Six Recruiting and Job Search Fails, Plus Your Essential Due Diligence Checklist

Dear Hiring Managers and Job Seekers,

You’re doing it wrong.


Here are some sobering facts:

  • Bad hires cost a lot of money. Forbes claimed that the cost of a bad hire is way higher than you think, citing cost figures ranging from the U.S. Department of Labor’s 30–40 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings to a recruiter’s calculated $240,000 (and for those of you for whom 30–40 percent IS $240,000, just go away!). Neither of these stats includes the opportunity cost of lost time (and reputation).
  • Companies do a poor job of hiring. CareerBuilder found that 28 percent of companies don’t do background checks on every hire, further noting that the two biggest factors companies cite for a hire being poor are quality of work and attitude. CEB reports that one in five hires is “bad” or “regretted.”
  • People are stuck in bad jobs. People take and stay in bad jobs. According to a recent Gallup poll, only one-third of employees are “actively engaged” at work.

I’ve noticed that neither hiring managers nor job seekers approach their respective process with rigor and diligence. In fact, I’ve seen far greater attention paid to the purchase of a TV than to either side of the employment relationship. This article will examine the three big fails on each side, and give practical advice for improvement.

Three ways job seekers fail

  1. They’re reactive vs. proactive
  2. They don’t make the interview process a conversation
  3. They fail to do proper due diligence

They’re reactive vs. proactive

Whenever I started a new school or activity as a kid, my parents advised me to be open and inclusive to all, but not choose the first kid who came along as my best friend. Instead, wait and learn which kids are kind, empathetic, ennobling friends, and forge lasting friendships with them. The same logic should apply to a job search! Alas, for many, the opposite is true. Many job seekers take a passive approach and respond to the first inbound opportunity that meets their basic requirements. They do this instead of taking a methodical approach and proactively reaching out to companies in which they are interested, ultimately generating a pipeline of multiple attractive options. They are often so flattered (or relieved!) that a company has sought them out that they do not do the hard work to ascertain whether the opportunity is right for them, and only seek confirming evidence that it is.

Smart candidates who really value themselves don’t wait to be found; rather, they seek the opportunities they want (and often are thinking about that next step well in advance). They don’t respond to job postings; rather, they reach out to leaders for whom they want to work (ideally through a mutual contact) and ask to sit down for a casual coffee or informational interview (it’s fine to cite a job posting if one exists, but the ask should be for a conversation as it signals that the candidate holds herself in high regard). It’s also worth noting that many organizations don’t post their best jobs. Instead, the hiring manager quietly seeks out the strongest candidates and talks to them about the “upcoming opening.” By being out there proactively talking to the best hiring managers in the most desirable companies, smart candidates increase their chances of being part of these early conversations. Two resources on the informational interview process include How to Get the Most Out of The Informational Interview by Rebecca Knight in Harvard Business Review, and Leveraging the Power of Informational Interviews by Stephen Dupont in Medium.

They don’t make the interview process a conversation

Junior people prepare for interviews. Senior people prepare for conversations. When candidates approach the interview process as if they are an equal participant in a conversation in which they ask probing questions, listen and learn, and leave the interviewer with something of value (a feature idea, feedback on company positioning, or a sales best practice), they position themselves as confident, someone to be reckoned with, and someone who could be a leader in the company. Conversely, when they approach it as a transactional, answer-the-questions process, they position themselves as a cog in a wheel. Don’t get me wrong: Cogs DO get jobs, but not the right jobs. And they certainly don’t put their best foot forward for building their long-term, professional reputation. The best interview candidates come to the table not only prepared to answer questions, but also prepared to ask their own questions and communicate a clear, well thought-out, and unique point of view.

Here are just a few ideas for conversation starters

  • “In your last earnings call, your CEO talked about your new direction in XYZ. How do you think this role can have the most impact on that initiative?”
  • “I understand that this line of business has adopted a different go-to-market strategy than the others in the company. Can you share your thinking behind this move? What were the tradeoffs you made at the time of the decision, and has it played out like you expected?”
  • “Can you give me some examples of how decisions are made here at [company]?”
  • “I see that you compete with X, Y, and Z. How do you see [other, less-direct competitor or adjacent market segment] competing with you over time, and do you have plans in place to fend them off?”
  • “Tell me about your culture. You mention transparency as a huge tenet. Can you give me some concrete examples of how the management team is uniquely transparent vis-a-vis the rest of the industry?”
  • “I spent a lot of time watching your online demos and was super inspired by XYZ in your product. If I may, I’d love to offer some usability/workflow suggestions based on my experience with [product in different market segment].”

