Why Your Hiring Process Doesn’t Work

By: Elias Cobb, Quantix Recruiting Manager 

Ok, so I’m jumping to a conclusion that your particular hiring process is broken. If it’s not, then stop reading right here. However, if you’re one of the many, many companies that are out there struggling with hiring, feel free to read on and comment!

I also know that many of you in hiring positions may not trust the word of an agency recruiter on hiring. After all, we’re just here to convince you to hire our people, right? Well, although ultimately that’s the way we make money, we really want to partner with you to help you make the right hire.

Another reason to listen to an agency recruiter (or me in specific): I’ve seen literally hundreds of hiring processes in my years in the industry. It’s pretty easy to pick out the ones that work. And it’s equally easy to see the ones that don’t.

Here we go (and by “you” in these, it could either be a person or company that holds fast to these characteristics):

  1. You focus on things (skills, attributes, background) that don’t really matter. I see this all the time. For example, passing on a candidate with over 10 years of experience because they don’t have a degree (when there is no corporate requirement of a degree). Or looking for skills in a resume that aren’t going to be used in the job at all. Or looking for a degree in a specific discipline when you have had successful employees who don’t have that same degree.
  2. You have a lengthy interview process. This is especially relevant now, when IT candidates have a lot of choices. Why can’t an interview process be finished in one to two weeks? Why does it have to drag out over four+ interviews and more than a month? It’s ridiculous. If you have candidates you like, then speed the process up. What wastes more time, getting hiring decision makers together quickly, or dragging it out so long that you have to go through the entire process over and over again?
  3. You refuse to compromise on any “required” skills. I’ve seen hiring processes take so long because managers won’t relent (literally six months+) that they could have hired someone with 75% of the skills and trained them on the other 25% in the time it took to look for that “perfect” candidate.

    Image Credit: Jobbook

    Image Credit: Jobbook

  4. Your salary is nowhere near market rate. I know, this one can be tough to change depending on the company. However, with the IT market the way it is, it’s more relevant than ever. If you want top talent, you have to pay what the market will bear, or have some really compelling reasons for someone to work at your company. The market sets the price for talent, not individual companies. And if you can’t pay top dollar, then think about aligning your expectations with your salary range.
  5. You require a certain number of years of experience in skill areas. So you’re telling me, for example, that someone who spent 10 years doing maintenance coding on existing applications is more skilled than someone who has spent five years building applications from scratch and coding everything? Obviously a general example, but total years of experience are not a true measure of skill.
  6. You have to have a few candidates to compare against each other. That never works well. So if you’d really rather hire the best of a group of bad candidates than hire one really good fit, just because there’s no comparison? Evaluate your talent against your job description, not against each other. Sometimes the first candidate through the door is the right one.
  7. You have unorthodox interview questions tests, or procedures that no one seems to be able to pass. Think of those crazy questions we all used to hear that companies like Google used to ask. Problem is, last time I checked, there’s only one Google. You can get away with more when you’re one of the most desirable places to work. If you’re that, fantastic! You can likely ignore all my advice because people will wait for your lengthy process and deal with the crazy questions. If you’re not Google or someone like that, don’t try to act like you are. And before you institute some sort of technical test, aptitude test, or the like, I suggest you administer the test to your existing employees. If your best employees can’t pass it, it’s probably not a good way to evaluate incoming talent (yes, I’ve seen that).

When push comes to shove, it really boils down to this: Figure out what core skills you need, the personality you want and the salary you can pay. Look for people who meet those characteristics, and don’t worry about their years of experience, what they made in their last job, where they got their degree or if they have one, and then make decisions quickly.

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