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

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

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

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.

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