I’m very busily employed now, four weeks into an IT change management role, but still receiving occasional thanks-but-no-thanks emails from former prospects.
For the most part I’ve let the 100-or-so job application dismissals I’ve received go without comment, but feeling frisky with two shiny paychecks under my belt I felt compelled to respond to one today. I was polite, but wondered: where was my phone screen?
I have to preface the rest by stating that during my frustrating 8 month search I was very, very particular in my applications. Every one of over 220 attempts was for a role I believed I could perform, and easily 95% of those were job descriptions I matched closely if not exactly. I was not out to waste my time or any employer’s with left-field applications.
So it was with amusement/exasperation that I received response after canned response claiming other candidates were selected based on closer fits.
Okay, I can accept that after the interview process concludes… the question becomes, however: why did I not receive an interview?
Post-mortem analysis has in some cases suggested the original requisition was unclear or even in outright error. This has been confirmed for me in a small number of instances when the job was later relisted with additional or clarified details. I can accept that. Miscommunication between hiring managers and Human Resources is too common in my experience, but often not completely avoidable.
But that doesn’t explain the majority, where the position ends up being filled without me being offered a chance to sell myself beyond the submission of a resumé. Now, the first place to look is the resumé itself… but given feedback from the number of interviews I did enjoy combined with landing my current job, I’m satisfied that my resumé did its job well enough and in fact has been well-tested over the years.
So I’m still curious. I can speculate all day, but it would be nice to hear from people actually involved in the hiring process. Where is the harm in a 10-minute phone screen for people who clearly have all the right keywords? By its omission, you may be costing the company the best-qualified candidate. I understand that not everyone can be offered an extensive interview, but obvious matches should at the very least get a call to make sure you’re not letting the big one get away.
The irony of widespread economic decline is that HR staffs are often hit just like anyone else. A short-handed staff often doesn’t have the necessary time to employ due diligence in the resume screening process. In my opinion, HR staff should never be reduced just due to a general decline; they need to be retained to handle transitions and the eventual recovery! (Side note: my own recent release from Nokia was compounded by a simultaneous HR cut, a move I found to be foolish: the HR representatives supposedly helping us transition to another company spot or ultimately out had personal agendas that conflicted with our needs. At the very least, no one let go from an HR position should be also handling other released employees. Period.)
So recruiters and HR reps, think of this as a wake-up call. I assert that your process may be fatally flawed. Some instances of good fits not receiving the minimal courtesy of a phone screen can be explained away, but my instincts and analytical senses tell me that’s not true for the majority. So if you’re truly concerned about Getting The Right Person, take an objective look at your process. Do your own post mortem when you’re able and critically evaluate your selection and interview criteria. Odds are you’ve already blithely dismissed candidates whose selection would have reflected well on you.