As we have seen lately, it is pretty entertaining to find examples of horrid recruiting practices and put them on display for everyone to see. Joking aside, an old school process, or habits that have clung on for dear life within your organization, can destroy your ability to hire and retain great talent. I write mostly from a small to mid-sized business and how they can enhance their hiring process but understand larger enterprises may have some gate-keeper tactics that I drag through the mud. If you have not read Part 1, take a read here.
The updating of resumes – I hate updating resumes, I feel it is a total waste of time and think it is a symptom of a much larger problem within talent acquisition. In this candidate market, if you are asking seasoned professionals, highly sought-after employees or just about anyone with proven experience to update their resume, get ready to lose some candidates. I understand some companies require resumes to be in specific formats and some cases it might be unavoidable, but for the love of Boolean don’t make it a mandatory practice. Updating resumes for content might be necessary but updating a resume to be in a particular format is about the best example of a non-value time waster.
Not only does this waste time and annoy your recruiting team, but it sends a loud a clear message to your candidates that they are entering into a company that can’t read between the lines and is more interested in formality then creativity. With any advice I give or article I write, I preface with this, if you have qualified candidates beating down your door and willing to spend time on administrative tasks, by all means, go ahead and ask them to update their resume.
How to get out of this mindset – if I learned anything from watching hours of GI JOE cartoons after school, it is that “knowing is half the battle.” Inform the hiring team that companies are hiring with urgency these days and while we are fooling around with font size and bullets, other companies are eliminating barriers to entry. You may need to help your team draw some conclusions.“Well, they have been supporting XYZ system for the last ten years as a system admin in a classified environment, I am sure they have experience helping users and managing accounts through a ticketing system even though it does not specifically say that.”
Another great tip for this is making sure you have a killer write up when submitting your candidates to your hiring manager. Address things missing from the resume and point out that even though it is not listed on the resume, the candidate has experience doing XYZ. Once you get to know your team, you will understand the things they ask, and you can preempt the question with answers.
If they are good enough to ask for an updated resume, they are probably good enough to call and screen. Cut out the excessive administrative tasks and get on with the process.
Using the resume as THE INTERVIEW – Any interview that starts with “let’s walk through your resume,” is for sure not going to be a riveting and memorable interview. Good interviews focus on technical skills as well as behavioral attributes, and for the most part, behavioral characteristics won’t be uncovered by going through the resume line by line. Have some open-ended behavioral interview questions ready to go; a simple Google search will discover plenty of great example questions.
The Cryptic approach – When I was trained in recruiting, I was told to NEVER tell the candidate too much about the job, company, or salary before having an in-depth conversation. Much of this was to protect your positions, but also to make sure you don’t accidentally disqualify someone for one job by telling them about another. The goal was, and still is, to get people on the phone and not give up too much before that call. In this market, this does not work and can start to sound a little shady to the person on the other end of the call and border into a confrontation. This can lead to a very frustrating call.
Now I am not saying give away all your cards at the beginning of the process, but it is essential to start the relationship off with trust to move forward. When I have recently been recruited for a few different opportunities, I did not advance past the first five minutes of the call if the recruiter would not tell me who the company was or any real details about the role. I am just not willing to invest my time entering into a process when I do not know the company I would be working for and your candidates feel the same way.
Throwing shade on your competition – I can’t believe this needs to be said. Never and I mean NEVER talk poorly about other companies. I was taught this early on, and no matter how bad of a reputation a company has, do not throw shade on other companies. It entirely smells of a lack of integrity and is a horrible business practice. We recently had a situation where a candidate of ours was interviewing with a large company who is a powerhouse in the industry, and we were talking to them about a very similar job. The candidate was open with both companies about his job search but also confided in me about some things the other company said about our job and the stability of the work. Not only was I shocked, but it was effortless to deflect what was told with evidence that eased the candidate’s mind and showed the other company was lying to him. He took our offer.
Eliminating Candidates for ridiculous reasons – By now I am sure we have all seen and mocked the Business Insider article focused around hiring only those who send thank you notes. There is so much wrong with this approach that we could focus on, but let’s leave it at this. Unless you are hiring for a thank you card writer at Hallmark, I hardly see how this has anything to do with someone’s ability to do the job. Not to mention IF your company understands the current market conditions, shouldn’t this be the other way around? In this market, you should be sending the candidate a thank you, kidding, but not. This is a classic old school mentality that is just not realistic in today’s hiring market.