The Most Off-Putting Things Recruiters & Hiring Managers do to Candidates

Ghosting, the term used to describe ending a relationship by not responding to texts or calls, has gained such popularity in recent years. Even the New York Times wrote a story on the phenomenon.

 At least the broken-hearted have good company! Jobseekers have many frustrations about the search process, but none greater than a lack of communication.

 One disheartened jobseeker on social media called ‘Megan’ says:

“The most thoughtless thing is not hearing anything back…even after investing time and money interviewing several times with a company. It’s fine to be turned down, but just to be ghosted by a company? Tell me and let me move on.”

The lack of communication has consequences beyond personal disappointment.

 Megan also says a hiring manager contacted her references and set up times for a call… and then ghosted her:

“I was pretty embarrassed he wasted my references’ time like that. Very unprofessional.”

(Unprofessional, by the way, is a term that comes up a lot when jobseekers discuss recruiters; so do some others I probably shouldn’t write here.)

Chaim Shapiro, Director of the Office for Student Success at Touro College hit the nail on the head when he tweeted:

“Keep job candidates updated on their status. Rejection is hard but WAITING is intolerable.”

Indeed, with applications submitted electronically and more ways to communicate than at any time in history (!), there is no excuse for keeping candidates in the dark. And yet every candidate has heard something like this:

“Due to the volume of applications and in the interest of thoughtfully considering individuals best suited for each position, we will only contact applicants moving forward in the process.”

That doesn’t sound very thoughtful at all! 
So, let’s get the process off to a good start. Even if an applicant isn’t the “one”, building a cordial relationship with two-way communication will surely benefit us all.

Make the process simple

The aforementioned ghosting is exasperated by how much time and energy candidates must put into every job to which they apply.

“I’m applying for a part-time job, that requires an application and a resume, both containing the same information. One of us is doing this wrong,” writes a jobseeker on Twitter.

One candidate was asked to complete an 11-part “homework” assignment for an interview. Others complain of “extensive, exhaustive, months-long, multiple-interview search processes.” 

So take a few minutes to review. Would a five-part homework assignment suffice? For applications, do you really use every field? Find the balance between getting what you need and overwhelming candidates.

Keep an open mind, really!

Everyone’s circumstances are different and complex and no one’s life fits in neat little boxes. (Another reason applications are universally disliked). One jobseeker implores recruiters to stop the “rapid elimination of candidates” just because they are currently unemployed, overqualified, too old, too young, etc. 

An HR insider says he knows recruiters who ask seemingly open-ended questions. But beware!

“They’re deducting points for every word that doesn’t match.”

A person who has been unemployed for a while might be just the hardest worker ever. A career changer will have a truly unique perspective. An older worker has irreplaceable experience. With an open mind, you might find genuinely great talent.

Beware of the hoops

While job hunting, most candidates are working and they have the same daily life obligations we all do… plus their job search. This means every step requires the jobseeker to jump through hoops even if they never mention it. (And they won’t).

  • Want candidates to take a call during the day? No big deal, right? Wrong. If they work in a cubicle, finding a quiet and private spot can be an ordeal.
  • Want candidates to do a Skype interview during the day? If they work in an open office space, they’ll have to take time off.
  • Want the candidate to “just send over” work samples or other “homework”? Anyone with a job will stay up all night to finish.
  • Want to postpone an interview? That’s another excuse to the boss at the least and a loss of travel (tickets, hotels) money at the most.

Jobseekers realize they will have to work hard and make some sacrifices. They just want recruiters can show a little humanity in the process.

 Emilie Mecklenborg, the social media manager for Alexander Mann Solutions (a talent acquisition and management services company), says companies are getting the message.

“They are starting to realize that no feedback and long applications equal bad candidate experience.”

If Mecklenborg is right, maybe the only ghost stories we’ll be talking about next year are the ones we heard on Halloween.

About the author: Fritzi Bodenheimer tells stories on the air, in print, and around the dinner table.

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