Tech & Work

Five things managers do that job candidates hate

For managers, the hiring process is, admittedly, a bear. But it's also time-consuming and arduous for job candidates. Here are five things you can do to make the experience more pleasant for those who apply to your open positions.

The hiring process is, admittedly, a bear for managers. It's time-consuming and arduous. But enough about you. How do you think the job candidates feel? Because the process is all that for them too, as well as being pretty scary. Here are five things that job candidates wish you wouldn't do during the hiring process.

1.  Already having an internal candidate in mind

I've worked at some companies that have a policy that every job opening has to involve interviewing external candidates even if you already have an internal candidate in mind. I've also worked at jobs that require managers to open a job to internal candidates even if they have no intention of hiring someone internally.

I know that companies are just trying to make sure they open things up to all the people they can in the hopes that they get the best person, but this still rankles if you're someone looking for a job. You're playing with people's time and expectations.

2.  Waiting too long to let a job candidate know something

Waiting weeks and weeks for an answer is bad even if the answer is that you got the job. It's pretty devastating when you find out that, after all the waiting, you don't have the job.

Maybe you're with one of those companies whose deciders take all that time because they're striving with surgical precision to make the best possible decision. They want the best person and they also don't want to waste money with a bad hire.

But you know and I know that the most common reasons for keeping candidates waiting is that

  1. You're waiting to see how your real first choice works out before you let the others off the hook completely
  2. The decision to hire, and who to hire, has to go through corporate channels –a process that is slower than molasses in winter.

3.  Not letting a job candidate know if he or she did not get the position

If a job candidate doesn't hear from a company at all, he or she knows they don't have the job. But it's still disappointing and disconcerting not to hear anything. Is this just laziness or rudeness on your part?

I will allow that you may just want to avoid any kind of unpleasant experience. After all, it's not a lot of fun breaking that kind of news to someone.

Maybe you're also concerned that  if you go into some detail about why a candidate didn't get the job, you could be setting your company up for a lawsuit. I know of one instance when a woman applied for a job with several people from the company she presently worked for. The reply was that her qualifications were not up to par. Yet, that company hired several (male) employees who were a couple of levels below her at the current company and who were not as qualified as she was. She sued.

Still, there's a way around that. Just send out a general notice like: "Thank you for showing interest in the (POSITION) with (COMPANY). This letter is to let you know that we have identified our finalist and will not be moving forward with your candidacy." What's so hard about that?

4.  Vague, misleading job descriptions

From the looks of some want ads I see, it looks like some companies use a boilerplate job description and just adds a few IT-related terms. But it would save a lot of time if you would just come right out and be specific. For example, instead of saying you're seeking someone who has "experience with object-oriented JavaScript or programming," (which could, in some minds, mean a person who once watched someone create a desktop widget), be specific: "Extensive knowledge of DOM scripting with native JavaScript and familiarity with JS frameworks such as jQuery or Mootools." "Experience with..." is perhaps the vaguest, and most open to interpretation, phrase one could use. Try to avoid it.

5.  Interview process is too long

Is your company's interview process so long that job candidates could qualify for HR benefits? And I'm not talking about all-day get-grilled-by-the-team-then-four-VPs kind of interview. I'm talking about one process that includes a fifth or sixth interview. For the guy who actually gets the job in the end, this is forgivable. Sort of like birthing a baby. But for the people who go through that long process only to be told they don't have the job, it's confusing and makes them question everything about themselves.

I know you're seeking perfection, but I can tell you that there are some people who are just extremely good at interviewing and not doing the actual job. You'd like to think that by putting candidates through a process longer and more arduous than a Keeping up with the Kardashians marathon you'll be able to spot the perfect person. Unfortunately, the effort does not always end that way.

Hiring is a big deal and it's important to find the best candidate for a position. But there are things that you, as a manager, can do to make the process easier for those folks who are applying.

For more on this topic, see:



About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

Editor's Picks