5 ways employers could improve the hiring process

Ask any job-seeker and they’ll tell you: Most employers do a terrible job of considering what a candidate’s experience is like in their hiring process.

Job-seekers have story after story about employers who communicate poorly or not at all, who advertise jobs that don’t match up with the reality of what they need, and that send such negative messages about the employer’s culture that only the desperate would want to work there.

Employers may feel that they don’t have to pay much attention to the candidate experience; it’s a buyer’s market, after all. This is short-sighted, because the best candidates have options and will turn elsewhere. And it’s also pretty unkind to people who are in a vulnerable and anxiety-producing spot.

Here are five components of a hiring system that takes the candidate experience into consideration.

1. Set expectations for the timeline and process. Whether it’s through an auto-reply after an application is received or through direct contact with a hiring rep, employers need to have some way of telling candidates when they can expect to hear back by and what the next steps will be.

2. Don’t require an unreasonable investment of time and information up-front. More and more companies are switching to endlessly long online application forms. When candidates know there’s a good chance they won’t even get so much as an acknowledgement, having to spend an hour wrestling with an onerous application system simply to submit a resume is a bitter pill to swallow.

3. Don’t require candidates to hand over their first-born just to get considered. Increasingly, companies are asking candidates to submit their social security numbers and references with the initial application. There’s no reason to require this kind of information from candidates who haven’t even gone through an initial screening round yet.

4. Provide candidates with clear, well-thought-out job descriptions. Too often, employers post jargon-filled, incomprehensible job descriptions that make no sense to anyone outside their organization (or maybe even inside). Job candidates shouldn’t have to struggle to figure out what you’re looking for or if they might be suited to providing it.

5. Reject candidates promptly. I recently surveyed readers at Ask a Manager about their biggest frustrations in the job-search process. 49% percent said their number one frustration with job-searching is employees who don’t bother to respond to them in any way, even after they take the time to interview. There’s just no reason that someone who takes the time to reply shouldn’t receive the courtesy of an answer, even if it’s a form letter “no thanks.”

Simply treating candidates with courtesy and respect has become so rare that employers who do the above will stand out — meaning that good people will want to work for them and even candidates who don’t get interviewed will leave the experience with a positive impression.

I originally published this at U.S. News & World Report.

{ 2 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    If only there was a magical email to send that to every employer in the U.S.A.!

    (Ok, so some might not need it because they know better, but unfortunately, there are companies that give a bad rep to all).

    Thank you for putting the word out on behalf of the job seekers.

  2. Anonymous*

    It's definitely a buyer's market and most of the people I've dealt with don't seem to think they need to even show good manners. Worst offender, the self impressed management consultant who made me wait 40 minutes for our interview, cleaned his nails with my business card, and asked completely half assed questions during the meeting where he just picked random factoids off my resume, instead of talking about the client engagement. Thank God they never called me back, I'd hate to have to work with somebody that abrasive.

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