Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

The Unfair World of Hiring

Who’s scared as sh*t about how the government and corporations monitor us, categorize us, recruit us, abuse us, and ultimately misuse our information because we share on the internet?

It lives in the back cells of our minds and fore nerves of our fingertips. When it comes to the NSA’s staff welcome message, Box CEO Aaron Levie tweeted:

But this is the modern life. We are not avatars; we are not f*cked. The three disturbing truths in the unfair world of hiring – meaning how the candidate’s quality and fit is misjudged – are (attractiveness of) appearance, (current employment) status, and (lack of) analytics. I will outline these concerns, the pseudo solutions you have probably already heard, and my proposed solutions to these modern-day-the-internet-is-changing-us -and-our-business problems.

(Attractiveness of) Appearance:

We’ve all been in the room when the beautiful person is treated better. It starts from the top down. In business, as in life, beautiful people have it easier. Italian researchers “found” a “significant social problem of discrimination in hiring process. Messina  University students deemed thumbnail photos were “attractive” and “unattractive.” Then, they sent out identical text resumes to Italian businesses, changing the photo. Those who were deemed “unattractive” received a call back 17% of the time, those who did not attach a photo received a call back 39% of the time, and those who were deemed “attractive” received a call back 50% of time. Yes, some statistics show it is easier for attractive people to get a job. Yes this study has major flaws. This is a reminder, DO NOT HIRE FOR ATTRACTIVENESS.

  • Pseudo Solution: Never look at someone’s face, online or in person. Just don’t look. Imagine we all wear paper bags all day, working all day alone in the world.
  • Real Solution: We live in world where our likeness markets us online. As opposed to running away from thumbnails in your Facebook news feeds and Google search results, your business needs to come up with a strategy to ensure smart and objective hiring decisions. The best solution to unbiased decision making, is knowing why you made the hire you did, and being able to back up that hiring decision with facts. I recommend using recruiting software that aggregates relevant data points, such as past credentials, accomplishments and your colleagues’ opinions.

READ MORE: Recruiting: The Beautiful Backlash

(Current Employment) Status:

Not working right now? You can’t be a good hire. I covered it before, but it bears mentioning it again today, we anonymously surveyed recruiters, hiring managers and HR professionals, about discrimination against the unemployed:

  • 82% confirm that “discrimination against the unemployed is a reality”

  • 55% say they have “personally experienced resistance when presenting qualified yet unemployed candidates”

  • 53% see unemployed job seekers as “unemployed for a reason” or “probably not qualified.”

It is a reminder, NOT INTERVIEWING/HIRING SOMEONE BECAUSE THEY ARE UNEMPLOYED IS WRONG. Currently working for… Focus on the candidate’s ability and willingness to do the job.

  • Pseudo Solution: Ignore the problem. Think, I’m just one business – what’s unemployment have to do with me? What’s that next job have to do with me?
  • Real Solution: Where there is talent, there are profits to be had. The unemployed are a talent pool you should source from. I recommend averaging at least one interview with an unemployed candidate per open job.

(Lack of) Analytics:

Really dig into the employer’s objectives. What’s your time to hire? Most of you know that, or at least for your most recent hire/s. What’s your cost per hire? Most of you know that, or at least your boss does. When we consider that your business’ success is most dependent on the quality of your team and that recruiting is a $400 billion industry, it’s clear that smart companies push for more granularity in their recruiting statistics. For, every week, every day, and every hour that you company leaves a profitable role open, it loses revenue.

  • Pseudo Solution: Open up that spreadsheet and make data entry your religion. Try to reach the point where you are spending more time reporting on your recruiting efforts than actually recruiting.
  • Real Solution: Automate the reporting of essential and occasionally useful recruiting statistics. Use software that records activities for you while you do them. I recommend measuring source quality with candidates to interview ratio, candidates to hire ratio, and candidate quality (as aggregated by hiring team); and measuring cost efficiency by total spend, spend per candidate, and spend per hire. Make sure you are able to filter by department and function to measure the efficiency of growth across the sects of your company.

Well look, don’t dismiss my lighter tone to the unfair world of hiring. I want to better the discussion around major issues of work that we so often ignore, like how attractive people are treated better in the workplace, how your current employment status can eliminate you from consideration of jobs you are qualified for, and how too many businesses are ignoring the new data available. The world of hiring will never be fair to everyone. Nevertheless, by identifying our bias and measuring the performance, hiring can be a better world for the next candidate.

By David Smooke

David Smooke is Partner at ArtMap Inc. (Inbound Marketing On Demand), Advisor to (Rich Media Recruitment Marketing), and Head of Marketing at Teamable (Enterprise Employee Referral Engine).