Monday, July 08, 2019

Hiring Etiquette for Employers

We've all heard the usual advice for job seekers as they prepare for interviews:  prepare thoroughly, be punctual, ask good questions, follow up promptly with a thank you note, etc.   How about for employers?  Are there rules of etiquette that should apply to the interviewers and the firms that are hiring?  Sue Shellenbarger examines this question in the Wall Street Journal this week.   She argues that some firms are treating job seekers poorly, and in so doing, are hurting their reputation amongst qualified and talented candidates.  Therefore, these firms could find it much more difficult to attract talented people in the future. 

What are some examples of bad etiquette described by Shellenbarger?   First, some firms simply do not inform finalists that they have not been chosen for a job.   Others never respond or respond very late to inquiries from interviewees.   It seems that some hiring managers simply do not want to have the uncomfortable communication with a candidate that they rejected.  However, avoiding that conversation can have damaging effects on a firm's reputation.   Second, interviewers themselves are unprepared in some cases.  They behave poorly during an interview, or demonstrate that they are not ready to conduct a professional interview with the job seeker.   In some cases, they rely on technology to conduct virtual interviews, yet the interviewers are not adept at utilizing the technology.  Third, firms draft poorly defined job descriptions at times, or they seem to change the role in the midst of the hiring process.  Thus, they confuse job seekers.   Finally, some firms conduct a lengthy series of interviews and then do not fill the position at all.   Because they do not explain their actions to interviewees, they leave the the impression that they have may have been manipulating job seekers.  Shellenbarger tells the story of one job seeker who was asked to deliver a presentation with an innovative recommendation for an organization.   The enterprise never filled the job, and never followed up with the applicant.  The job seeker wondered whether the organization was simply using the interviews to collect free advice. 

I loved this article because it made the important point that a company has to consider how the conduct of a hiring process shapes the image of the organization moving forward.  The missteps in that hiring process can make it very difficult to attract the best candidates moving forward.  Etiquette is not just important for candidates.  Firms and their interviewers have to be professional as well.

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