4 things that are wrong with the hiring process and why


To grow a business, you need to bring in the best people. You obviously can’t do everything on your own, and eventually you’ll need smart and talented people to help your business reach the next level. As your business grows larger, the number of employees you need to maintain it also grows. Unfortunately, with this increase comes more responsibility for yourself, and as a result, there’s less time available to dedicate towards the hiring process.

Many organizations have reached this same point, and the hiring process ends up receiving less attention than it should. The result is thousands of applicants who have grown frustrated with the hiring process – some of whom may have ultimately given up looking for work altogether – and companies who are missing out on the best person for the job. If we want to fix this, both for the benefit of applicants and employers alike, we must look at where the hiring process has gone wrong.

1. Personality assessments that give the impression they’re disqualifying candidates for the wrong reasons

A big complaint among applicants is the use of personality tests. Companies see these tests as a way to gauge applicants, and immediately weed out people who are not a good fit, thus whittling down the number of applicants. Unfortunately, these tests are not always reliable, and many people who would perform well at the job are removed from consideration before even getting a chance to interview. In a Reddit thread about what people think doesn’t work with the hiring process, one of the top complaints referred to these personality tests, with user Disig stating they felt the tests were the main reason they weren’t getting hired, despite being qualified.

Personality tests are best used as an additional piece of information about an applicant, rather than a deciding factor. Companies will also want to make sure that they are using a personality assessment tool that objectively measures potential predictors of their workplace behavior. Having a personality test just for the sake of having one isn’t the best idea, as it could encourage biased decision makers to disregard candidates they think wouldn’t be a good fit. User neurorex effectively explains what companies should be doing instead:

“It really lies with the application of these assessments…I’ve seen employers wreck a well-validated assessment because they don’t know Psychometrics, and administered/analyzed/interpreted the test not intended as per their design. These guys also purchase any off-the-shelf assessments without verifying their purpose. A lot of companies are using “personality tests” that are meant to evaluate school children or establish clinical baselines. Get knowledgeable professionals to pick the appropriate test, and conduct it appropriately.”

2. Lack of experienced HR employees and employer engagement

In today’s world, when you post a job opening online, you’re likely to get dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of applications. With so many applications coming your way, it’s hard to give each one the time it deserves. And this leads to another common problem within the hiring process – a lack of employer engagement. Too often applicants spend a large amount of time filling out the application, and going through the steps of the hiring process, only to hear nothing back from the employer. They don’t know why they weren’t selected, or if they did something wrong. Instead they are just left with the frustration of wondering if they’ll get the job, or what they could have done better.

To try to fix this, some employers have passed off chunks of the hiring process to lower or entry-level administrative staff. These employees are instructed to sift through applications and pass on only the best. But how could a relatively inexperienced admin – or even intern – really know what it takes to do a job they are not themselves familiar with? Reddit user Tilting_Gambit described the experience of an acquaintance of theirs who interned on the hiring team of a supposedly top-tier company:

“A 20-year-old, second year Uni student was filtering 180+ applicants out of technical, legal, business and specialist roles…If she was being used to just filter out unqualified applicants, sure, that’s one thing. But she’s responsible for putting together a shortlist of best candidates.”

Of course, that’s simply one anecdote from a user on the internet, so it’s important to take their information with a grain of salt. However, if what he or she reported is true, there’s a possibility other companies may also be guilty of this.

For candidates, it’s frustrating to spend so much time filling out an application and perfecting their resume only to not be given that same level of commitment back by the employer. Candidates might start to wonder, “why should I continue to put all this effort in when the employer won’t?” While it might not be possible for a business to give each application it receives an hour of its time, there are still things a manager can do to become more involved. Simple things like responding to all applicants, and ensuring qualified people are the ones conducting the bulk of the screening and hiring process, go a long way.

3. Bias against resume gaps

A common complaint among applicants is when an employer has a bias against gaps in a resume. Employers view gaps as an unknown, and often as a risk. If an employer doesn’t know what a candidate was doing for the months-long gap in a resume, they will often assume the worst. However, there are plenty of legitimate reasons a person might have a gap in their resume.

For instance, they may have become sick, or needed to take care of a family member. Another possibility is they decided to start a business, or maybe took a year off to travel. Not all candidates are going to list the reason for their workforce absence on their resume, so employers should give them the benefit of the doubt, and not simply toss their resume out on sight until they find out more information.

4. Poor job descriptions

Finally, employers should focus on how they write their open job descriptions. Sometimes you get too many applications because the job description is vague and fits too many people. The more specific you are, the better chances you have of getting the right applicants. This will not only make your hiring process more effective but save time for applicants who will now have a better sense if they are right for the job. Go into as much detail as you can about what the job entails and be sure to include information about salary as well. No one wants to spend time filling out an application, only to find they are not in fact qualified for the job, or that the pay is significantly less than they assumed.

Fixing the hiring process benefits employers and applicants alike

While the problems listed above are problematic for applicants, that doesn’t mean companies should ignore them. You don’t want word to spread that your business has a poor hiring system in place, or you may find that talented and qualified people stop applying in the future. Even without that threat however, an ineffective hiring process means you may not getting the best person for the job. Reevaluating your hiring process is always a good idea to ensure that the company is able to bring in the best person for the job going forward. This not only improves your organization but is appreciated by candidates applying to your jobs.

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