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Want To Hire Great Employees? Fix Your Broken Recruiting Process

It is sad that business leaders still complain about "talent shortages" when anyone who has applied for a job lately knows that the standard corporate or institutional recruiting process is badly broken.

It isn't talent shortages that keep employers and willing and capable job-seekers apart. It's the broken-down state of the recruiting process!

 

Leaders who are serious about hiring great people need to examine their own internal practices and fix whatever is broken.

Here is a simple checklist of common breakdowns to get them started:

Ten Broken Recruiting Practices To Fix

1. Job ads are too often written in an opaque, insulting way that doesn't even try to sell a job-seeker on the opportunity -- but instead lists endless Essential Requirements that few if any working people possess. That's not the way to attract great candidates! A well-written job ad doesn't throw in every conceivable requirement in an attempt to narrow the field of applicants. It opens the door to all kinds of varied and worthy backgrounds, instead. Sadly, too many HR folks and recruiters would rather make recruiting a clerical matching exercise than actually fill the job opening with a willing and talented person.

2. Resume screeners use keyword-searching algorithms to do their jobs for them instead of reading resumes with their own eyes. I read resumes for twenty years and made thousands of great hires, and many other HR people still do it today. You will never fill out your team with awesome people by letting a piece of code screen resumes for you -- you have to do it yourself, the old-fashioned way.

3. Poor recruiting processes respond to applicants with terse, unfriendly and noncommittal messages like "Your materials have been received. If we want to interview you, we'll be in touch." Why not take the fifteen seconds it would require to check an applicant's background against your open positions before writing to them at all? That way, you can say "You seem to have the right background for several of our job openings" rather than "If we want to talk to you, we'll let you know, and if we don't,  you might wait forever to hear from us."

4. Bad recruiting systems load up a job applicant with assignments before a human being from the organization ever makes contact with them. You cannot attract great people by treating job-seekers like cattle, assigning them to take online tests and write essays for you before you've invested any time in them! If you want to hire awesome folks, you  have to extend yourself. You have to send a friendly email that says "Thanks for your resume! We love your background and are happy to hear from you. We have an opening for a Product Management Coordinator. Here's the job spec. The job pays in the low to mid forties. Would that work for you?"

5. If you post a job ad, get responses to it and leave the respondents waiting for two or three weeks before they hear from you, expect the most marketable candidates to flee -- and who can blame them? Good recruiting is fast. The best candidates will be off the market the soonest.

6. When you interview candidates, do you welcome them to the company and show them around? Do you make sure to answer their questions first, before you start asking them questions? Companies that treat job-seekers like gold will never have trouble filling their open positions.

7. Good employers use their own employees, customers and vendors as prime sources of new hires. If you post job openings to the whole world before letting your employees, customers and suppliers know about them, you are not only missing out on an awesome source of talent but also insulting your own best recruiting team members. If you don't value your employees enough to make them ambassadors for your brand, then your culture is broken.

8. In a healthy recruiting process, you sell applicants on your opportunities throughout the recruiting pipeline. Your posture toward candidates is not "Let's see if you're good enough for us!" but rather "We hope we're a great place for you to work!" I hired ten thousand people that way, and you can do the same thing.

9. Your recruiting process has a serious problem if you make candidates wait weeks to hear back from you after a job interview. It shouldn't take more than two or three business days to get back to every candidate -- the ones you want to meet again or extend an offer to as well as the folks you can see are not a great fit for your company at this moment.

10. Smart employers never turn anybody off with the message "You failed -- we're not hiring you." Smart employers know that if we don't have a job opening for you today, maybe we'll have one tomorrow or a month from now. Either way, we want to stay friends! I have had "failed" candidates refer other candidates to me and stay in touch with our company for years afterward. You know your recruiting process is working when candidates tell you "It's not the right environment for me, but I have a friend you should interview" and they turn out to be right!

If you want to hire great people, you have to see recruiting as a sales and marketing activity, because that's what it is.

If you cannot get out of your ego-invested state to sell a candidate on working for you, it's time to get out of recruiting and find another profession.

Only the organizations that understand talent will survive and thrive. Is your organization one of them?

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.