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Hiring isn’t fair

Hiring is one of those quietly ignored aspects of business that only garners attention when it becomes absolutely necessary. We’re not surprised, most people have their minds on other responsibilities, tasks and deadlines

The same goes for the applicant. How many people care about the HR departments (or lack thereof) that don’t directly impact their lives? We’d guess very few. So, we have a critical business task that’s rarely talked about outside HR circles and a public unfamiliar with its processes.

Sounds like the perfect setting for some misunderstanding.

  • Businesses, which don’t have the capacity for established HR departments, don’t have the time or money to create effective processes around recruiting.
  • Companies with dedicated HR departments have deadlines, quotas and budgets to meet. Plus, they have all of the troublesome inertia of large, departmentalized firms.
  • The public deals with an overwhelming perception of rejection (and very little human interaction to mitigate the negative feedback).

Hiring really isn’t fair, big or small

The importance of human capital has quickly grown in recent years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every business can act on the newfound understanding yet. Most SMBs can attest, businesses are in the so-called business of putting out fires. You handle the most important task at hand.

Growing businesses are always shifting shape, with constantly evolving needs. Hiring generalists in the beginning will help a fast-growing startup get off the ground, but growth ultimately demands specialization. Positions will change inside the company, along with the necessary skills to fill them.

Established businesses may have name recognition, but their challenges exist too. Imagine your store receiving 23,000 applications, could you imagine handling all of those in your email or through spreadsheets?

Great, but not so great

Hiring isn’t a walk in the park for those hiring. Yes growth is great. Yes acquiring obscenely talented new employees can take businesses, founded and built upon good ideas, and rocket them into the stratosphere of impactful companies. But the act of hiring is difficult.

And ya’ know what? Getting hired is extremely difficult too! It takes time, a ton of effort and just the right amount of luck. Everyone wants the best jobs, everyone needs a job, and there just aren’t that many of either around right now.

ERE reports that every corporate opening receives about 250 applications. That’s a success rate of .4% for the applicants and neither of those numbers take into account “qualified” vs. “unqualified” applicants. For the businesses, that’s a huge haystack that may or may not hide their ideal needle.

Here sits hiring, in the intersection of:

  • too few positions
  • too little resources to find and evaluate the right applicants by hand
  • too many applications (both qualified and unqualified)

Here also sits the breeding ground for hiring software. They didn’t come out of some ill-intent on the side of huge, faceless corporations. They’re not built to keep applicants out. They don’t remove the humans from Human Resources.

A small business needs to compete with the big boys for talent, while keeping operations up and running. How does someone write an effective job description, advertise it to the public, organize applicants and then evaluate good from bad? Before hiring software, that business owner was left to handle it all alone or pay an outside recruiter.

A corporation needs to efficiently handle hundreds of applications for every single job. Those cool companies with great perks have even more applicants. Last year, Google found over a million applications for their open positions. Walmart received 5 million applications. Before hiring software, these large companies had to rely on inboxes, spreadsheets, manilla folders, tons of manpower, and gut instincts.

The goal of hiring is always to acquire the most talented people for your company. Big, small, fast-growing or dependably stable, companies of all sizes have realized the benefits of some recruiting automation over the past decade. Granted, the applicant experience hasn’t always been ideal with the early, cantankerous systems.

… you’re going to have a bad time

“Bad” is how most of us have experienced hiring software in the first place. We find a company that looks promising with a job we know that we could knock out of the park. Then we apply… Say hello to page after page of text boxes, endless-looking questions, and then the ultimate request for us to attach our resume at the end. But why did we just fill in all those boxes? WHY!?!

A poor applicant experience leads to a poor perception of the company and frustration with the whole job-hunting process. How many times have you said or heard this:

I know I can impress [INSERT COMPANY NAME]. I Just need to talk to someone in person!

every applicant ever

You’re probably right. Contrary to many popular beliefs, nearly any company would love to give you that chance. If you’re the best applicant out there, they want you. It’s that simple. Reality intervenes though. Most businesses can’t find you, or they can’t pick you out of the hundreds of other “you’s.”

Oh, and they’re looking for the “you” who will stick around. You may be able to do a job well, but if you know that it will only satisfy your career hunger until something more challenging and- ultimately better- comes around, why should a company hire you? It’s in their best interest to hire someone slightly less qualified and much more likely to stay with the company. Hiring costs a lot. So does a high turnover rate.

Reserve Judgement

You can’t judge an entire batch by one bad apple, nor can you dismiss all hiring operations as difficult, unfair and pointless. There have been some truly horrendous examples of online applications thanks to early systems. However, from those failures come successes. Today’s software has made huge steps towards providing a great applicant experience, while also giving those in charge of hiring the tools they need to do their job.

Hiring isn’t fair. Hiring isn’t easy. Applying isn’t fair. Applying isn’t easy. There’s no evil-doing though, and things are getting better. Unfortunately, each party on each side of the hiring process rarely has the experience, time or training to understand the other. Making things worse, there’s very little communication on the subject.

Hopefully, we just built a bridge.

On Friday

We’ll explore how a piece of recruiting software, also known as an applicant tracking system (or software), takes in applications and spits out candidates. It’s not magic, it just needs some explaining.

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