Recruiters used to be more like Matchmakers. They got excited when meeting a good candidate and finding the best job for them. They’d go the extra mile to find the magical match.
And Recruiters also used to be a lot like Wedding Planners. They got their clients to the altar and moved on to the next wedding. And they focused on getting all sorts of candidates to the altar – even those over 40. Midcareer professionals were part of the landscape.
Not so much anymore.
Recruiters don’t seem to combine the art and science of recruiting to match people to urgent needs at their organization. They are more like Coroners doing an autopsy on job seeker’s careers to find out what went wrong. And they have a lot of tools to reject candidates. And they use them. And then complain there are no qualified candidates.
Recruiting has become… mean.
Here are the top 10 ways Recruiting has changed from Talent Acquisition to Talent Destroyer:
1. Seeking Only A Players
Can someone explain what an ‘A Player” really is? And do you have A Player compensation? Because if you don’t, you are wasting everyone’s time. Don’t go to market with a C Player salary and eliminate every candidate in range and then go for the Hail Mary Pass outside of your comp range candidate because you want an A Player. It’s sad.
2. Must Be Able to “Hit the Ground Running”
Translation: “We have no intention of training you in anything – tools, software, our process, etc… plus you should be psychic. So you don’t even have to ask questions.” Good luck filling that req. Meanwhile, there were 250 other applicants who could have done the job very well with a month of working closely with their manager. Wait, they are too busy to train anyone.
3. The 35 Year Old VP
A friend who owns a search firm told me recently “Everyone wants VPs who are under 40. I tried to submit someone who was 47 who looked 37 and you can’t imagine the pushback from the client.” Someone said to me, “What every employer seems to want now is a 35-year-old with the experience, wisdom and executive presence of a 50-year-old with the compensation of a 25-year-old.” These candidates do not exist.
4. No Show for Phone Interviews
Recruiters are conducting online searches very early in the process prior to phone interviews. They will “no show” on a scheduled phone interview if they feel that someone might be a risky candidate. Bad selection process. And just rude.
5. RIP In-Person Interview
Recruiters just don’t have the time to meet live with most applicants anymore. Fewer in-person interviews means that assessment is compromised and less predictive. Just like in dating, meeting live provides dramatically better data to predict performance on the job.
6. Social Proof and Vouching
How many times have we seen good candidates go into No Man’s Land of Non-Decision because no one can vouch for them? Isn’t this what reference checking and background verifications were supposed to do?
7. Backdoor References
In an attempt to get social proof, companies resort to contacting former colleagues not listed as references by a job seeker. And discussing the candidate’s history and capabilities with someone who didn’t manage them. Who was not authorized by the candidate to be contacted. And violating the candidate’s confidentiality. Nice.
8. Poaching is the New Recruiting
There is such a strong bias towards poaching from competitors vs. hiring available talent you may have to train just a bit that it eliminates almost all of the relevant qualified talent pool. No wonder jobs don’t get filled.
Unless you are willing to throw money at someone and pay to get them out of their non-compete, why not try to identify someone with most of the skills and create a training ramp-up program to get them the rest of the way. That’s right…it would take some effort.
9. Pre-recorded Video Interviewing
Candidates hate it. Now that airfares are sky high and non-refundable, companies have to do this but does it have to be so cold? Who really enjoys speaking into a webcam in a prerecorded interview? No one. Actually, it feels super creepy.
That’s what job seekers talk about at dinner parties. That super creepy pre-recorded video interview they did for XYZ Company and didn’t hear back from them. And never spoke to a Recruiter. With the convenience of technology, you can at least take the time and use in-person video conferencing to be personable and save on resources.
10. Rejection Is Bad Branding
That chipper rejection email companies send job seekers? The job search equivalent of the “Let’s Be Friends Talk” in dating. If you are a B2C company, think of how it affects your brand. FYI candidates loathe receiving these emails. If you are using the terms “not a fit” or “another candidate was a better match” the recipient isn’t going to feel good. Ever.
If the candidate actually came in for in-person interviews, they shouldn’t receive a rejection email. They should get a phone call from their Recruiter. I have seen candidates email CEOs because they were enraged that they took off several days of work, jeopardized their current job and then never received any word about the outcome of their interviews. Only to receive a rejection email. It’s just horrible bad manners.
Talent Acquisition isn’t really acting like a good corporate citizen. Even worse, these bad recruiting practices open up a Pandora’s box of bad assessment and potential discrimination. These practices aren’t predictive or reliable, certainly not legally defensible and just bad for your company’s brand. Finally, they destroy trust and rapport with job seekers and sometimes potential customers or clients.
We can do better!
It’s not enough to say Do No Harm. You actually have to love people and try to find creative ways to match job seekers to very challenging job specs.
It’s time Recruiters got back to the basics. Acting as Talent Agents, not Talent Destroyers.
Tracy Tedesco is a Talent Acquisition leader with extensive experience across corporate Talent Acquisition, Executive Search and Recruitment and Selection Systems Consulting. Tracy has spent the last 20 years working in a wide variety of roles across the Talent and People Operations function. She loves pairing qualified candidates with great employers, proving both parties with the proper fit. Tracy is a Master Trainer in Behavioral Interviewing with expert knowledge of building predictive, reliable and legally defensible interviewing and selection systems that enhance the candidate experience.