I’ve had the opportunity to live and work in the UK, from my home country in Canada, and when looking for employment I’ve seen some excellent improvements over the Canadian way of running job ads that I think would improve the hiring experience for both employers and potential employees.
Up front, I have a lot of experience in building teams, onboarding and training employees; but as someone whose leadership experience comes from the military, where I wasn’t involved in the hiring process, I will admit my specific experience in recruitment is limited. However, I do wonder if that might not be in some ways an advantage as I also haven’t learned bad habits from the system.
An often heard complaint from job seekers is that they send out their résumés and hear nothing back. To offset this, there’s a little line at the bottom of job postings stating “only those selected for an interview will be contacted” which is a completely unsatisfactory response from employers for potential employees. Now, the response to that is always that there are so many applicants that it would take too long to respond to everyone, but surely, given all the HR systems and tech being developed these days, that bulk email technology could have been a priority to to let unsuccessful candidates know they should move on? To me, it’s telling that it hasn’t.
Regardless of that, there is a work around for those recruiters and hiring staff who do want to be more informative and respectful of potential employees’ time that would be a way to meet potential employees halfway. But before we get to that? Why should you?
Why, if employers are getting hundreds of applicants for every job posting, should they bother caring how applicants feel about the recruiting process?
First, I’ll speculate that if hiring processes were more transparent and potential employees had more, and more accurate information, as well as a clearer picture of the hiring process they may be more likely to apply to fewer jobs, rather than the current “send résumés out everywhere and hope for the best because you don’t hear anything back”. Basically what I’m saying is that I think recruiters are getting so many résumés because applicants aren’t receiving any feedback, so in response to that applicants just send out résumés to everyone to cover all their bases, which in turn is making recruiters have too many résumés to respond to all applicants or give good feedback. So this might be an improvement in the hiring process for recruiters.
Second, knowing the timeline and having a better picture of the hiring process will also give potential employees more information about the company, allowing them to better decide what jobs fit their needs and their desired hiring or transition timeline, which, I would hope, lead to applicants applying to fewer and more relevant jobs.
So, ideally, an improved hiring process would lead to fewer, better fitting applicants. But what are some ways to improve the hiring process?
Here are a couple improvements I would recommend we change:
1. Shorter timelines for job postings.
I don’t know if this came about because of the online systems employers use to post their jobs, which just happen to have a 30 day posting timeline, or if it was a deliberate choice based on FOMO (fear of missing out) that opening up job postings for a month would give you the most time to get the BEST candidate. But first, I think the BEST candidate is over-rated, and we should be more concerned with growing good candidates to great employees. I also think it it’s a numbers game and a risk and being preoccupied with a 1 week, 2 week or 30 day window, you’re still a victim of chance so just get over it.
But what I saw in the UK I thought was great. Sometimes job postings were only for a week. I would personally recommend no more than 2 weeks, but certainly I feel we need to get away from 30 day job postings. I just think it does no one any benefit to have 30 day job postings, I’m not sure it’s even a deliberate choice and it’s just too long.
2. Your job posting should have a hiring timeline.
When I was in the UK I noticed the week of interviews was set, which I felt was excellent information to have. As an applicant I would know when to be around, not schedule vacation or notify my current job that I needed to take time off. When you set the days interviews will be held on you not only provide information about the steps of the hiring process, you also notify potential employees of how long résumés will be evaluated for and how quickly the hiring process will progress.
While some Canadian job postings have a job start date, which I think is great, I think adding in when interviews will be would be valuable information to have, along with any other aspects or tests associated with the hiring process.
3. Be clear on what your hiring process looks like.
Will you have an interview? Set a timeline for that and give details on your interview and structure. Do you need time to review a portfolio or will you be requesting an original piece created? Will there be a test? Two rounds of interviews?
As with all my other recommendations, provide all the information about the details of the hiring process as you’re able to.
My analysis of ways to improve the hiring process, which I think will lead to happier and better qualified employees, comes from a basic understanding of human nature. People want to be informed, and feel more confident and respected when they have more information and feel their time is not being wasted.
Providing more information, while it does create more demands for recruiters and hiring personnel, would, ultimately, I think, lead to employees having a more positive view of employers and an overall improvement in Employee-Employer relations, that started off with mutual respect.
My video from my YouTube channel on my ideas here:
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