I’m going to deviate from the candidate-focused advice I’ve been spouting in parts one and two, and take a moment to rant at the majority of HR managers and recruiters I’ve had the displeasure of interacting with through this process:
Part the Third: HR (haphazard and ridiculous)
Are you an HR Professional? Have I applied to a company you work for?
If I haven’t, I will give you the benefit of the doubt, and not automatically assume you’re an idiot.
However, if I HAVE applied to the company you work for (with a couple notable exceptions), I am currently not terribly impressed with your ilk. In fact, I strongly suggest you could not find your own hindquarters with both hands and a flashlight.
Because you certainly can’t find a suitable candidate for your positions, since you keep changing and reposting them, and with the mounting evidence, I have to start assuming that it’s not entirely me – it’s you.
And while I am not an HR Professional (and feel sorry for those who have to share a professional title with you), I’ve done my share of recruiting and managing, and even *I* can offer a few tidbits of help so you can finally fill your damn jobs, and stop driving me and the rest of my fellow job seekers COMPLETELY INSANE.
1. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. It’s not that difficult. Do you want a specialist or a generalist? Do you want a brand manager or a graphic designer? Do you want a copywriter or a website technician? What is the ACTUAL nature of the job, and what skills are needed to do it? Have you ever heard the phrase “Jack of All Trades, Master of None?” That’s what you’ll get if you insist on a candidate who is an “expert” in every commercial software package known to man.
How do you know if you’re doing this? If your “components of the job” demands could have multiple 4-year degrees attached, you’re asking for too much because you don’t know what you want. Have you said you want someone with a degree in Marketing, and a portfolio of graphic design projects? There is a HUGE difference between creating a campaign, and doing creative graphics execution.
And don’t complain to me that “it’s what the hiring manager wants” – the hiring manager has no effing clue what they want. They do not write job descriptions, they produce things and manage their team. It is your job to ask questions and make the connection between what they’ve asked for, and what they actually need.
What does 80% of the job consist of? If you narrow your posting down to that, you might just attract someone who’s brilliant at that particular skillset. And maybe you can hire them. Then when you do hire the person who’s brilliant, you’ll probably find it won’t be that hard for them to take that brilliance, read some refresher material, and update their skills to do exactly what you and your company need.
2. How much experience do you really want, and how much are you willing to pay for it? I know that non-marketing people generally don’t understand what marketing people do – and most of us work quite hard to prove our and our campaigns’ ROI. But seriously – do not say you want someone with 5 years of experience, and balk that the applicants are all overqualified. If you want someone with more enthusiasm than experience – have at ‘er! Goodness knows it’s hard enough to get a job right out of school. But don’t be surprised if you ask for applicants with a certain amount of experience, and they come at you with exactly that, and don’t want to answer phones as part of their duties (unless the job is answering phones – and in my case it isn’t).
3. If you have initiated contact with a candidate – FOR PETE’S SAKE FINISH IT! As a job hunter I understand that if I submit an application, and don’t hear anything, it means the company is not interested. But if I submit an application, and you shunt me to the next stage in your intake process, promise a phone call within a certain number of business days, and then proceed to LEAVE ME HANGING FOREVER (I’m looking at you, Active Network), I will think your entire company treats its people like crap (because during that process I was one of your people, and you certainly weren’t courteous to me), and will forever have a negative opinion of you. This means I won’t use your products, won’t recommend your products, and will never ever suggest any of my colleagues and associates work for you. In fact, I’ll probably go out of my way to tell them not to, without any prompting.
As HR, you are the face of the company to your greatest assets: your past, current, future and potential employees. If I ever hear an HR Professional tell me they “don’t have time” in their busy day to inform candidates that they’ve reached the end of their journey in the intake cycle, I would say without hesitation that they are shitty managers of their time and their domain. That is your job – you’re the one who signed up for it. Nobody likes delivering bad news, but I’ve gotten my fair share of it in the job hunt, and have a much higher opinion of those who have delivered it. You don’t need to respond to every application – but if you have responded, you owe it to that candidate to inform them you’ve closed the interaction.
Perhaps, if the HR Managers of the world could take those points to heart, and get their collective shit together, I could have spent my time constructing applications in which my skills are demonstrated in a concise way that’s actually applicable to the job in question, sent them to companies who are looking for someone with my level of expertise, and not be sleepless with anxiety because “they said they’d call” and just don’t.
Thankfully, there are a few shining stars out there, one of whom I’m going to give a shameless plug to in the next entry. She deserves a post of her own, because she’s just that good.
UPDATE: Apparently dearheart disagrees (though I didn’t apply to the company she works for – and has decided to take personal offense at my post anyway).