They fail to do proper due diligence

When companies do extend offers, candidates often feel compelled to accept quickly and don’t do nearly enough due diligence to understand whether the opportunity is truly right for them. (Or sometimes, they do perform some level of research, but only seek confirming evidence and ignore red flags, often because they’re so desperate to leave their current job.) I can’t believe how many people make that decision quickly and ultimately leave because, “The company culture isn’t what I expected,” “My boss turned out to be crazy,” or “The job was a bait and switch.” Very often, this information could have been sussed out well ahead of time. Job seekers, below is your due diligence checklist. And please, oh please, start your job search well ahead of when you need to (not after your company’s third round of layoffs!) and generate a healthy enough pipeline of opportunities so that you aren’t in a situation where you have to jump from one bad situation to another. Job seekers who make poor choices under duress usually make compromises that start them on a downward professional spiral in which each subsequent career option available to them is lower quality than the one before it. When the spiral starts, it’s hard to climb back out, and hiring managers can spot it immediately on a resume.

Due diligence checklist

  • Know the company’s financials and trajectory. This is very easy to see in a public company, but how about a private one? Some good indicators are the investors, whether the company has raised an appropriate amount of money for where it is in its lifecycle, whether the company is making many hires or just a few, how it stacks up competitively, and what industry analysts are saying about it. Thirty minutes on Crunchbase, G2Crowd, the company website, and social media should give you what you need to know.
  • Find the dirty laundry. Please, whatever you do, do not check the “culture” box by asking company employees and the hiring manager whether the culture is “good.” That’s just nuts! In fact, in all of your due diligence, stay away from “good” and “bad” questions, opting instead for questions like, “Tell me about a time when…” Go on Glassdoor to see what people are saying, and use social media to connect with departed employees. Reach out and ask them to have a confidential, five-minute conversation. Ask them why they left. Even the best companies have dirty laundry. Even if you do end up taking the job, knowing the dirty laundry ahead of time will give you a huge advantage in dealing with the ugliness later.
  • Seek out artifacts of culture. What does the office look like? How do you feel physically when you enter it? How do people behave toward each other? Do people look happy…or at least productive? Can you hear chatter, laughter, and generally the sounds of communication? (Quick aside: I had the pleasure of being the noontime lunch speaker recently at Carbon, the leader in 3D printing. From the time I walked in the door, I had this great feeling. They had a “values” sign in front of the building, people were smiling and laughing, kids’ pictures were all over the walls, employees of all levels felt empowered to invite job seekers, friends, visiting researchers, and even spouses to the attend the lunch, and just looking around I could see diversity in gender, color, and age. They didn’t need to tell me how great their culture was; it was evident everywhere I looked.) How about the interviews themselves? Did you meet all of the people you expected to, or were there clearly people missing from the line-up? What was the recruiting process like (because, if you think about it, just like dating, the recruiting period is when the company is on its best behavior…so if that’s bad, you’re really in for it later!)? Was it clear, efficient, and transparent? Did you mostly deal with the hiring manager or a recruiter? When you ask for the information you need to evaluate your offer, is it given to you immediately, and ideally with a thorough explanation?
  • Make sure your job is core. Where is the company headed? What are its new or important initiatives? Where do you fit into those initiatives? Are those initiatives well-funded? Are they well-resourced (e.g., are there other good people working on them as well)? Do they have the attention of senior management (and your boss!), and is senior management “on the hook” for their success? Beyond simply being involved, is your function core to those initiatives? Being an important player in an important mission makes a huge difference in what you get out of the job from an education and resume-building standpoint. Even if you are the most kick-ass employee, if you are hidden in an unimportant or sleepy part of the business, you will have a vastly reduced impact…and experience.
  • Background check your hiring manager. Call people who worked with your hiring manager in the past. Don’t ask whether she’s “good” or “bad,” but ask questions that start with, “Please tell me about a time when…,” and seek answers to the following: Does she support her team and run interference with senior management when needed? How does she act when she doesn’t get her way? Does she have “favorite” people (and how does she treat those who aren’t in that group)? How does she act when the stuff hits the fan? Does she share credit for successful work? How does she handle underperformers? How has she dealt with employees in [your role] in the past? And if things went so swimmingly, why aren’t those people applying for the job (when prior employees follow hiring managers, it’s a good sign)? What is your potential boss known for? What are her biggest drawbacks? What are her hot buttons? How can you be most successful working with her? And — here’s a question people have difficulty not answering honestly — how would the person rank the manager vis-a-vis all people in a similar role? Is she a top 5% manager? Top 10%? Top 20%?
  • Background check your peers. Ditto the above for anyone you will rely on to do your job successfully.
  • Understand the offer thoroughly. Is the offer exactly what you expected? Are the title and hiring manager as advertised? If it’s a managerial position, is it clear who will be on your team, and has that changed since the beginning? If you are expected to hire additional people, are there funds earmarked in the budget for this? Ditto for projects and programs you’ll be expected to execute. What about your compensation? Is it competitive with industry numbers (I love Comparably for this). If there are bonuses, do you understand exactly how they will be paid and under what circumstances? If stock options are part of the offer, do you know what the fully-diluted share count is so you can calculate your percentage ownership of the company and run scenario analyses to value them? Are there any capitalization table surprises (what’s a cap table?), such as liquidation preferences to preferred shareholders, that would affect your payout in a liquidity event? Need more detail on how to calculate the value of your stock options? This post by Mike Kijewski on Hacker Noon totally rocks!
  • Let me reiterate the point about stock options. If you are interviewing at startups, chances are you’ll come across at least one company that will give you an offer that includes stock options, but won’t tell you what the fully-diluted share count is. If this happens to you — and let me be very clear — it is a HUGE RED FLAG! Think of it this way: If you were buying a car from me and I said, “I will sell you the car for $20,000 and 10,000 Quineekles,” you’d say, “Hey, what’s a Quineekle?” And then if I said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s a great deal,” you most certainly wouldn’t stand for it! Similarly, why would the company offer you a form of compensation and not give you the information you need to understand its worth? I have had countless conversations with job seekers who say, “They offered me 1,200 options. That sounds good. Is it?” 1,200 options, 12,000 options, or 8 billion options mean absolutely, positively NOTHING without a denominator. When a company undergoes a liquidity event like an initial public offering, it reconciles its share count to be more palatable to the public markets. Ever notice how most IPOs are priced at something like $9–15/share? That’s not by accident. Companies with lots of shares outstanding must do a reverse stock split to normalize the share count. So a candidate’s raw share count doesn’t matter in the slightest. The percentage does.

