Hiring is Broken

SmartRecruiters, a two-year old recruitment platform for social enterprises, published the findings of a survey of 1,100 online adults on today’s hiring process.

The findings are:

a)      Fascinating

b)      Not terribly surprising if you’re paying attention

c)       The stuff of nightmares

d)      All of the above

If you chose “d” you are correct.  Here’s the data:

  • Finding the right candidate takes too long:  55% of respondents involved in hiring at their company reported that filling a vacant position typically takes longer than 60 days, and 43% reported that open positions aren’t filled within their required timeframe
  • Employers settle for good enough:  almost half of respondents involved in hiring report settling for a candidate that was just “good enough” because finding the right candidate took too long
  • Most people are unhappy with hiring:  more than 60% of respondents, job-seekers and employers said that their experience with the hiring process has been less than positive
  • Inefficient hiring impacts more than HR:  70% of people surveyed indicated that their company includes at least three employees in each hiring decision
  • Candidates give up before applying:  almost half – 46% — of respondents have chosen not to apply for a job they are interested in due to an application process that was “too lengthy or complicated”
  • Candidates expect a more mobile, more social experience:  nearly half – 47% — of people surveyed said they would be more likely to apply for a job if they could apply with their online social profile (such as LinkedIn or Facebook) rather than with a resume and cover letter, and 57% would be interested in applying from their mobile device if that option existed

This is one of those areas of talent management — like performance management — where everyone, all the stakeholders, knows that the current systems don’t work.  And they don’t work with a vengeance.  But getting it to the top of the “to do” list for action never seems to happen.

With more than 15 million Americans looking for work (and another several million who have given up), taking more than 60 days to fill positions seems ludicrous.

With more than 15 million Americans looking for work (and another several million who have given up), employers settling for good enough because their systems are cumbersome and selection is hard and there are lots of candidates shortchanges the business and ensures a workforce that won’t deliver on the organization’s goals and strategies.

With more than 15 million Americans looking for work (and another several million who have given up), having more than 60% of the processes’ participants report a less than positive experience means we’re demotivating all the stakeholders to do this well.

With more than 15 million Americans looking for work (and another several million who have given up), involving 3 or more people in the hiring process might not be such a bad idea.  But when it takes months to arrange interviews instead of hours we’re missing the most valuable talent.  Guaranteed.

With more than 15 million Americans looking for work (and another several million who have given up), using processes that dis-incent participation – even when there’s a job at the other end – shows that we don’t value the candidate pool or the candidate experience.  No matter how much we bemoan the lack of talent that meets our needs (see my posts here and here), using systems that intimidate, confuse and scare applicants is simply crazy.

With more than 15 million Americans looking for work (and another several million who have given up), using pre-existing data like profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook can only improve the efficiency of the process.

And it’s not that recruiters aren’t working hard.  And it’s not that job seekers aren’t doing their best to connect and market their abilities. It’s that we haven’t prioritized this as a “must fix.”  Leveraging technology to match supply and demand is a no-brainer.  And emerging businesses like SmartRecuiters, HireVue, RiseSmart, Pinstripe, Acertiv, Achievers – and all the other innovative tech-based solutions out there – have elegant, easy-to-use, cost effective applications that can start to solve these issues.  And start to solve them NOW!

So yeah: hiring is broken.  And yeah, fixing it could be really easy.

The real question is:  why haven’t we moved hiring to the top of the to-do list?  Hiring will continue to be the stuff of nightmares until we decide to fix it.  It might be that simple.



Filed under Annual Performance Reviews, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Hiring, Hiring Difficulty, Performance Management, SmartRecruiters, Talent Acquisition

8 responses to “Hiring is Broken

  1. Pingback: 9 Questions for Getting Hired | Media Meme

  2. Pingback: Setting Expectations - A Solutions to Many Unnecessary Problems | Acacia HR Solutions

  3. Great insight but allow me to add to your list of solutions. http://www.HRMC.com ‘ Acclaim is an automated candidate engagement and assessment platform. Your 6 data points can’t be addressed by typical ATS’s. Resume-centric systems are a big reason for these hiring difficulties. I’ve worked with a dozen ATS’s nothing matches the results of HRMC in helping efficiently and accurately evaluate and hire top performers.

  4. tombolt

    I hate using a sports analogy, but the answer is that it isn’t a game changer to the people who can do something about it. In a discussion about the referee lockout in the NFL, an angry-looking Steve Young on ESPN stated that the inefficiencies of the temporary referee fill-ins does not change the draw of NFL games. Stadiums are filled, TV ratings are high, commercial endorsements haven’t waned. In hiring, the people who care and know how to fix it need to prove that it is a game changers to those in charge who don’t care. If this is a matter of principle and doing it right is important, there are no holds barred. Armed with data, logic, business acumen and respect, HR/Staffing is capable of being the oracle of change. If we choose to be lazy, timid or back down then nothing will change. I also hate to talk about that seat-at-the-table-thing, but it is only there if we deserve it and then own it. Shout it from the rooftops and make it happen!

    • Hi Tom: I think it’s so much more than a matter of principle — although it is that. It’s a matter of meeting business goals, of realizing the strategic plan. If we’re settling for “good enough” because hiring the right people is hard; if we’re dis-incenting the best candidates from applying; if we’re really not investing in getting the right talent, we’ll go out of business. Not today, not tomorrow, but eventually the competitor that does hire the best candidates will eat our lunch.

  5. Great article! With the potential risk involved in choosing a new team member, hiring should be a priority for everyone, and there are plenty of resources out there to help. We are attending the HR Technology Conference in October and are extremely excited to check out some of the business you listed.

    We recently developed and application specifically to manage the interview process because we were struggling with many of the issues you mentioned. Sparcin.com is free and easy to use if anyone is interested!

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