Lengthy online applications, psychometric and skill assessments, phone screens, first through third round and intimidating nerve wracking panel interviews, waiting room lineups, auto replies, unreturned follow-up calls and silence, mostly silence.
We preach job search candidate etiquette, cover letters, thank you emails, punctuality, yet we don't necessarily practice it ourselves. Why do we expect candidates to jump through hoops, sit on pins and needles and settle for silence?
We have a lot of defensive answers for that like understaffing, too many submissions, unqualified applicants, I'm only one person...
The process has become automated and cold
I continually hear from job seekers I coach that the most frequent feedback they hear is silence... While silence is clearly feedback, it leaves one confused, hopeful, waiting, and often results in frustration, bitterness, a poor opinion of the employer, a lost customer, that person who tells 10 others not to apply or do business there because the company sucks.
Job candidates today are savvy to ATS auto-generated responses to submissions. They know that 'thank you for your application' doesn't mean anyone has looked at it. They know some machine is going to pilfer keywords, they know that someone who knows someone will get an interview before they do, because they are no one. They search the Internet how to game the system - a skillset that typically has nothing to do with the jobs they apply to and therefore one that they may not dominate. How many occupations require SEO?
You must fill out the online app
The job fairs I attended this year were sad. They were little more than glitzy corporate propaganda. They typical booth had an expensive pop up display showing their products, fleet, happy associates, or massive corporate HQ, a bowl of candy on the table, a variety of logoed koozies, pens, keychains, stress balls and sticky notes to hand out, and one sheeters with current openings. Many of the human resource representatives wouldn't even accept a paper resume, and repeated time after time all day long, "We don't accept paper resumes, when you go home go to our website".
There were a few companies with unskilled labor positions that did have paper applications, and there were tables in the back where job seekers could fill them out on the spot - but I saw no onsite interviews. It was an information and collection process. That's it. The staffers might have well as said,
Put your application in the pile and leave. If we like your handwriting we'll call you. We won't remember you though because we didn't read your application on the spot and talk with you to pre-screen or get to know you.
The cost of doing good business
The world wide web is full of posts from recruiters and others involved in the candidate selection process regarding the importance of candidate engagement, pipelines, follow-up, relationship building, you name it. Many corporations have institutionalized best practices into the talent acquisition culture of the organization, and many third party staffing agencies and freelance recruiters walk the talk. But so many more have not. There is still a pervasive unspoken culture of,
I don't owe you anything, I'm busy and talking to undesirables doesn't net me a placement fee or help me meet my goals so I don't bother, and that's the way it is.
Have we minimized the difference between a search engine query for the best, least expensive coffee maker and a query for a business analyst? Are we simply processing transactions and leaving out customer service? Have we cut our nose off to spite our face?
My grandmother used to warn me against doing that a lot. We attract candidates with our social channels, engage in recruitment events, and spout how great the corporate culture is, then we treat the recruitment and selection process as if it were a sterile containment unit with everyone dressed in hazmat gear. We can't scan a resume and use OCR software to convert it for an ATS?
Or, we feel clerical work is beneath us?
Tell me how your process is candidate-centric and consistent from beginning to end, why it isn't and how it could improve, or if you think I'm way out of line - in the comments!