The three ways hiring managers fail

  1. They market the position poorly
  2. They run a bad recruiting process
  3. They fail to do proper due diligence

They market the position poorly

If we had a nickel for every uninspiring, horrible job description we’ve ever read, we’d be so rich we wouldn’t need to look for a job in the first place! Most job descriptions I’ve seen read like they were written by the Russian Olympics figure skating judge, they are so furrowed-brow. C’mon companies, this is your single most important marketing document for acquiring what is arguably your most important asset: your employees! Why wouldn’t you put your best foot forward? At least pretend you care! I guess if you aren’t that interested in getting amazing, talented people to join you in your mission, you’re doing a great job. But if you ARE interested in attracting fantastic candidates, then treat that document like it’s the Holy Bible!

First off, your company and opportunity descriptions need to rock. They need to inspire. They need to stand above the rest. Don’t lie, of course. People see through that. A good idea is to start with your latest core messaging document, and then add some insider baseball-type color that prospective employees might care about. Counterintuitively, it may behoove you even to air a little dirty laundry — the right kind and amount, of course, and ideally with humor (e.g., a job requirement is being able to be in a Zen-like state in the midst of a chaotic, high-growth startup). Candidates will appreciate your candor, and a little modesty and self-deprecation go a long way toward differentiating you from the dozens of other employers that are trying to woo them.

Next, the description of the role should be crystal clear and seek to energize the right type of candidate. Stop using boring words! Is the position critical and core to the mission of the company? Then say so! Does the role require a certain personality type (one that can “herd the cats” or “wrangle the goats in the rodeo”)? Say it! Should that person expect to negotiate with the sales team, charm the socks off of customers, and keep the media at bay each and every day? Convey that! Rather than do what most hiring managers do and steal the latest job description from the recruiter or off of the web, a good hiring manager should take the opportunity to sit down and think through exactly what the candidate will be expected to accomplish, and the qualities that will make her the best fit.

