Recruiters’ Mistakes That Drive Applicants Crazy
For many people, 2020 has been a year of trial by fire. At the same time, this year has also been a year of new opportunities, including starting a new career. During my entire professional legal career, which is more than 11 years, I have worked in 3 companies.
At first glance — my experience of job searching can not be called trustworthy. At the same time, as a senior lawyer and manager, I took part in lots of interviews with candidates, so I managed to form a certain impression of what mistakes recruiters make when hiring. Besides, over the past six months, I have been quite active in applying for interesting vacancies. I decided to write this article because of the typical and systemic mistakes that recruiters repeatedly have made.
Here I want to clarify. I understand that the recruitment process is different in each country, so some of my claims may seem far-fetched. Therefore, I will briefly tell you how it generally happens in Ukraine:
- usually, vacancies are closed in a month or two;
- at first, recruiter calls back to the applicant and clarifies the general information. Such calls are made within a few weeks after the vacancy was opened. If the candidate is not called during this time, it means that the company probably is not interested in him;
- if both parties found some connection points, a meeting with the director or head of the relevant department is scheduled;
- before the meeting, the candidate can be given several tasks (for instance, tests for concentration, knowledge of English, tasks directly related to the job position, etc.);
- after an interview, the candidate is notified of the management’s decision in a week or two.
Of course, there are many nuances, but in general, it looks something like this. By the way, it will be interesting for me to know from the readers about recruitment procedures in other countries.
Well, let’s get started. Here are the top 5 things that irritate candidates in the recruitment process:
1. Posting vacancies for purposes other than recruitment
There are several popular job search sites in Ukraine, where employers post thousands of vacancies for job seekers. Something like a Glassdoor. About six months ago, I saw some interesting vacancies for which I applied. About a month later, these vacancies were closed and then, after a while, reopened for another month. This was repeated several times, which looked very strange.
I know that hundreds of resumes can be sent for interesting positions. And it is not acceptable to constantly call the recruiter and ask about CV review results. The recruiters may have other tasks, so I’m in favor of not bothering them with extra calls. But given the strangeness of the situation, this time, I betrayed my rules and called back HR managers. The answer, frankly, was unexpected. The companies opened vacancies to collect CVs and update their database of candidates. And they did not plan to hire anyone at all.
Why companies shouldn’t do this:
If the vacancy is interesting, the candidate may refuse to consider other opportunities, hoping that his candidacy will be of interest to this particular employer. And it is very unpleasant to know that the expectations were in vain since the employer did not plan to hire.
How to avoid this:
I have nothing against planning human resources, but in such a case, it is worth mentioning in the job description the real reasons why the vacancy was created.
2. Lack of feedback on the received CVs
The most common mistake. An applicant sends a resume and expects that he will have some understanding of the company’s interest in him in a week or two. But a few weeks pass, and no feedback from the company. If a person decides to call back and find out some information from the recruiter, the latter usually tells that the resume has not been reviewed yet. When a long period has passed, and the applicant asks again for an update, the recruiter informs that the vacancy is closed.
In my experience, within the last half a year, only one HR manager from ten gave feedback on the resume I had sent. The rest were silent. When a company looks for candidates for top positions and then ignores most of them, such an attitude is strange. I would think twice about dealing with a company that does not know the basic ethics rules if such a company came back to me with an offer.
Why companies shouldn’t do this:
A candidate may dream about a specific vacancy and deliberately ignore open positions in other companies. This is why he or she at least deserves to be informed about the results of his CV examination.
How to avoid this:
I am sure that there are cases when it is physically impossible to reply to all the candidates. In this case, it is necessary to state in a job description that the resume is reviewed for a specific period. And if the candidate has not been contacted during this time, the company is not interested in him.
3. Non-professional interviewing
Failure to present all participants to the candidate, lack of formal agenda, asking irrelevant or unethical questions, etc., may indicate the recruiter’s unprofessionalism or just following a formal interaction pattern with the candidate. And worse still, it may raise reasonable doubts in the candidate’s mind about the absence of any corporate culture in the company.
As I said before, I used to interview candidates and had the opportunity to listen to questions asked by recruiters. Some of them approached this process rather superficially to justify their presence. Here are some examples of my “favorite” questions:
- “What are the five qualities of your ideal boss?” What is the purpose of this question? To find a perfect boss for the candidate? Especially strange to hear this while a future boss is sitting on the side during the interview.
- “How do you see yourself in 5 years?” It is clear that the purpose of the question is to determine whether the candidate is proactive or spiritless. But in fact, this question forces many to tell lies or give the most neutral answers.
- “What is your marital status? Do you have kids?” Sometimes it seems to me that these questions just were asked for a tick. At the same time, it is quite expected to hear a candidate’s reasonable remark about how his or her status may affect the ability to perform the job.
Why it isn’t good:
- irrelevant questions drink time allotted for the interview;
- incorrect questions can cause discomfort to the candidate;
- insufficient professionalism of the recruiter creates the impression of unprofessionalism in the whole company.
What to do:
Prepare for the interview. Make a specific list of questions related to the candidate’s professional experience and the functional responsibilities that he must perform.
4. Communication with your current employer about your skills
You will probably be surprised, but this also happens. And I would not have written about it if my former colleague had not faced a similar situation. After six years at the company, she decided to move forward and look for more challenging positions. One of the HR managers hit upon the idea of calling my ex-colleague’s employer and asked about her qualities. After that, my acquaintance had a run-in with her boss. Not surprisingly, she later gave the recruiter a piece of her mind and refused any further negotiations.
I am also aware of a practice where HR managers call a candidate’s former employers. Although many recruiters convince me that this is standard practice, I can’t entirely agree with it. The applicant can be a seasoned professional, and his transfer to another company was undesirable for the employer. So there is always a chance of getting a completely false description of the candidate from his former employer.
5. “We will call you back”
As a rule, after the interview, the recruiter says that he will call back to inform the candidate about the decision made. But a specific time passes, and the recruiter doesn’t give any updates. The candidate decides to contact the recruiter, and the latter responds that the decision has not yet been made. If the vacancy is interesting, the candidate waits and refuses other offers. A month passes, the candidate again reminds the recruiter, but this time receives the answer that the vacancy has long been closed. Seriously? Many of the candidate’s decisions depended on the recruiter, who did not even spend a minute of his time to give timely feedback. In my practice, when I interviewed potential candidates, I always asked our recruiter to inform them about the decision taken within the agreed time.
What to do:
Always inform applicants about terms of consideration of their candidacies. If there are too many interviews, the recruiters can agree with the candidates that if the latter are not called back within a certain period, it indicates an unfavorable decision. But still, I believe that notifying the candidate is in any way much better than just ignoring him. Such behavior at least shows respect to this applicant.
Above are my impressions of participating in interviews on the employer’s side and as an applicant, and feedback from other acquaintances, for whom 2020 has become a year of change. I hope some of these tips may become useful for recruiters. The main message here is straightforward — show respect to the candidate and always provide him with timely feedback.