Updated: Dec 2, 2020
In an over-saturated job market, finding the ideal candidate can be very challenging. From online sourcing, to partnerships with staffing companies and internal referrals, sifting through the applicant pool is a cat-and-mouse chase for any hiring team. While candidates are trying to show their best face, as their potential employer my job is to see through the rose-colored glasses to determine if what I'm being told is truthful.
Believe it or not, I want to find the ideal hire just as much as they want to find the perfect job. It's almost like we need a Match.com for job searching... some kind of service that matches real personalities and ability with real positions and requirements. Although we don't have this, there are similar measures in place during the hiring process designed to see if a candidate is fit for a role. For example, multiple interviews and assessments help to determine the true personality and qualifications before extending an offer. Some companies also offer job shadowing to give potential hires a glimpse into "a day in the life of " before they sign an employment agreement.
The fact is an average job posting receives over 200 applications, and 50% of those are unqualified candidates. We know its frustrating to wait on status updates of your application, but consider this: you are one of 200+ applicants I am reviewing for just one position. Most recruiters (or hiring teams) have at least seven open roles at any given time. If hiring isn't all that I'm responsible for, it makes sense as to why it takes weeks to receive an update on your application.
Aside from the applicant pool, the company may face several internal hiccups that delay the hiring process. Sometimes we find a candidate, extend an offer and they reject it, so we start over... other times the need for the position is changed or eliminated mid-search. When pitfalls happen recruiters don't have to (and likely won't) communicate that to every applicant. Instead, the job may go stale and your application could sit indefinitely.
Even the best recruiters have days when they despise the job hunt. From terrible resumes to unprofessional interviews, sketchy background checks and failed assessments, finding your ideal is like diving into a career of "Where's Waldo". Only 2% of candidates actually make it to the interview phase from their impressive resumes, but unfortunately they begin to drop off quickly. My personal goal has always been to find two very qualified and personable candidates for the role, but this does not always happen - sometimes I don't find any until the second and third round of posting.
My biggest piece of advice to candidates is to remember although you want the position, you should always evaluate the company and make sure they deserve you. It's a two - way street, not just candidates begging to be picked by companies. If a recruiter is a douchebag with terrible follow up, or a company has horrible reviews and latest news, stay away. Your ineration with a company and their people during the application phase is indicative of their culture.
To my HR professionals, remember what it's like to be a candidate. Although the hunt is tedious and often exhausting, stay diligent. Set reminders to follow up within a week because your email (or call) can make or break someone's day. I know we have literally 150 other items on our to-do list, but common courtesy goes a long way; show candidates you value their time by remembering they exist.