The Hiring Process is Crappy on Both Sides of the Table

The Hiring Process is Crappy on Both Sides of the Table

Scenario #1: I’m a hiring manager with a precious head count to fill. These are not easy to come by, and the risk for making a bad hire is high. So I write a job description, post it on my company’s website and  social media sites, and tell my network and associates. Soon, over 250 résumés come flying in and I (or my recruiter/HR person) start pouring through them. They all look different, they share different levels of information, and I have to play “search and destroy” for relevant skills, experiences, and results.

Scenario #2: I’m a job seeker. I could be an internal candidate, already working within the same company or an external candidate, either employed or unemployed. I read the job description and think, “This job is perfect for me.” The instructions are clear to “submit résumé here,” so I press enter and wait. And wait.

There is no goodness in the combination of these scenarios.

With government bids, there is a bid request or “specification” to which the applicant responds in a methodical way that enables the bidder to compare bids. In manufacturing, there is also a specification and the materials, tools, and production process are designed to meet the exact requirements. Period.

Why, then, is this critical employment process so misguided? The hiring company wrote a specification (called a job description) and what do they receive? A chronological spew of random features of an individual’s background.  And maybe, at best, a cover letter that summarizes the spew. Great.

If I could wave a magic wand, I would change two elements of today’s hiring process – effective immediately:

Magic Wand Wave #1: Résumés should just be back-up details supporting a new standardized application form. The hiring company should provide a 1-page template for every job as a candidate assessment tool. It will not only help the hiring manager, but greatly assist the candidate, too.

It’s a simple table with two columns and 6-8 rows.  Down the left column, the company highlights the job description’s most important elements. One row may say “requires 6-8 years in marketing research,” another row may say “experience leading cross-functional product development teams” and the next may say “bachelors of mechanical engineering required; MBA preferred.” You get it.

The right column is blank for the candidate to fill out. They are instructed to put no more than 3 bullet points in each row, indicating how they fulfill the item specified. They can give quantitative and qualitative information. The table should be submitted with the applicant’s résumé.

Hiring managers would then have two things: A document to compare candidates across the same characteristics, a writing sample (typos are really bad!), and an observation about the candidate’s ability to follow simple instructions.

Magic Wand Wave #2:  All candidates would get a response from the company they apply to. Especially if the candidate has taken the extra step to provide the relevant insights described in Wand Wave #1. Even a simple automated email indicating the application has been received would provide a more positive brand experience for the job seeker.

There are more changes I would make but we’ll save those for later. What would you change about today’s hiring processes?