The Hiring Process Is Broken

The hiring process is broken. This is what we tell people who are struggling to find a job. And while there are entire industries that aren’t hiring, among those that are hiring, its true.

The combination of online applications, skills-based hiring, keyword matching, and a slow economy have resulted in an environment where too many organizations draw up elaborate job descriptions amounting to exhaustive wish lists for each opening. Apparently, the thinking is that, because they’re hiring in a slow economy, they can have anything they want, when they want it. And although it is good to be selective, there are limits.


  • Selectivity is only good to the degree recruiters are successful in filling positions.
  • An organization’s brand is only as good as how a candidate feels after they have applied for a job there.

A young fellow I know applied for Teller positions advertised at three different banks in his neighborhood. He tried online first, but nothing happened. Knowing these jobs will fill quickly, he grabbed his resume, put on a tie and went looking for hiring managers at the two nearest locations. He’s a little shy, but in both cases, they accepted his resume and indicated he would be contacted for the next step. We both know what would have happened if he hadn’t cold called them.

One colleague puts it this way: you just have to outwork the competition. Like most of us in the recruiting business, he’s well networked and takes calls weekly from friends seeking employment. Each has focused on a specific job. They call to see if he knows anyone at those companies. Multiply this approach across your network and you are far more likely to get a warm introduction, and move beyond the black hole of online applications.

While its easy for companies to defend their hiring processes, a job seeker’s perspective is different. Not only do you have to outwork the competition, you also have to find a way around the hiring process. Because its broken.


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