Does Getting Hired HAVE to be SO Frustrating?
As a professional job search consultant and resume writer, I help clients identify their best next step, develop a personalized approach to the job search and write a resume that demonstrates their value in the marketplace. I advocate a laser focused approach to the job search that zeroes in on specific types of jobs and even employers. I teach them about LinkedIn, help them research local business and professional groups, and counsel networking above everything else in their job searches.
Because I specifically recommend against spending much time online applying to jobs, I am the frequent recipient of frustrated calls from clients who have done everything right: they identified the job they wanted, researched companies, discovered the hiring manager’s name, bravely made contact, and were told to send their resumes directly to that person. Great, huh? The hiring manager loved the resume and wanted to schedule an in-person interview. Even better, right?
But not so fast, the hiring manager can’t just set up an interview, because HR requires him or her to have the candidate submit a resume online and fill out an application before they can schedule and interview. What!?
All that forward momentum grinds to a halt because HR puts process ahead of common sense? Who better to vet a candidate than the person who will ultimately work with that person day after day?
Somewhere along the way, HR departments have convinced management that they should handle all recruiting and early vetting of candidates, so that even when you know someone inside a company, you can’t get an interview without jumping through a series of HR hoops. It must be as frustrating for managers as it is for candidates.
I got a call recently from a client I’ll call Bob. A highly placed friend put Bob in touch with the president of a local company who had a job that was perfect for him. Another executive recommended Bob, as well. So Bob and the president talked, and he asked Bob to send him his resume by email. But, he warned, Bob would also have to upload his resume to the company’s career site “to satisfy HR requirements.” So Bob went in and set up an online account with the company, answered a long series of questions, and uploaded his resume.
Two hours later, the company president calls and asks him when he’s going to submit his resume. There ensued another two hours of Bob discovering that he had failed to answer the question of his sex (M or F), which frankly I thought was illegal, and that they couldn’t process his resume through the system because of it. Unfortunately, Bob wasn’t near a computer at the time, and the system could not be accessed on his phone. And sadly, no, the HR department could not simply click “M” on his application and fix this little problem.
Long (long!) story short, Bob found a public library nearby, got into his application, answered the question, clicked “submit” again, and was finally able to schedule an in-person interview with the president of the company. The president, who was helpless against his own HR department to interview a highly qualified candidate who had been glowingly recommended!
For years, I’ve read articles and seen news reports stating that employers are desperate to find qualified talent, a lament I’ve heard more often as the unemployment rate consistently declined. Is it just because there aren’t enough skilled workers or that the jobs are too “lowly” for Americans, as some people claim? Or is it because HR puts so many roadblocks in the way that highly qualified candidates choose another path?
Realistically, the best person to do the job of recruiting for an open position is the supervisor or manager over that position. He or she is the one who actually knows what is needed for the job, and who will deal with the new employee, so it makes sense that he or she should take the lead in finding the next addition to the team.
By its very definition, recruiting means “trying to acquire the services of a person for an employer.” A person, singular. But too many (most?) HR departments have abandoned any sort of selective sourcing for qualified candidates in favor of blasting out job postings anywhere and everywhere, then becoming overwhelmed by the number of responses. This in turn necessitates all the automation that now stands in the way of too many highly qualified candidates who are increasingly fed up with the process.
Doesn’t all of this just waste time and money? I assume that companies have to pay for listings online, then have to pay more than one HR person to manage those postings and the hundreds of inevitable responses. Then someone in HR has to call potential candidates and work through them to see which ones might be good candidates (based on HR’s possibly limited understanding of the actual job), then schedule interviews, administer “tests,” and field follow-up calls from those who interviewed.
Wouldn’t it be simpler if the hiring managers themselves were able to say: “I’ll be interviewing John Doe next Thursday and I’ll let you know what support we need.” Wow, how efficient would that be?
Sure, HR has a role to play, in background screening, compensation negotiations, and onboarding, for example. I know many HR professionals who also spend much of their time overseeing employee training programs, setting up mentoring programs, establishing succession plans, and encouraging other investments in human capital that ensure their company’s longevity.
But those that are focused on process rather than people, are turning off and turning away the highly qualified candidates that everyone is looking for. The measurement of a candidate should not be how well he fills out a series of online forms, but what he can do for the company. And when someone inside the company can’t talk to a potential hire without jumping through internal hoops that match those laid before job candidates, there’s a problem with HR.