We’ve all heard the news – the U.S. is creating more jobs. Lots more. Even so, there are plenty of Americans on the job hunt. Having recently been on the hunt myself, the process has been on my mind. Fact is, the current hiring process is outdated, unhelpful, and a pain in the ass to pretty much everyone involved. I know a lot of folks on the interwebs are still feeling the sting of the recent economic decline, and are offering advice (occasionally good) to job seekers. Dress for success – come prepared – don’t speak ill of your previous employers. These are nuggets most job seekers know by heart. I’d like to take a different route – I would like to offer some advice to the interviewers and the companies doing the hiring. Here are 10 things that need to change:
1. Don’t wing it. If you haven’t read the resume of the person you’re about to interview at least twice, take a minute to do so before you enter the room, or reschedule. You should know who you’re talking to, have a sense of why they were called in for an interview, and give yourself a chance to ask thoughtful, information-getting questions.
2. Take notes. Chances are you’ve received hundreds of applications and resumes for the position you posted – you’ll need a way to tell your interviews apart once you’ve had a few days to sit on them. Write down questions that are pertinent to the position, the company or the person you’re looking for, and make note of each interviewee’s answers. Ideally this will help with your weeding process later.
3. Don’t require extra, unnecessary leg work. Requiring your interviewees to fill out a paper application upon arrival at an interview in 2013 is just silly. Technologies exist where we can upload a resume and have it auto-fill pieces of the fill-in-the-blank resume every company seems to require now. Filling out a paper application for a job that you’ve already sent your resume in to and gotten an interview for is pretty frustrating. Better yet – didn’t get all the information you were looking for from their resume? Ask them for the missing pieces in the interview.
4. If it’s broke, fix it. Anyone who has been to a job interview in the last twenty years can probably recite the same ten questions interviewers always ask. Change it up, people! Stop asking where I see myself in five years. Where do I see myself? Why, I’ll be working for you making buckets and buckets of money! What are my strengths and weaknesses? Something that makes me sound hardworking and awesome whether I actually am or not, followed by something that’s not actually a weakness but I phrase it so it sounds like I totally answered your question.
5. Ask new questions, part deux. I say scrap all the typical interview questions. What do they tell you? They tell you how well your interviewee can use Google to find the ‘best answers to interview questions’ and regurgitate them. You’re hiring the person for their skills as well as their personality and work ethic. Find out what those are. Give them a scenario or test that will show you how competent they are. Ask them about a specific situation you handled that went sour and see how they’d fix it. Ask them about the types of things they like to do outside of working. Let them talk to you like a human being, and they’ll probably be a little less nervous to boot.
6. Look for personalities and habits that will fit well with your team. Just because you think you’ve hit the jackpot on paper does not mean the person will fit in your office environment. People with great tech skills or those that graduated at the top of their class can still have social interaction issues that could cause problems for your employees or your company down the line. Richard Branson does it, and he’s one successful dude.
7. Treat applicants and interviewees like your clients, because they could become or already are your clients. They are people who will potentially purchase products or services from you whether they get this job. If you treat them well, they may even recommend you to friends. So be good – respond to their e-mails in a timely fashion. Don’t beat around the bush. In their eyes, little things like that can reflect as poorly on your company or your brand as it does on you.
8. Give them a date. If you’re bad about getting back to people, give your interviewees a date they’ll hear from you by so they know not to keep hoping three weeks later that you’re just too busy to call but they definitely got that job. And along that same line…
9. Put people out of their misery. If the candidate isn’t qualified or a good fit for your company? Let them know as soon as humanly possible. I know jobs posted get a ton of applications these days, but honestly, how hard is a “thanks for applying but we’re going in a different direction” mail-merge? Or even “we know it’s been a week since you interviewed, and we wanted to let you know that we haven’t forgotten about you and we hope to let you know no later than [date].”
10. Embrace Skype. Utilize the awesomeness that is video chat, especially for those who are still working full-time while job hunting. This prevents you from having to reserve meeting room space, and it saves them gas and potential lies to their current employer about the “doctor’s appointment” they forgot about. In the end it will save time for you both.
I hope, for the sake of people on the hunt everywhere, things change in the job seeker space. If you liked this post, you should also read this great article on the 10 Qualities of Exceptional Interviewers.