Beyond thinking about what’s important to the company, the hiring manager should put herself in the shoes of the candidate and consider what a fantastic career trajectory might look like for her. The manager should think through what her end of the social contract will look like if the employee does a great job. For example, how much exposure is there to top management? What are the training, promotion, and management opportunities? Will the employee get to present her work to the board of directors, interact with top customers, work side-by-side with distinguished technologists, direct the creation of a “next generation” or “industry first” product, solve a huge challenge in the world, and/or develop her professional reputation through speaking, blogging, and press interviews? Chances are, this reflection will lead the hiring manager to think differently about the job itself, and change the description accordingly — and for the better — to attract the very best candidates. “No compromise”-hiring starts with the hiring manager, not the recruiter or the candidate.

Finally, think hard about your candidate requirements and what you really want to optimize for. I have seen more marketing manager role descriptions whose first requirement is “Must have 15+ experience as a marketing manager” than I can shake a stick at. Let me say this once so we’re clear: Awesome. People. Don’t. Stay. In. The. Same. Job. For. Fifteen. Years.

Here’s another one: “Must have a bachelors/masters degree in…” Unless you’re hiring a spinal cord specialist for your neurosurgery program, why do you care? Turns out there are plenty of philosophers in investment banking, engineers in marketing, marketers in business development, sociologists in product management, and political scientists in customer support…with great success! Think back to the two or three most amazing people you’ve ever worked with, and consider their educational (and career) backgrounds. Chances are they aren’t doing exactly what they studied and have had a plethora of experiences over the course of their careers that caused them to be wonderfully well-rounded. Case in point: One of the finest marketers I’ve worked with, Scott Hogrefe, “grew up” in IT and then Customer Success. Talk about someone who can empathize with customers! Similarly, in my last company, my team hired Vicky Chung as a field marketing manager. She had previously worked as a production and materials manager, responsible for translating engineering changes into electronics build plans and managing the logistics of thousands of electronic components. Talk about far afield from marketing! Yet, it turned out that the incredible attention to detail, work ethic, and business acumen she developed in that role (or probably had well before that role) were extremely transferable, and she positively killed it in field marketing!

Conversely, there are approximately one billion bozos with great credentials and exactly the right experience that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. (I won’t mention their names!)

Going back to the special people in your past, think about what made those people stand out. It’s probably much more about how they did their job than what specific tasks they performed. According to scores of studies, including those by oft-cited psychology and neurobiology experts Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth, job success is determined by factors like grit and the ability to grow and learn, rather than the specific hard skills of the job. So going back to your job description, I urge you to dig deep into the qualities required to be successful in the role, and emphasize them in your written description, scout for them in your recruiting, and test for them in the interview process.

They run a bad recruiting process

When it comes to demonstrating your company’s great culture, the recruiting process is the lowest of the low-hanging fruit. Yet, how many executive teams have stopped to ask, “What is our recruiting process, and how do we measure it?,” “How do we ensure an amazing recruiting experience for all candidates, regardless of whether we hire them?,” and “Do we solicit feedback from all candidates and constantly improve our recruiting process?” Many companies believe that they hold all of the cards in the recruiting relationship, and as such, don’t need to treat candidates well. While mediocre candidates may accept that as the way things are, excellent candidates will never go for it. Therefore, companies whose executives don’t pay close attention to their recruiting processes relegate themselves to recruiting only mediocre employees.

The interview process should be straightforward, fair, consistent, and thorough. The difference between strong hiring managers and everybody else is that strong hiring managers take an active role in recruiting, from defining the role to preparing interviewers to keeping lines of communication open with candidates from beginning to end, while everybody else leaves the whole thing to the recruiter. A great company and process will have the hiring manager and recruiter collaborating closely to ensure the best possible experience for all involved. By the way, there are fantastic applications out there that help keep this process organized — we used Greenhouse in my last company, and were quite happy with it.

In the actual interview, interviewers should be respectful of candidates’ (and each others’) time and stay as on-track with the schedule as possible. If the candidate is in the office through lunch, buy her lunch! If the interviews are back-to-back, give her a bathroom break! Every interviewer should know what his/her role is (testing technical chops, business acumen, culture fit, etc.) and, while some overlap is OK, should seek out different information from the candidate. The interview should be a two-way conversation, with time for questions and conversation from both sides. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will anyway: Interviewers should never use interviews to pump candidates for information about competitors. It’s wrong, it’s a turn-off to good candidates, and it gets around.

