Last week a friend sent me a disturbing email—one I’ve seen far too often.
He has been interviewing with various companies for positions—and not having much luck. That’s understandable: Even in an improved market, it can take months (or up to a year for senior-level folks) to find the right fit.
understandable was how the companies have treated my friend.
The interview process can be tough for both sides. Some candidates use interviews to gain an upper hand with their current employers (to ask for a raise, in most cases). Some candidates just flake out. I’m not excusing this behavior; it happens, and it shouldn’t.
Let’s look at a few mistakes companies are making, and what impact they could have on the organization’s reputation.
Mistake: Failing to call candidates after making a decision
This is the most common mistake—but it’s also the most curious. After all, how hard is it to call those people you brought in for a final interview? That takes about 15 minutes, right?
I’ve applied for lots of jobs over the years, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times the company called me to say I didn’t get the job. But I remember the companies that made those calls. It showed me a lot about who they were.
Those that didn’t? I remembered them, too. To this day, I still have a tough time referring people to those organizations.
Mistake: Leading candidates on under false pretenses
I’ve heard numerous stories about companies that have made a hiring decision, but interview an additional candidate or two “just to have a backup” in case the first selection doesn’t work out.
I understand the benefit to the company here, but this just seems disrespectful to the “backup” candidates. Why not just interview all candidates at the same time, make a decision, and go from there? Show respect to your candidates. They will remember it if you burn them, and they might not come back.
Mistake: Letting the hiring process drag on and on
If you have a need, fill it—quickly. I realize companies run into issues with executive buy-in and that earnings and priorities can fluctuate, but dragging the recruitment process on for months at a time just doesn’t make sense. If you think it’s going to take a while, tell the candidate. Make it clear that things could slow down considerably.
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Why is this important? The candidate is probably interviewing with other companies and wants to make informed decisions. How is that possible if your interview process takes six months? Keep your interview process inside two months (which still feels long), or hold off on your decision to start interviewing.
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. A version of this article originally ran on his blog, Communications Conversations.