There was an app that hit the news recently called Jobr. In classic Silicon Valley speak: It’s like Tinder for Employment. In the grand tradition of connecting services, it links up prospective job hunters with employers who have need for them.
One of the most ground-shaking, world-changing sentences I’ve ever heard is: “Hiring managers don’t want to reject you. They want you to be THE ONE. They want you to be the one who will solve their problems. It’s up to you to show them that that’s you.”
It’s a subtle but empowering point of view that humanizes the gatekeepers of the employment world. And it highlights what exactly is wrong with hiring in most companies.
Hiring right now is so goddamn hostile. If I’m looking for a job, here’s what happens:
- I get thrown into a hopper with hundreds of other candidates, whose skills are hidden and obfuscated—just like mine—by layers of buzzwords and fancy resume formats
- Someone in HR pits themselves against a stack of these hundreds of profiles, spending an average of 6 seconds on each
- This person likely doesn’t work in the same capacity as the position I’m applying for, and so is only going off of the job description to determine who is a right fit
- This work is so intensive that computer programs are often tasked with doing a “first pass”, a parsing of the submitted resumes and culling for those that list keywords from the job description
- The hiring manager gets 5-6 resumes of people determined by HR or the computer to call back for interviews
- Interviews happen. The hundreds who were cut by a computer program get no response from the company (or a shitty copypasta email). The 4-5 who went through interviews but didn’t get the job will also likely get no response (or a shitty copypasta email)
This process sucks for a few reasons:
- A gigantic decision is put in the hands of someone or something who likely has little idea of what makes a successful job applicant. Someone in HR might know what hallmarks make a good coder, but that will be tinged by their own biases (pop culture tropes notwithstanding). A computer even less so! That’s why the technical interview became so popular, and why Github is the best way for prospective coders to get noticed. When you give the power to cut resumes to someone who doesn’t do the job, you risk losing out on a lot of good candidates, simply because they’re not good at writing a resume (pretty sure most jobs don’t require writing a good resume)
- The shitty copypasta email leaves job applicants with a sour taste in their mouth. If you’ve never been rejected from a job, please teach me your ways. But if you’re like me, you know the feeling of seeing an email from somewhere you’ve applied and felt the following: dread, resignation, sadness, cheapness, and acceptance. If a company really thought that I would have helped, if not for an outstanding field of candidates, they would have put in the time to write an email different from one I’ve heard a dozen times already
- Dropping off contact is basically throwing out opportunities to make hunting for applicants easier in the future. For those 4-5 who didn’t get the job, why don’t you keep in contact with them, rather than “keep their resumes on file”? This, too, leaves the applicant with a sour taste in the mouth, and damages the image of your company
This is why it’s so easy (relatively) to find people in a startup. They usually come from friends or friends of friends, and people who are qualified to speak to their skill DO speak to their skill. The reason it’s so hard once your company scales to thousands of employees is because the number of people who have heard of your company and are applying improperly increase. Also, those most qualified to judge an applicant’s resume are too busy working to search. This article from TechCrunch about “Hacking the Hiring Process” struck a chord with me. My biggest pet peeve with current hiring procedure is that nobody ever tells me what I did wrong. There’s such a lack of transparency in the outcome it’s ridiculous, and there’s no excuse for it. We’re adults, we can speak frankly. When I have my own company, the thing we will be known for in terms of hiring is this: every applicant who gets an interview will also get feedback. They will get some sort of documentation (either notes taken during the interview, a video recording, or a copy of our evaluation documents) to help them become better interviewers and provide them a clear path for improvement. Of course, there will be a signed agreement that no lawsuit will come out of it. I believe this will alleviate stress and improve the hiring experience. One might go so far as to say disrupt.