Recruiting Is Broken, and It’s Repelling Candidates — Careers Done Write

These last few weeks, there have been many alarmist stories on social media and in traditional media about impending layoffs and recession. Inflation is kicking up, and with it, so are the prices of consumer goods. However, unemployment remains historically low, and it is still a candidate’s market. Many companies of all sizes in all sectors have open roles that they’ve been unable to fill. I’ve had hiring managers ask me why recruiting in this market is so hard. After all, in such a hot market, shouldn’t there be a flood of qualified applicants for an open req? Yes, but also no. 

In this hot job market, candidates have more options than ever before. They no longer need to jump through hoops at the behest of a hiring company. They are in control. With that in mind, it is particularly odd that while candidate behavior has radically changed over the last two years, recruiting practices and criteria have remained much the same. These recruiters and hiring managers are using outmoded practices and wondering why they aren’t working with today’s candidates. 

Here is an example of one such out-of-touch employer. I spoke with a client who was contacted by a recruiter from a competitor company via LinkedIn. The job they are hiring for would be a level up for my client, and he was initially enthusiastic about the prospect. However, in the initial call with the recruiter, he was informed that this is strictly a hybrid role; even though the entire team is in California, he would be required to go into the sales office in New York Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and maintain West Coast hours. (To sit on Zoom calls with the team in California?)

Further, she informed him that any offer he might receive would be non-negotiable. (How is this even a thing?) Still, he decided to proceed with the interview. In the interview, the hiring manager mentioned that this position has been open for 14 months. (Wowza!) He said they had extended three offers, all of which were declined. He then grilled my client for 40 minutes, leaving him only five minutes for questions. 

This is terrible recruiting in a “normal” market. In this market, it’s a self-defeating prophecy for the hiring company. There are so many red flags here that I’m unsure where to begin, so let’s pick the biggest one. The job has been open for a year, and three people have turned it down. That means there is something very, very wrong with the hiring company. If you are trying to recruit in this tight market, here are a few things NOT to do:

  • Make candidates go through excessive rounds of interviews

  • Require the candidate to complete a project 

  • “Ghost” your candidates

  • Protract the process excessively

  • Be vague about the skills and experience you’re looking for

  • Insult your candidates and waste their time

Debra Wheatman

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