Hiring is Broken

Hiring practices have become more complex, laden – and slower. This has happened for a number of reasons:

1 The use of candidate tracking software and candidate “pipelines” has ironically slowed down the hiring process in many companies and it’s no wonder top quality talent loses interest. Many candidates report delays of 3-66 weeks between interviews and some online applications are 30+ screens in length. Technology that makes complexity easy introduces diminishing returns quickly and smart candidates will go elsewhere.

2 Candidate CVs are being subjected to automated key-word “algorithm” searches that lead to the best candidates being firmly rejected. There is now a reliance on the CV as a selection tool that in no way reflects what a CV is intended for. It’s smart people who hire smart people, not algorithms using basic CV data and words. The old well-proven rule of thumb, hire for attitude, train for skills is being dumped in favour of a level of “digital certainty” that does not exist. We are not gadgets, or at least, not yet.

It’s smart people who hire smart people, not algorithms using basic cv data and words.

3 Job ads are being written so that only one person on the planet could do the job, and they are usually already very successfully running something else. The people who apply to these adverts are the people who don’t really care what you’ve written. Most job boards now encourage “pull-the-trigger” applications, so they will apply anyway and the smarter candidate will move on because the job advert makes no sense.

We are not gadgets or a least not yet.

4 Once upon a time, we took more time to set up an interview with candidates. It took more time, but the process produced far richer results. Today, we try to minimise the time given to (face-to-face) interviews, and have replaced it with sight-unseen rejection and levels of gut-feel that go way beyond what a gut can do.

Take almost any sector or industry. Line up the top 5 or 10 or even 20 competitors. You’ll spot very little difference in product or service, in spite of what the marketing or sales messaging says. The real difference between the companies that makes them valuable to clients is the quality of the talent – the people. As we hurtle into an age of speed and short attention spans and drenched in digital technology, we are in danger of losing sight of the most powerful competitive advantage, smart, self-aware people.