How to make the hiring process better for all involved

How to make the hiring process better for all involved

Does any of this sound familiar?

How to make the hiring process better for all involved

How to make the hiring process better for all involved

Scenario No. 1: I’m a hiring manager with a precious open position to fill. These are not easy to come by, and the risk of 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 more than 250 résumés come flying in and I (or my recruiter/HR person) start sorting through them. They all look different and share different levels of information, so I have to play “search and destroy” for relevant skills, experiences and results.

Scenario No. 2: I’m a job seeker. I’m either an internal candidate who is already working within the same company, or I’m an external candidate who is either employed or unemployed. I read the job description and think, “This career change is perfect for me.” The instructions are clear to “submit résumé here,” so I press enter and wait. And wait. And wait.

There is nothing good in the combination of these scenarios.

When the government calls for bids, the applicant responds methodically to given specifications, allowing for easy comparison of competing proposals. In manufacturing, there are also specifications, and the materials, tools, and production process are designed to meet the exact requirements. Period.

Why, then, is the employment process so misguided? The hiring company writes a specification (called a job description), and what does it 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:

Magic Wand Wave No. 1: Résumés should just be back-up details supporting a standardized application form. The hiring company should provide a one-page template for every job as a candidate assessment tool. It will not only help the hiring manager, but will greatly assist the candidate as well.

The form is a simple table with two columns and six to eight rows. Down the left column, the company highlights the job description’s most important elements. For example, one row may say, “requires six to eight years in marketing research,” while another might say “experience leading cross-functional product development teams” or “bachelor’s in mechanical engineering required, MBA preferred.” You get the idea.

The right column is blank for the candidate to fill out. The applicant is instructed to put no more than three bullet points in each row, indicating how he or she fulfills the specified requirement. Information can be quantitative and qualitative. The table is submitted with the applicant’s résumé.

Hiring managers would then have three things to help them make decision: 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 No. 2: All candidates would get a response from the company they applied to, especially if the candidate has taken the extra step to provide the relevant insights described in Wand Wave No. 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?


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