Modern Hiring ProcessThere are a gazillion fancy catch phrases in the Human Resources world-that-exists-unto-itself that describe the hiring process. Talent Aquisition is my least favorite (as if people are inanimate commodities that are bought from or sold to the lowest bidder – although that can seem like the crux of a modern employment search).

But in the end, the process is still, despite all the automated keyword vetting that allows the cream of the crop to get overlooked because some programmer (who doesn’t know anything but coding) is doing the vetting instead of a live human being, essentially to find a person to fill a position.

But today’s hiring process is a mess. So many extraneous and nonsensical layers have been built into the hiring process that the actual person hiring and the actual person they should be hiring have less of a chance to connect in person with each other than we do of seeing Halley’s Comet again in our lifetime. 

This is unquintessential leadership on steroids. Whatever “genius” thought this was a good idea was clueless about teams, team-building, and quintessential leadership. 

By taking the control of the process out of the hands of the people directly responsible for building teams, the current hiring methodology limits (and eliminates) viable – and, in some cases, the best – choices that would be considered without all the filtering layers now in place.

And, yet, because unquintessential leadership is the norm in most organizations, the very people who have built this Frankenstein of a system complain loudly and frequently about how hard it is to find good candidates and qualified candidates to fill their open positions.

The reality is those candidates exist, but the hiring process in its current iteration makes it next to impossible to find them. 

Why?

Because instead of depending, as quintessential leaders do, on their own eyes, their own ears, their own evaluation skills, and on their own intuition to spot strong soft skills and a good fit for existing teams, these unquintessential leaders have outsourced the most important function of building an organization to programmers, recruiting mills, and generic Human Resources departments, instead of doing this essential work, start to finish, themselves.

They don’t realize, to their detriment, that while you can quantify many aspects of organization-building – and, therefore, relegate it to people who don’t know anything about it, but can follow an if-then-else logic sequence that’s defined for them – you can’t quantify people.

And most organizations have forgotten that their most valuable resources are people: living, breathing, thinking, creating humans with personalities, skills, talents, strengths and potential that can’t be assessed or utilized without a direct human-to-human relationship.

Let’s look at the current hiring process and see why it exemplifies unquintessential leadership.

Major Online Job BoardsThe hiring process usually starts with digital job boards.

Most of the job boards, frankly, are a joke, even if a job-seeker uses keywords and date filters. Monster is the worst at just throwing out the most random and irrelevant search results you can imagine, no matter what parameters it’s given. Careerbuilder isn’t much better. Dice is pretty iffy as well. And LinkedIn ranks in the bottom of the tier as well. 

Indeed is probably the best of the job boards, but their search results aren’t all that great either. And it’s always a bit disconcerting to see job titles that spell “Manager” as “Manger” and other similar typos.

Once a prospective candidate has what has to pass for maybe-related search results, then the online application begins.

Alice Cooper did a song called “Welcome to My Nightmare.” Job applicants should consider playing this on an endless loop while they are applying for jobs, because this part is a nightmare.

It’s important to remember that this process happens with every single job that an applicant applies for. It is enough to make the most sane among us go stark-raving mad.

There is no standard for digital employment applications.

Almost all of them require setting up an account and creating a password just to get into the application. 

While most systems ask the applicant to upload a resume, almost none of the systems automatically populate the application form with the information on the resume. The applicant has to manually fill in everything.

Some systems have twenty or more screens to go through to actually complete an application for submission. Some retain the application information and some require an applicant to re-enter everything all over again for each new job being applied for. 

When the job applicant finally gets through this process and actually submits an application, then they wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. 

Apparently most job applications go to Never Never Land, because applicants don’t hear anything ever on 99% of them.

The 1% that job applicants do hear back on take various forms and are as infinitely frustrating as the 99% that they don’t hear anything back on.

