There's No Excuse for Bad Recruiting

There's really no excuse for bad recruiting these days.

If you're a recruiter and you're not sure what I mean by "bad recruiting", allow me to help...

If you use a system that asks a candidate to upload a resume, then asks them to manually type in everything that's in the resume... that's bad recruiting. It's inefficient, and given there are better technology options available, it signals you're an organization that embraces inefficiency.

If you ask for a cover letter, but then don't actually use it to make a hiring decision, that's bad recruiting. (And no, indicating it's "optional" and then eliminating the candidates who choose not to submit one doesn't count as "using it to make a decision.") You're asking a job applicant to spend time on something that doesn't add any value to the process, and that not only signals you're an organization that embraces inefficiency, but also you're one that doesn't respect people's time and effort.

If you send a generic "thanks for applying" email once the application is received without giving the candidate a sense of what happens next, that's bad recruiting. If someone has taken the time to reply to your job posting, you owe them a reasonable timeline as to when you might arrive at a decision. (If you reply to unsuccessful candidates with a generic letter months after they applied to the role, or if you don't send any reply at all, that's not just bad recruiting, it's proof your organization is completely devoid of empathy.)

If an unsuccessful candidate asks for feedback on how they did during the process, and you're too busy or too afraid to provide it, that's also bad recruiting. Yes, we live in a litigious world, and if your hiring practices are discriminatory, the feedback you provide will likely get you in a lot of trouble. But most unsuccessful candidates aren't looking to sue companies... they're looking for a job. And those who genuinely ask for feedback are usually looking to get better so that they can eventually find one. Why not take the time to help them out? They'll be thankful you did, and are (ironically) likely to become brand ambassadors for your company despite the rejection. Not to mention the fact that today's rejected candidates can be tomorrow's employees, customers, or clients. (If you're interested, here's an article I wrote last year on this very topic.)

Finally, if you don't understand that recruiting isn't a one-sided conversation, and that the best talent is evaluating you just as much as you're evaluating them... that's bad recruiting. It doesn't help if you find that perfect candidate only to discover they've realized they don't want to work with you because of how they felt they were treated during the hiring process. Everything you do is a part of your brand, and that absolutely includes how you hire.

On a related note, I applied for a senior-level role for a well-funded start-up last week. They asked me to upload my resume (and didn't ask me to re-type anything in it!), provide my LinkedIn URL, and let them know if I had a website. Total time spent: three minutes. So far, so good.

Then they asked me for something I've never had to provide as a part of a job application before: a video as to why I'd be great for the role, and why I wanted it. There's a good reason I write a newsletter and not produce a vlog, but I dutifully shot a short video using my phone and uploaded it to the site. Moments later, I received an automated note thanking me for my application...

... and less than two hours after that, I received a very nice PFO letter informing me they were going to go in another direction. I can't say that didn't sting, but hey, at least they were quick about it. (Perhaps I should have combed my hair?)

Here's the real test, though: in their "thanks, but no thanks" email, they wrote, "If you would like any specific feedback about your application, please feel free to reach out." I always want feedback, so I replied to the email asking for as much. It's been a week, and I haven't yet received a response... but we'll see.

- dp