Recruitment is broken. The pandemic proves it.

The current pandemic has set off another LinkedIn storm. There are hundreds of posts on recruiters, recruitment processes, ghosting, and everything else.

But having recruited 100s of candidates, I know that it is a tough game and recruiters get so much stick for things beyond their control. For not getting back to candidates, lack of feedback, transparency, and other stuff. In most cases, it is beyond their control.

Liz Ryan posted on LinkedIn about a single recruiter who was supporting 14 departments. Now imagine the coordination, gathering feedback, and deciding a way forward. And then delivering positive and negative news, while still searching for new candidates. It is a tough, mostly thankless job that requires strong people skills.

Below, I look at ten improvements that can bring back trust, transparency, and reliability in the process and also reduce stress for recruiters, candidates, and hiring teams.

1: Transparency

Yes, there are several decision-makers and dependencies, but if I can see my cab arrival in seconds on my Uber app, and food being prepared in real-time on Wolt, then why can’t we see our application status in a tool?

In 2020, every tool should also have a candidate view with the below options and a space for qualitative feedback:

  • Application rejected by the system as it didn’t meet minimum qualifications
  • Application rejected by the system because of role match
  • Application viewed and rejected by a recruiter
  • Application viewed and rejected by the hiring team
  • The application moved to hold (Other interviews ongoing)
  • The application moved to interview
  • The role is still open, put on hold, closed

2: Deadlines

Recruitment is one of the very few processes where there are no deadlines. And in most companies, no one owns the time to hire metric.

A job ad that says, urgent and needs to be filled ASAP, is still open after 6 months. More than glassdoor ratings, companies should communicate their median time to hire for a role. On average, in a startup, we’ve hired within 2 weeks, while in a large corporate it varies from 6 weeks to about 6 months. This is also valuable information for managing candidates’ expectations.

3: Balance elimination and selection

Looks like the recruitment process has somehow become a process to eliminate a candidate and less of selecting a candidate. I’m a firm believer that one should never compromise and make a bad hire, but we should also never compromise on the best talent. Potential, learning ability, transferable skills are being overlooked in most processes today. Imagine Jack Welch not getting that opportunity in 1961, then we would not know the GE of this day.

Recruiters should take a leadership role here and coach hiring teams on talent management, functional diversity, and team profiles.

4: People don’t stick to timelines

We will get back next week will likely turn into a few weeks or more. A delay is usually because of the hiring managers and the way teams are structured. Completely understandable, but then it has to be managed with better communication. If you ever had a candidate follow-up with you for their application status, then it is the first red flag.

5: Unnecessary cases and video responses

Companies have gone into a bad practice of using a tool for the wrong reasons. Several candidates are given cases and video response requests with the assumption that the response rate will be 50% or lesser. And this is leading to a case and activity fatigue.

And when a candidate still goes ahead and solves the case, they are rejected even without opening their code/response. This is completely unreasonable and maybe, these cases can be sent out in batches to a set of candidates.

6: We’ve decided to proceed with internal candidates

This is understandable. But this can be addressed with an additional sentence in the job ad. This role is also open for our internal candidates or we have already undergone the internal process and are only looking for external candidates. This provides more clarity to applicants and they can decide if they’d like to apply or not

7: The top-most complaint – Ghosting and lack of feedback

Most recruiters and hiring managers are not trained to communicate negative decisions. It’s a different skill altogether, including active listening, empathy, and clear feedback. Personal feedback and a short call after interviews go a long way in building the employer brand and your personal brand.

This also needs discipline, factoring in extra time for feedback, and at times conflict management.

8: Clear Job descriptions

Looks like most organizations prepare job ads in a hurry and recycle old ads. Do you want someone who can do the job or they want someone who has already done the exact job? This creates a catch-22 situation for anyone who has skills, but not the precise ones for a particular job.

While I have also seen some good practices, where the ad is clear:

• PRINCE 2 certification is mandatory
• German B2.2 is a minimum requirement, rather than strong written and verbal Finnish & English skills

Bachelor’s degree with 10 years experience, MBA with 5 years experience, and so on. Quantify it as much as possible.

9: Easy apply on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, we don’t need easy apply. This is making applicants lazy and in most cases, recruiters are flooded with profiles. Maybe we can think of integration with all the ATS systems?

You already have our endorsements, recommendations, certifications, and other details, why not use this rich data to present a score to the recruiters + CV and make it extremely valuable? Add some case studies and tasks and provide a competence score?

10: Empathy

It doesn’t cost us anything to show a little empathy and kindness in these unprecedented times. Candidates and recruiters and everyone involved in the hiring process should start treating each other with respect, empathy, and make the process more human.

That said, finding qualified and great talent was and still is a big challenge for every organization. And yet there are many exceptionally talented and experienced people sitting on the sidelines. Have we automated the process a bit too much and made it into a tick-box, keyword-driven process? Is it time to reimagine the system? That’s a completely different discussion that I’ll post in the coming weeks.

One thought on “Recruitment is broken. The pandemic proves it.

  1. Dear Raghunath
    It’s a nice article with good guidelines, an eye opener for Recruiters, but how practical is it when it comes to executing it all depends on the recruiters, as we are aware,majority of recruiters do not follow above said guidelines.

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