After meeting a candidate, interviewers often know if they’re “thumbs down” on her, and can usually articulate why, but struggle a bit on whether they’re a “thumbs up.” It’s clear if the candidate is unqualified or doesn’t listen well or has bad breath, but sometimes it’s hard get to that “yes.” There are two things that get me to “yes:” The first is the backchannel reference (which we’ll touch on in the next section), and the second is the way you ask questions in the interview (and of course, how they’re answered). Whatever the question, think of the candidate’s answer as an onion that you must peel until you understand every last detail that matters to you. Most questions should start with, “Tell me about a time when…,” and drill down from there. What prompted the candidate to pursue the project? How did she accomplish the work? Who else was involved? What was her role? What were the project goals and who set them (the candidate or her boss, or the two collaboratively)? And so on. I think this article by Lou Adler in Inc. (while a bit dated) really nails it, though I would go a step further and expand his methodology not just to the “most significant accomplishment,” but to any question.

What about rejecting candidates? I think great hiring managers don’t just hire well, but they really earn their good reputation by how they deliver the tough news. A well-handled rejection will go a long way toward making the candidate feel she was treated fairly, and will mitigate the (sometimes public) downside of having her leave feeling she was wronged. Beyond sending a written notification (ideally after the oral rejection), a great hiring manager will call or meet with the candidate to deliver the news. In the conversation, the hiring manager needs to give the message quickly, tactfully, and honestly. She should offer specific feedback or even advice for future job searches and do everything in her power to allow the candidate to preserve dignity. (There are reams of blog posts on what NOT to say to candidates from a legal liability standpoint, so I won’t belabor it all here, but remember that even offhand, unintended comments about age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, appearance, and more could land you in hot water, plus make you look like an oaf, so be mindful!) Even if a candidate is disappointed not to receive the offer, if she leaves feeling she has been treated fairly and given valuable parting advice, it will be very hard for her to criticize you, and she may well speak highly of you, the company, and the process. Do rejection well consistently over time, and your company’s reputation will benefit in big ways.

Finally, how should the offer process work? Large or public companies typically have a more defined process, while startups’ processes run the gamut from abysmal to good…but mostly abysmal. Many hiring managers are not thoughtful or fair when making offers. They rarely have a thoroughly-researched matrix for salary, bonus, and options, and apply it consistently. Some ask candidates what they made previously (thank goodness we’re shining a light on this and even making it against the law in some states). Others offer wildly different compensation packages to similarly-qualified men and women. And yet others give candidates “exploding offers,” which often comes across as an ugly power play. Of course, some companies need to know quickly whether a candidate will accept so they can have clarity on the position and either move on to a second-choice candidate or let that candidate down quickly (which is the courteous and respectful thing to do, and the first-choice candidate should be able to empathize with this). If time is of the essence, then have that conversation ahead of time with your first-choice candidate (e.g., “If we were to make an offer, how quickly would you be able to make a decision?”) and collaborate with her on a timeline that works for both of you. This not only increases the probability of a good outcome, but sets the tone for a long-term, trusting relationship.

Don’t even get me started on stock options! OK, get me started, because my diatribe earlier wasn’t enough! Why is it that so many startups don’t disclose the fully-diluted share count to candidates so those candidates can calculate the value (or potential value) of their shares? If you are a hiring manager and you want to attract great candidates, don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes by not making this information available immediately when you offer them the job (or, better yet, proactively, like Mike does, bless his heart). And if you are a company CEO and you are not empowering your hiring managers to be transparent about this, shame on you!

They fail to do proper due diligence

Firing people sucks. It really does. But it’s the expected outcome when you don’t fully vet job candidates. When we are under-the-gun to fill a spot, only call the references on the candidate’s list, and only solicit confirming evidence in our reference process, we shoot ourselves in the foot! The only solution here is to hire well, or as some advise, hire slowly. This doesn’t mean drag your feet, but it does mean be deliberate and thorough. Have many conversations with the candidate. Have several collaborative sessions with her (ideally with others in the room), such as a whiteboard session or a strategy discussion to understand how she thinks, how well she listens, how she react when others disagree with her, and what tactics she uses to convince others of her viewpoint. Take her to dinner (and if you want to be really classy, extend the invitation to significant others) to see how she behaves socially.

