Best Practices in HR

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Melissa Dobbins
  June 26, 2018

Why is applying for a job easier than buying socks?

Here’s the next big hit in singing competitions! Instead of having people try out by singing (literally, in front of judges), all they do is go to a competition website and click a big red ‘apply’ button. They fill out their name, contact information, picture, where they were trained in music and their favorite songs. They can also put up to three references of people who know they sing well. And they can do this, over and over, at numerous websites.


Think of the efficiencies!


Competitors will be thrilled as they save hours and hours of time standing in lines and singing.


Judges can quickly get rid of competitors using the information provided.


Trained in music: In the shower – no, definitely not.


Picture: Older man – no, not going to be a compelling singer.


Favorite song: Nessun Dorma – hold on, what is that? No.


What do you think?


But seriously, it’s a horrible idea. Not only is it skipping the most important qualification to the competition (i.e. the singing), it forces the ‘judges’ to eliminate people based on criteria that have nothing to do with sound of their voice.


So why is a selection process that is so clearly absurd for a singing competition being applied all the time for a far more important decision; who to hire?


Common ‘wisdom’ of the ‘quick apply’:


“The apply process must be very fast and easy or great candidates will not apply”


Excessively long or demanding application processes can put candidates off. But one that’s involves nothing at all can be just as bad.


When you post a new job ad, you want to find incredible candidates. But there’s a little voice in the back of your head demanding you make the ‘quick apply’ application process easy or you will lose those great candidates to competition that does offer that ‘quick apply’ button. How could you possibly compete with “one click and you’re done” except to offer the same?


So, you lower your standards to what everyone else is doing.


Unfortunately, when the resumes start pouring in, you realize 90 percent of them just aren’t qualified. Worse still, you know the few great candidates who did apply don’t feel engaged in the process.


Why? Because they are just as dedicated to your company as you are dedicated to them.


They hit “apply” then move on and hit “apply” on another dozen jobs – all before lunch.


With so many unqualified resumes to sift through, the chances you’ll spot the great candidates before one of those other job openings sees their application, or spot them at all, has been significantly reduced.


Short and sweet—or insultingly easy?


Let’s be honest: when all it takes is one click, a candidate might put more thought into buying socks than into applying for your job. In the time it takes him to brew a pot of coffee, candidates could apply to dozens of job openings. But do you think they know which jobs they are applying for, the qualifications for those jobs, or the companies hiring? The message is clear: I don’t care about you, you don’t care about me, but let’s see if the system matches us up.


How is this setting you or your candidates up for success?


The low barrier to entry (i.e. takes only seconds to apply) encourages a flood of these unengaged, completely unqualified candidates to enter your process, turning the few great candidates into needles in a haystack.


‘Quick apply’ –or not so quick haystack searches?


Thanks to the “quick apply”, you now have a huge haystack of applicants with a few needles (great candidates) sprinkled in.


Now what?


To sift through this unmanageably huge haystack, you are forced to use shortcuts. Perhaps you quickly scan the mountain of resumes to find candidates, or apply “AI” solutionssuch as keyword filters and automated stack ranking. But these approaches are highly prone to bias, which reduces diversity—driving down your top and bottom line.


Before you know it, that ‘quick apply’ you adopted to grab the great candidates have lead to an unengaged candidate pool, mountains of irrelevant applications, and biasing filtering techniques that filter out amazing candidates.


It seems this approach is not just a horrible idea for a singing competition!


Use a meaningful hiring process to get meaningful results


Applying for a job should not be easier and less engaging than buying socks! It is time to stop inviting unqualified applications, creating massive haystacks that must be sifted through, and forcing staff to take shortcuts just to keep their heads above water.


It is time to say no to the ‘quick apply’.


Instead, introduce an engaging process that tells the candidate what they need to know about the job and the company and allows them to show how amazing they are for the role. That doesn’t mean a process has to be arduous, but it does require time and effort on both sides. Design a process that is engaging, provides insight, and effectively measures candidate’s potential:


Focus on the candidate when writing job descriptions. Rather than telling candidates what they’d do in the role (they probably already know most of it anyway), tell them why they’d want to do those things for you. You want them to WANT to work for you, to be excited for the position, the company, the team. This is the opportunity to stand out against the dozens of ‘quick apply’ buttons they have pressed—because they want your posted job.


Give the candidate the opportunity to decide if they’re the right fit and show them you’ve put thought into what it would take for the new employee to be successful.

Build a process that measures candidates abilities and skills against those requirements. Design questionsthat measure a candidate’s abilities based on those requirements. Leverage scenario-based questions that showcase how a candidate will perform and assessmentsfor those important soft skills that are notoriously tough to self-evaluate (like creativity, dependability, and integrity). You’ll build even more engagement into the process and give great candidates a chance to shine.


Create a great process and great candidates will appreciate the effort you’ve put in and the increased engagement it creates. The noise will fall away and what you’re left with is a pile of those proverbial needles—no pesky haystacks in sight!


Leave the “quick click” process for buying socks where it belongs and embrace a better way.


At career.place, we’re doing just that. We’ve revolutionized the hiring process to help you find the best candidates for the job—and keep them engaged in the process. Our software solution allows candidates to show you what they’re made of, and why they are qualified You filter candidates based on what really matters, and they know you’re really listening to them—everyone wins.


Try it for yourself. Get in touch today, and find out how career.place can help you make the most of your hiring process.