out of the interview process, especially when dealing with highly specialized prospective employees. Let the hiring manager do the interviewing.”

Department heads know exactly what they need — and more importantly, they have a much better sense of when attitude matters more than skill.(After all, you can train skills, but you can’t train attitude.) 

5. Overly long job descriptions.

“Everything but the kitchen sink job descriptions. So many companies are advertising for people who can do video, graphic design, blogs, social media, copywriting, SEO, PR and on and on. It’s really hard to know what they’re really looking for.”

Job descriptions often include laundry lists of required attributes; the “perfect candidate” must possess an impossibly broad set of skills, qualities, credentials and experiences. But businesses don’t really need all those things. Whatever itis the business really needs, they should explain it.  The perfect candidate won’t just say, “I can do that!” — she’ll say, “I love to do that!” 

6. Asking for salary history or expected salary.

“Stop asking, ‘What would you like to make here? ’You have access to market analysis and benchmarking data and should have an understanding of what an employee is worth to your organization.”

Aside from the fact this question is illegal in a number of states and cities, it’s problematic in a number of other ways.

For example, some interviewers use this question as a way to determine the salary they will offer.  After all, if the business was willing to pay $60,000 per year and you only expect $50,000, the business “wins.”

Actually, they don’t. Sure, the business may get you for $50,000. But you’ll eventually find out you took a low-ball offer, especially if other employees are paid at or near the top of the scale. No employee wants to feel their pay is unfair compared to employees who hold similar positions.

Plus, what a prospective employee earned at a previous job has no real bearing on their value to a company. The roles and responsibilities, while seemingly similar, may be dramatically different. Their pay may not reflect the skills and experience they’ve developed.

Before you even start the interview process, decide what the job is worth to you and your company.  Then let the potential employees decide if that number works for them. 

7. Assuming years of experience as a proxy for skill.

Asking for unrealistic qualifications and relying more on the years of experience on the CV rather than skills (e.g.10 years of experience for a close-to-junior position), Although I understand that in some markets, strict requirements might be used preliminarily to select the most interesting candidates, there really is no concrete reason to do so.”

Take college degrees: If a four-year degree is required, why is it required? What does a degree prove? If you need a mechanical engineer, then a degree does indicate a certain level of knowledge. But if you need a customer service rep, requiring a degree may automatically exclude some potentially awesome people.

The same is true with years of experience. Say a business requires “at least five years of experience in an accounting role.” What do those years of service indicate? Only that you’ve managed to hold accounting jobs for five years.

Never use an experience or irrelevant qualifications as a proxy for an achievement. What matters is what people can do — which means what matters is what they’ve done.

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