Recruiters at tech companies frequently complain that there must be a skills gap as they simply cannot find decent talent. While the skills gap is real, that’s likely not the only cause of recruiting and hiring difficulties. What many recruiters see as a skills gap may instead be the consequences of their own, tone-deaf, recruiting practices.
The issue boils down to one thing. Too many recruiters see themselves as granting favors to the talent they pursue. That’s a bit like a salesperson getting the idea that they are doing the customer a favor. It’s a bad way to think about things, and an even worse way to pursue them. Unfortunately, this results in eight hiring practices that recruiters should eschew as soon as possible.
Lack of Personal Communication
‘We have received your application and other materials. You will be contacted within 14 days if we are interested in moving forward. Please do not respond to this email as it is automated and unmonitored. Sincerely, NoReply@TechCompany.com.’
Unfortunately, so many talented people apply for tech jobs, and get this in return. Not a personal email, not a five minute phone call, just a terse, auto reply email from a dummy account. Then, recruiters expect people to actually patiently wait until someone condescends to speak with them. Sadly, by the time this happens many talented candidates are in the ether.
Asking Inane Interview Questions
For some reason, recruiters have developed this idea that the interview process should be some type of running of the gauntlet where only those who survive the process are deemed worthy of continuing. The most common method of making interviews a tortuous event rather than a fruitful conversation is inserting inane interview questions that seem designed to make the candidate stumble or come up with corny and awkward responses.
Before arranging their next interviews, recruiters should ask themselves a few questions. Are they really going to learn anything of value about a candidate their greatest weakness or where they see themselves in five years?
Intrusive Salary Inquiries
There are dozens of ways to find information on acceptable salary ranges for any job in any geographical area. Further, recruiters and the teams they work with should have a good idea of the going pay rates for jobs that are relevant to their company. The last thing recruiters and hiring managers should be doing is requiring candidates reveal their current or past salaries. It’s intrusive. It’s also a violation of privacy.
Here’s something to consider further. In industries where there is a wage gap as it relates to gender, ethnicity, or other factor requiring candidates to reveal salary information can place women and minorities at a disadvantage. This is especially true if you intend to base your salary offer in any part on the candidate's salary history.
Pre Employment Testing
There are many ways to verify a potential hires skills. Their resume, whether custom written or created using a free resume template, will contain their skill set and job history. Employers can be contacted, and so can references. There’s also the interview process itself. If the candidate has an active LinkedIn profiles their recommendations should be available to view as well.
Given all of this, no professional in any field should be handed a pencil with the expectation that they complete a variety of tests to prove that they can write code, identify an issue with a network, or do any other work that their education, training, and previous work experience has trained them to do.
Overvaluing or Requiring Meaningless Certifications
Name any technical discipline and there is probably at least one certification that can be obtained as proof that someone is an ‘expert’. Some of these certifications are absolutely worthwhile. Candidates that have these should certainly be valued and prioritized.
On the other hand, not every certification meets these standards. They are outdated by current industry standards, or can simply be purchased. It’s a mistake to become immediately enamored of a candidate simply because they have some letters at the end of their name.
Finally, it is absolutely foolish to value a certificate over experience. It may be worthwhile to hire an experienced candidate and sponsor them through any certification processes.
Recruiting And Hiring Without The Input of The Team
It takes more than a job description to recruit the best talent for any position. This is why no recruiter should undergo the hiring process without involving the team leader and impacted employees at every stage. The team should be a part of writing job ads, screening candidates, and be a part of the interview process in some way. There are often small details that cannot be communicated about what the team needs without this kind of involvement.
Failing to Treat Existing Employers And Contractors Well
Culture is recruiting. If a company is known for treating its current employees and contractors well, word will get around. That’s why some tech firms have emerged as companies that everyone wants to work for. Provide fair pay, good benefits, and a positive company culture. If these elements are in place, great talent will find its way in.
Hiring The Boldest And Most Confident Candidate
There’s nothing inherently wrong with being bold and confident. The problem is that recruiters are often blindly attracted to these traits. The interviewee who states with confidence that they can work harder, better, faster, and more efficiently often finds himself getting the job.
Unfortunately, without properly vetting the candidate out, and considering the needs of the team there can be problems. The bold and confident interviewee is often the domineering co-worker, the one who cannot deal with conflict or build consensus, and the precious or oversensitive employee.
Tech companies who are interested in hiring the best talent should take a second look at their hiring practices. If any of eight items listed here are SOP, it may be time to shake things up. They may be causing talent to run the other way.