Three things hiring managers do that drive candidates crazy

Man sitting in an interview looking serious

Job hunting is stressful, and hiring managers often don’t make it any easier. Here are three things employers do that drive candidates crazy.

Having unreasonable expectations: There’s a ridiculous quality to many a job posting these days. It’s like people are looking for fictional characters to fill fictional positions, or, more likely, know nothing about the actual position they’re trying to fill. We’ve all come across posts that look something like this:

    Wanted: programming rock star.
    Must have bachelor’s degree in English Literature, Graduate degree in physics, MBA and PhD, or equivalent.
    Minimum ten years working in a related environment.
    Proficiency in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Omniture, Final Cut Pro, Autodesk, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Netsuite, HTML5, ASP, XML, Java, C++, CSS, Python, Tai Kwon Do, Hostage Negotiations ARE REQUIRED.
    Ability to create interactive prototypes, manage client relations, liaise with shareholders, sing a Bach cantata for countertenor.
    Fluency in English, French, Chinese, Russian, Esperanto A MUST.
    Five+ years experience with a software that came out three years ago.
    Must be a team player!

Employers demand a ridiculous number of skills and then complain that they can’t find anyone. Often, people are actually looking one person to do the job of three people, for the salary of just one.

Be reasonable. Ask for the skills you need. That’s how you will find the candidate you need.

Also, don’t use the term “rock star.”

Being clueless: Here’s a familiar scene – candidate shows up for the interview, bright eyed and bushy tailed. She’s been reading Workopolis, so she’s done her research on the company and the role for which she’s applying, because she knows that this is the number one thing hiring managers say makes a candidate stand out. She’s also ready to show her enthusiasm, because she knows that when it comes down to a choice between two equally qualified candidates, a majority of employers will choose the more enthusiastic one. Of course, she shows up on time.

She waits for 20 minutes, then 30, then 40 … finally some harried and distracted hiring manager rushes in and takes her into an interview room. They sit down. He starts shuffling through papers.

“It says here you … were … the assistant VP of marketing … at … Think Outside the Box Productions … so, tell me about yourself.”

She realizes he has no flipping idea who she is. He didn’t even look at her resume before the interview. She doesn’t know where to start.

If she’s smart, she doesn’t want this job. If someone can’t at least show a candidate the respect of prepping for that first meeting, what hope is there for a lasting relationship? The candidate is expected to come prepared, the least a hiring manager can do is do the same.

Not calling back after the interview: Job hunting is hard. Resumes are sent out into an abyss and met with radio silence. Introduction emails go unanswered. Candidates wait in vain to hear back after meetings. It can be enough to drive someone crazy and mess with their self confidence.

The most egregious form of this offense is not contacting the seeker after an interview to let them know that they did not get the job. They made the effort to attend the meeting(s). It’s the absolute least you can do.

Even better would be to follow up at each stage, to send an acknowledgement of receipt of the application package, to let each person know that they have not been selected for an interview, etc. But many would probably say this is unreasonable – though there are some great organizations that do go this extra step.

If you don’t have time, make the time.

It’s important to remember that every candidate is a potential ambassador, not to mention a potential customer. So, avoid these behaviours if you care about your employer brand – or just your brand in general.

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