Why the recruitment process is broken

It doesn’t think of the applicant as a customer.

As many of you know, I’m currently looking for a new job.

For my last three jobs, I applied direct to the company, had 1 interview and was offered the job.

Now I’m further along in my career, I’m applying for jobs at bigger companies — which in turn have more complex structures, HR departments, recruitment processes which slows down the process.

Here is a list of things I expect from my potential future employer.

Like most things in life, it’s the common sense, basic common courtesy stuff that often gets overlooked.

Hopefully, this is a reminder to agencies and recruiters of what “good” hiring looks like.

My expectations

  • I want to know how many stages to your recruitment process there are up front
  • I want positive feedback if you invite me to a second interview
  • I want constructive feedback if you invite me back but you have concerns so I can respond to those when we next meet
  • If you decide not to take me to the next round, I’d like detailed feedback on where you felt my experience was lacking
  • I want you to give me an update if “there’s no update” i.e. “It’s proving problematic to find a time where the CEO can meet you, we’re still really keen to meet you. Please bear with us”
  • I want you to respond within 2 days to email communication
  • I want you to be able to give an indication of the salary range, even if it’s large and dependent on experience
  • I want to know if the salary you’re advertising is negotiable
  • I don’t want to be asked “what I’m currently on” because I want you to focus on what I’m worth (see more great reasons why not to ask here)
  • I want you to take interest in me as a person
  • I want to know upfront what the job package consists of. I don’t want to find out after you make an offer that you don’t have a conference budget and that I have to take 2 weeks at Christmas off and it’ll be deducted from my annual leave
  • I want to know who will be interviewing me, so I can research who they are. I’d also like an indication of how formal it’ll be
  • I want you to give me several days notice before expecting me to come for an interview
  • I want you to show flexibility regarding telephone interviews, ideally in lunch breaks or before or after work hours
  • If you’re a recruiter I want you to respect my contact preferences. I’ve got a full-time job, I will respond in good time. I don’t need 3 missed calls, 1 text message, and 1 email to remind me you exist
  • I want to know what your policies are on remote working and flexible working practices
  • I want to know if you encourage and most importantly value blogging, social media, speaking, meetups, if you invest in the tech community and how you’re tackling diversity in the workplace. Basically, I want to know if we share the same values
  • I’d prefer if you didn’t refer to “Childcare voucher scheme / cycle to work schemes” as benefits. I expect these as standard
  • Remember the language in your job descriptions tells me a lot about your organisation i.e. “You must deliver projects on time and budget” will immediately put me off
  • I want to hear you talk about the culture of the organisation — “everyone is very hard-working, motivated and driven” does not tell me about how people interact with each other or what it’s like to work at your organisation
  • I want you to be honest if people consistently work longer hours than are advertised. I want a work life / balance and therefore want to know if your organisation can support that
  • Ideally, I’d like all communication to come through the same person — with one current application, I’ve had emails from three different people within the organisation
  • I don’t really care if you have a pool table or a nap pod. I do care about autonomy, purpose and mastery, tell me about that.

There are plenty more but in the attempt not to seem completely high maintenance, I’ll leave it here.

Reassuringly the majority of these things are easy to fix and could make the difference from your next best candidate accepting or rejecting your offer.

Work harder.