Why Do We Make the Hiring Process So Difficult?

Organizations need to improve their hiring processes. The job market shifts over the years, but currently we are in a candidate’s market. This means that companies are struggling to find top talent and candidates are getting multiple job offers.

Due to this reality, everyone who is involved in the hire process needs to do a better job to make fast decisions and streamline the process.

Let’s start with the application process. Why are some companies still requiring candidates to not only upload their resume but to then re-type all their information into their database? If you do this at your company, do you track the fall-out rate? How many candidates start to apply but never finish their application? If the number is high, then you are losing candidates due to your outdated and cumbersome process. Improve it. Make sure your career site is mobile-friendly and only requires name, resume attachment and phone number.

Now, let’s discuss the interview process. Does everyone in the world need to be involved? From a candidate’s standpoint, if I have to interview with an endless trail of people, my thought is to question the hiring manager’s decision-making abilities. My previous job required two phone screens and three in-person interviews and took two months from first interview to offer. In today’s market, I would have had other offers in this two month time period, and they would have lost me.

Another role I interviewed for required two phone screens, two on-site interviews, and flying to corporate headquarters across the country from where I lived. I interviewed with over 40 people, including the CEO, all for a mid-level role, not even in management. No joke! It was ridiculous. In addition, what are the odds that all 40 plus people would have approved of me? There will never be consensus with so many people involved. So, now you are spouting “collaboration” when really the ultimate hiring decision is going to fall on one person – the hiring manager.

There should be no logical reason why the hiring team can’t make a decision after two or three (for very high level roles) meetings. You can even throw in a lunch at the start or end of the interview to see how the candidate behaves in social situations. Candidates who are working full-time just won’t make the time to jump through so many hoops, and they will withdraw from the process. It becomes apparent that they may not be the top candidate if you keep requesting more time to evaluate them. If you are questioning them, they will begin to question you as well.

My absolute favorite is when companies require a presentation. Although this can be useful for sales or customer-facing roles, is it really necessary to require of ALL candidates? Again, a top quality candidate who is gainfully employed is not going to want to put the effort into this preparation time. Maybe the hiring manager should also create a presentation to sell them on how great a leader he or she is.

And, don’t even get me started on personality or culture fit tests! What exactly are you looking for with these tests? Candidates are told there are no wrong answers, so what are the “right” answers? Are you looking for people just like you and your team or are you looking for diversity? I just never understood the value in these tests. Personally, I can tell in the first ten to fifteen minutes of meeting someone in person whether I will be able to mesh well with them and have a good working relationship.

To summarize, here are the key points to be able to compete with the companies who always seem to grab the top talent:

  1. Make the application process as quick and easy as possible. It should take no more than five minutes to apply.
  2. Keep the interview steps to a minimum. Two to three meetings are sufficient. If you MUST include several stakeholders, then conduct panel interviews and take a half day or full day and knock the meeting out in one day as opposed to several visits.
  3. Do not require presentations, portfolios, etc. unless absolutely critical for the specific role.
  4. Do not require personality or culture tests unless you can figure out what exactly it is you are looking for as a result of those tests.
  5. Make your hire decision and get that offer out as soon as humanly possible - within one to two days after the last interview is ideal.
  6. Personally call and thank the candidates you have passed on. You don’t need to do this for all applicants, but be courteous of the ones who were invited on-site. If you simply can’t do that, at least send an e-mail with the news. Do not “ghost” candidates.

What is the best or worst hiring process you ever encountered?