Most importantly, do backchannel reference checks. I know this is a controversial statement, and I’ll probably get hate mail over it saying it will blow up candidates with their existing employers. I’ve been trolled before and can take it! The truth, though, is that if you can’t do backchannel checks on a candidate, you will put yourself at a serious disadvantage. So figure out how to do them in a way that doesn’t hurt the candidate. Some people handle this by alerting the candidate that they will be checking, and asking, “Is there anyone I shouldn’t talk to because it could hurt you professionally?” Others find common contacts that aren’t in the candidate’s current company, and emphasize confidentiality (this is not perfect, obviously). The way I get around it is by asking about people as part my normal everyday process. Every time I talk to anyone who knows someone else I don’t know well or am interested in, I say, “What do you think of [name]?” and then drill down from there with specific questions. So people always expect those kinds of questions from me and wouldn’t know one way or another if I’m backchannel referencing or not.

If you absolutely cannot do a backchannel reference check, make the references that the candidate did provide really count (see sample reference questions, below). Also, go on LinkedIn and figure out who you and she know in common, and look at the quality of those people. Do you trust and respect them? And if she doesn’t know anyone you know, that could be a red flag! Carefully read all of the LinkedIn reviews that others wrote about her (thinking critically about not just what the reviewers are saying, but what they are not saying, what they are hedging on, and what they are avoiding). Google the candidate and go through every last page! Read any of her social media profiles and posts that are publicly available, and go back as far as you can.

Sample reference questions

  • As much as possible, start your question with, “Please tell me about a time when…”
  • “Please tell me about a time when you worked on a project together. What prompted the project? Whose idea was it? What was her role vs. yours? Who else was involved?”
  • “Does she support people who work for her? Please tell me about a time when she had to run interference on behalf of a team member…”
  • “How does she act when she doesn’t get her way? Please tell me about a time when she felt slighted or lost a battle…”
  • “Does she play favorites? Please tell me about a time when this happened and how it manifested itself…”
  • “How does she handle crises? Please tell me about a time when the stuff really hit the fan…”
  • “Does she share credit for successful work? Please tell me about a time when she praised others publicly…”
  • “How does she handle underperformers? Please tell me about a time when she’s had to discipline or fire someone…”
  • “If we extend an offer to her, what advice do you have for me to support her in this role?”
  • “If you had to compare her against all other people you know in a similar role, would you place her in the top 5%? Top 10%? Top 20%?”
  • “What haven’t I asked that I should be asking?”


This article has been part long slog, part long rant. Bless you for sticking with me through it! If, however, you just skipped here to the end, I don’t blame you one bit! Here are the essentials:

  • Neither hiring managers nor job seekers approach the recruiting and job search process with rigor and diligence. Far greater attention is paid to the purchase of a TV than to either side of an employment relationship.
  • Job seekers fail for three reasons: 1. They’re reactive vs. proactive; 2. They don’t make the interview process a conversation; and 3. They fail to do proper due diligence.
  • They take a passive approach to their job search. Instead, they should go beyond responding to inbound opportunities and job postings, and proactively reach out to the best companies (and people!) for informational interviews.
  • They don’t make the job interview a conversation, instead preparing for a transactional question-and-answer session. Instead, they should come prepared not only for interview questions, but with their own questions, as well as a clear, well thought-out, and unique point of view.
  • They fail to do proper due diligence, and often feel compelled to accept an offer quickly, potentially making serious compromises on the company, hiring manager, colleagues, and the value of their offer. Instead, they should dig as much possible to know the company and its trajectory in the market, their hiring managers’ and peers’ backgrounds, and all details of their offer so they can best negotiate.
  • Hiring managers fail for three reasons: 1. They market the position poorly; 2. They run a bad recruiting process; and 3. They fail to do proper due diligence.
  • They market the position poorly by phoning it in on the job description and focusing on the wrong things such as time in a similar job and educational background. Instead, they should give consideration to the qualities that are really needed in the role, and optimize for them.
  • They run a bad recruiting process that is not straightforward, fair, consistent, or thorough. Instead, they should ensure a high-quality experience for all candidates and transparency in the offer and rejection process, as well as in offering compensation.
  • They fail to do proper due diligence, moving too quickly, calling only the candidate’s references, and soliciting confirming evidence. Instead, they should conduct backchannel reference checks, do massive amounts of online research, and go into any reference check with questions that begin with, “Please tell me about a time when…”


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Jamie Catherine Barnett

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Cloud, mobile, and security product person. Pot-stirrer. Die hard Monty Python fan.