3 Things Job Seekers Hate And Why They Occur
Jack Kelley recently wrote an article for Forbes titled 11 Complaints From Frustrated And Angry Job Seekers About The Interview Process. In the article, he provides a list of common issues/concerns that job seekers dislike when going through the hiring process. As a person that is still involved with hiring as an HR professional for a Fortune 500 company, I thought it would be helpful to address three of the complaints cited and provide some context from a company perspective. Often times, if a job seeker knows the reason why things are done a certain way, it becomes less of a complaint and more a minor annoyance.
The new trend is having introductory phone calls instead of the traditional in-person interview.
I am not sure that this is a “new trend.” As an HR professional, I have been conducting phone interviews for the majority of my professional career, and I am not a beginner in talent acquisition. But let’s take the gist of the concern which is that the phone/pre-screen is cold and impersonal. Certainly, there has been a move by many companies to do screening activities through video, either live or asynchronous. I get that this can feel very impersonal, especially if you are not even talking with a real person and just a bot.
Let’s talk about why a company would even want to do this. This type of solution is often touted as a way to get more information about candidates in less time. So let’s look at when a solution like this makes sense for a company. On average, in-house recruiters have anywhere from 30-40 open requisitions at one time. If that recruiter is what is called “full cycle”, s/he does not do only one or a few parts of the recruitment process but is responsible for all parts of the process. These would include:
Meeting with the hiring manager and coming up with the role requirements
Writing a job posting and posting a position on a career site
Narrowing down the pool of applicants to the top candidates through a screening process
Meeting with the hiring manager and deciding on candidates for interviews
Setting up interviews
Getting feedback from the hiring manager on candidates
Extending an offer, completing any salary negotiations and putting together offer letter
All the while they are doing this, they are in constant communication with candidates. With 30-40 openings, the in-house recruiter may have anywhere from 300 on the low side to many thousands of candidates in the pipeline. To speed up the process so as to be able to interact with new applicants in a more timely manner, many companies are using technology at the first point of contact.
Even if video interviewing or some form of screening through artificial intelligence is not used, it would be impractical for a hiring manager to talk to but a few select candidates. Remember, the hiring manager is doing their regular full time job plus now they are also doing hiring. Most companies want the hiring manager to concentrate on those activities that s/he was hired to do and which provide the most value. In-house recruiters are good at screening candidates. It is what they are hired and trained to do. It is less valuable to the company if the hiring manager were to do this activity. The hiring manager does bring value by selecting the best qualified person for their team. That is why at least for the first contact with a company, it is less likely with the hiring manager.
Knowing this, as a candidate, make sure that in your initial interactions, either on video, with a bot or with someone in HR, you answer the questions posed as thoroughly and succinctly as possible. If you know that the time given to you is short, make your case as to why you are qualified by providing instances of your results. Rambling on with lengthy stories with details irrelevant to your work is not helpful for making your case.
The job description provided is long, riddled with corporate jargon and buzzwords and contains too many unrealistic bullet points that don’t even offer what it's really like to work at the company.
Ah, the job description that asks for the moon. Yes, this is a major annoyance for candidates. Where does such a person exist? In reality, not many places. Then why are they so unrealistic? I believe they exist for two reasons: (1) Most hiring managers would like to hire A+ players and (2) Managers usually are so stretched that training someone to do the job seems unrealistic. Let’s start with the first reason. As a hiring manager, you want to bring people on the team that can do the job...that is a given. If you have a choice, you would like to hire someone that can do the job but also can get up to speed quickly and needs minimal supervision. That is why it seems that the job descriptions are written for someone that appears to have more experience and possesses more technical and soft skills than the job would seem to require. Since this is often more a wish list than a have-to-have list, don’t feel you should not apply just because you do not possess all the required knowledge, skills and abilities. A good rule of thumb is to apply if you have at least 75% of the requirements, maybe a bit lower if the position is in high demand. The recruitment professional who screens applicants will know which are required and will move people along in the process based upon them.
The second reason the job posting may seem unrealistic is the hiring manager may not have the extra time necessary to train a new staff member. If the vacancy is due to someone leaving, the hiring manager may be doing more than one job or at least having to monitor the work of others who have taken on these job duties temporarily. If the vacancy is due to additional headcount, it often means the workload has increased so much that it has required an extra person. In either case, the hiring manager may want to invest the least amount of time practicable on training,not because the hiring manager doesn’t want to train but does not have the extra time. When someone comes to a position with lots of experience and highly developed skills, the supposition is that training time will be reduced because the learning curve for the job will be flatter.
As for the use of corporate jargon and buzzwords, yes, this is a problem. Sometimes the talent acquisition team writes the job posting but often it comes from a template. In most environments that I have worked in, a manager puts together a job description and HR reviews it. Often this job description is the basis for the job posting. That is why you will see company acronyms and corporate-speak that often does not make much sense. Good talent acquisition professionals know how to write job postings that resonate with job seekers, because they are good writers and keep the job seeker front and center when the put one together. Unfortunately, this is not the norm. Many talent acquisition professionals concentrate more on just getting something posted and less on crafting a message that markets the job and the company to the job seeker. That is why you often see little, if anything, about company culture.
Some companies make it a practice not to provide a written offer unless a verbal offer is accepted first
This is often true, but there is a reason for this. During the verbal offer process, there may be some negotiation on aspects of the offer, including base salary, bonus or commission, time off, etc. Before a written offer is provided, the company wants to make sure that all aspects of the offer, including a start date, are all agreed to so that the written offer is an accurate reflection of the final terms. But you may be thinking why do I have to agree to all that before the written offer can be reviewed? Why can’t the written offer by more of a proposal instead of something agreed to ahead of time through a verbal offer process? The reason is it may be harder to revise the written offer when, as often is the case, it is generated through the Applicant Tracking System. The in-house recruiter may have to use an offer letter template which requires certain fields are completed to populate the letter. While there usually is a process for revising an offer letter, it might be time-consuming and require approvals at various levels of the organization. Therefore, many companies find it easier to ask for the verbal offer agreed to before generating the written offer.
When you are contacted by either the hiring manager or the recruiter and made an offer, if you would like something in writing before agreeing to a verbal offer, ask that the terms of the offer be sent to you via email. That way you have a paper trail should you agree to the terms of an offer made verbally but then find that the written offer has different terms. If the company does not honor what was sent to you via email, then it is a flashing red light that there are issues with integrity at this employer.
If you know the reason why a business process seems to make no sense, then you can use that information to your advantage. Knowing why you experience the process a certain way can help you to better understand how to navigate the sometimes confusing and frustrating job search process.