All applicants want in the hiring process is helpful feedback, respect, and to not re-enter their entire already uploaded resume onto your website.
Dear Potential Employers,
Here’s the deal: no one likes applying for jobs. The vicious cycle of searching, writing cover letters, answering generic questions, and waiting to hear something back can last for countless months with no end in sight. Talk about frustrating, time-consuming, and laden with disappointment.
So… why do you go out of your way to make it worse? No, seriously. Personal experience (and lots of it) leads me to believe few of you care about the experience applicants have during the hiring process. You expect and hope job seekers spend time fine-tuning their skills, craft their best cover letters, and study for interviews, yet you haven’t updated your company application in years. When will the double-standard cease?
Us job applicants aren’t asking for anything special. We want: honesty, timely communication, and to know you value our time — things we expect upon hire anyway. It’s time you potential employers pony up and fix the 4 big problems we have with your hiring processes.
The 4 Problems With Your Hiring Process
Problem #1: The Job Description
Before spending time and effort on perfecting a job application for your company, applicants want to know these crucial details:
It’s better for everyone involved if you just include the pay in the job posting from the start. If someone has a minimum salary requirement that a position cannot meet, they will save both themselves and your company time by not applying in the first place. There’s nothing worse than preparing for an interview just to hear that the pay range isn’t sufficient.
Same thing goes for benefits. A general list of what you offer or don’t offer has the same effect as listing the salary. I recently moved and applied for many, many jobs around my new house. I only had one must-have requirement: health insurance. So, of course — I got an interview with a very small, local business for what seemed like an enjoyable position. Not until the interview did I find out that they did not offer health insurance. Talk about buzz kill.
2. Working hours
3. Job responsibilities
4. Qualifications needed to be considered
That’s it. We don’t want to read about how your company slays metaphorical dragons and that every employee is a warrior in the symbolic warfare against potential competitors and nay-sayers. We don’t want to read inspirational French literary quotes that have nothing to do with your company. I’ve seen both in real-life job descriptions.
The bottom line is: cut the BS. Misleading and incomplete descriptions only do one thing — waste everyone’s time.
Problem #2: The Actual Job Application
To you companies who have fully embraced the capabilities of Indeed — BRAVO. You can skip down to problem #3.
To you companies who ask applicants to upload their resume and then make them manually enter everything that’s already on their resume into separate fields on your website — YOU ARE AN ABOMINATION. No one is happy about applying to your company. Even people who have found their once in a lifetime dream job at your company are pissed off at you.
Right away, by formatting your application like this, you’re letting applicants know you don’t value their time. And don’t give me that crap about “weeding out” applicants that aren’t fully invested in your company. Weed out applicants by asking them detailed questions, or making them complete a skills test — not by requiring them to take an hour to rewrite every word of their entire resume on your website. No one wants to do double the work, respect our time.
Ask applicants to upload their cover letter and resume. If necessary, ask a few short answer questions at the end. That’s it. And honestly, in this day and age with the advanced automation and AI capabilities, there is simply no excuse for an archaic online form.
The bottom line is: cut the BS. You want us to be excited at the prospect of working for you, so don’t ruin it with a tedious hour-long application.
Problem #3: Lack of Helpful Communication
You invite us in for an interview or phone call. Most likely you tell us you’ll be in touch early next week. You reassure us that if we have any questions about the position we should please get in contact with you. Literally any questions, you remind us.
It’s early next week, and nothing. We follow-up with an email on Wednesday thanking you for your time and consideration, letting you know we’re here if you need any more info to make your decision easier. No response. We reply to our own email a couple days later, making ourselves look desperate for any piece of information you can offer. Maybe you respond and apologize for taking longer than originally stated. Or maybe you don’t respond. From my experience, both are equally as plausible.
So time goes on, and the scratched record repeats. We dangle on a cliff with our livelihood at stake with zero clue of what’s to happen next, and you drag your feet on making a decision. Or you’ve made a decision and don’t care to let us know in a timely fashion — either way is inconsiderate and anxiety inducing.
The bottom line is: cut the BS. Do you see a pattern catching on? If you say you’re going to be in touch on a particular day or by a certain time, follow through. There’s nothing more off-putting than being left in the dark on a potential huge change in our lives.
Problem #4: Withholding Why We Weren’t Hired
The whole generic rejection email gets extremely old, extremely fast. It goes something like this: “We regret to inform you that despite your impressive qualifications, we have decided to move forward with another candidate who better suits our needs for this position at this time. We appreciate your interest in working at our company, and wish you the best of luck in your job search.” I’ve received so many of these dirty, rotten emails that I’ve committed the overly-formal and passive-aggressive language to memory.
This kind of email, which usually runs on for 2–3 paragraphs, relays no valuable information. Once you say “it’s not you” in whatever combination of words you choose, the rest is implicit. You didn’t tell us why we’re not hired. There’s nothing hinting at what we should work on for future applications. You didn’t tell us anything.
And THEN if we put on our courageous pants and actually respond asking for more information on reasons behind your decision, you repeat the same crappy fluff. THIS MAKES NO SENSE. Someone wants to better themselves in hopes of getting the next job they interview for, maybe even at your company, and you refuse to help them out. Not everyone needs an elaboration on why they got rejected. But, if you took an hour of someone’s time for an interview that they will never get back, they deserve meaningful feedback.
Something Is Better Than Nothing
One of my friends recently got rejected for a position in which he was required to do a background check, create an extensive mock-up of a “project,” endure an hour long phone interview, and then take several online tests. This totaled at least 6 hours, if not more, which ultimately amounted to wasted time and effort.
After he got the dreaded generic rejection email, he asked several people he was in contact with for more information about why he wasn’t chosen to move forward. Two of them claimed they did not know, and the other one refused to answer several inquiries. Talk about pure, unadulterated disrespect for a qualified candidate’s time.
Constructive criticism can go a long way in not only improving rejected applicant’s future applications, but potentially improving the future candidates applying to your company. A win-win for everyone involved, and it only takes a couple minutes.
So… can you just cut the BS already?
Proposed Improvements To The Hiring Process:
While creating your hiring process, for every step of the way, ask yourself: is this the best use of the applicants’ time? How about: is this the best use of company time, money, and resources?
Time is such a valuable commodity in the workplace, which I’m sure is a popular excuse for terrible hiring practices. Big companies have too many applicants to pay any attention to them. Small companies have too few employees taking on the hiring responsibilities that everyone who isn’t the front runner falls to the absolute bottom of the list of priorities. I get it. But, there are ways to get around all of these poor excuses.
Experiment and keep records to save you time in the future. Figure out what the most common reasons are that you don’t hire candidates. Craft fill-in-the-blank email templates explaining these reasons. Leave a couple sentences at the end to personalize it for each applicant. Send them out to anyone who moved on past the first stage of the hiring process.
Create a standard schedule for hiring, and don’t waver. Respect people’s time. Be honest. Follow-through on the timeline you give to applicants. Doesn’t it seem too easy? So, why can’t any of you employers seem to figure it out yet? It’s baffling.
Remember, the application process is a person’s first impression of what it’s like to work at your company. If the hiring process is riddled with unnecessary forms, followed by unanswered emails and phone calls, why should we persist? If you offer a job to us after all of that, why should we take it? In the end, even if we don’t get hired, the application process is a reason we may or may not apply again in the future. And we’re definitely going to tell our friends about it.