The 1% shakes out like this:

  1. Immediate autobot email that says Human Resources has carefully reviewed the applicant’s qualifications, and while they’re impressive, Human Resources has decided to pursue other more qualified candidates. In other words, our program glanced at your stuff and decided you suck.
  2. For the most part, if a recruiter calls, it is a shiny-happy recruiter (remember, they get paid for every applicant they place) that calls and chats Recruiter Processfor 30 minutes with the applicant and promises to get back to them. Applicants will grow old waiting for that next phone call.
  3. In rare cases, a serious recruiter will call, then Skype, and then tell the applicant they will get their paperwork to the person hiring and will be in touch with the applicant when they hear something back. This ends up, for the most part, being another situation in which the applicant will grow old waiting for the return phone call.
  4. Even more rare, somebody at the hiring company will email the applicant with a one-line question, like “Are you willing to relocate?” or “What are your salary requirements?” Apparently, when the applicant responds their responses go to some sort of email dead zone, because that’s the last the applicant hears about the position.
  5. And in the rarest of cases, after the applicant jumps through a myriad of convoluted hoops, they finally get an interview with the hiring company.

The unquintessential leadership continues into the interview process, in most cases. As I’ve discussed before most people hiring aren’t exactly sure what they are hiring for. These are the same people who end up interviewing for a position they’re nebulous on themselves.

Once in a blue moon, the interviewer is a quintessential leader and the process works. However, blue moons are rare and so are interviewers who are quintessential leaders.

Generally, these unquintessential leaders can’t communicate well or effectively.

Poor Interviewing SkillsInstead of leading the conversation, they expect the applicant to do all the work. Pulling any concrete information out of these interviewers is next to impossible. Questions that the applicant asks are either deflected or answered in such vague terms that the interviewer might as well have not answered.

It may not be uncomfortable for the interviewer, but any job applicant worth their salt will have a high level of discomfort, as they sit there and ask themselves, “Why am I here?”

And the odds are extremely high that the applicant won’t get hired, which is probably for the best, because if somebody can’t even lead an interview, they certainly can’t lead a team. But, again, it’s frustrating.

The whole hiring process is replete with endless frustration. It’s demoralizing. And it seems to be designed to favor the survival of the fittest – only those who don’t quit until something finally breaks seem to be the winners.

Ask anybody who’s been through it and finally found employment, though, if they feel like a winner. The answer, because job applicants are the losers just about all of the time in the hiring process, will be “No.”

Besides all the unquintessential leadership involved in the current hiring process, the biggest problem throughout the process is communication. No communication. Delayed communication. Iffy communication. Vague communication. Wrong communication.

Quintessential leaders put a high premium on excellent communication, clear communication, correct communication, and prompt communication. That is a core component of life, of team-building, and of hiring.

Quintessential leaders also forgo the multilayered, inefficient, and dysfunctional current trend of hiring. They don’t let anyone or anything get between themselves and potential team members.

Because they know what they are looking for and they know that they will know it when they see it, quintessential leaders will do all the legwork, from advertising a position to filling the position, hands-on and by themselves (they will involve their teams in peer interviews when applicants come in, though, because the team’s input is an important part of the decision-making process).

This is the best and most effective way to hire people and, despite the unquintessential leader’s excuse that they don’t have time to do that, it is the most productive, long-term, time that quintessential leaders can spend to build their teams for productivity, for success, and for profitability.

Is your organization a mess when it comes to hiring?

Is the hiring process so convoluted that it takes forever to get a new team member on board and when they finally get there, everybody realizes it was bad hire?

Does the choice come down to making do with somebody who is not the right fit just to have a body or to leave a position open and go through the whole time-intensive, convoluted hiring process again, with no guarantee that the results will be different the next time around?

For those of us striving to be quintessential leaders, this is unacceptable. We need to take back our team-building responsibilities, no matter how much of our own time we have to invest. It’s that important.

What are we going to do about it?

More importantly, what are you personally going to do about it?

 

 

 

 

Comments
  1. […] of them, in addition to a modern grueling and going-through-the-wringer-over-and-over job-hunting process that, quite frankly, a person who has not recently or is not going through simply does not and […]

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  2. […] Anybody who is looking for employment has undertaken a full-time job. It’s a job with no pay, a substantial time investment, mostly silence or rejection as the outcome, and a hiring process that makes Dante’s hell seem like a stroll in the park.  […]

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