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Why Do We Hate Hiring

  • February 26, 2024

Hiring is thankless and difficult. It is a complex and multifaceted process, fraught with challenges for both employers and candidates. It often feels like a painstaking ordeal, riddled with inefficiencies, miscommunications, and disappointments. This sentiment is echoed across industries, roles, and geographical boundaries. But why do we hate hiring? Let's delve into the myriad reasons behind the frustration that accompanies the hiring process.

The Complexity of Matching

From the Employer's Perspective

Finding the Right Fit: Employers are not just looking for a candidate with the right skills but also someone who fits their company culture. This dual requirement complicates the hiring process significantly, as assessing cultural fit is far more subjective and nuanced than evaluating technical competencies.

Volume of Applicants: For many positions, especially those in high-demand industries, employers receive an overwhelming number of applications. Sifting through these to find qualified candidates is a time-consuming process that can often feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Skill Verification: Verifying the skills and qualifications of candidates remains a significant challenge. Resumes and interviews can only reveal so much, and the lack of standardization in qualifications across different educational institutions and job experiences complicates matters further.

Cost: The hiring process is expensive. It involves not just the direct costs of advertising, background checks, and recruitment agencies, but also the indirect costs of time spent by staff on recruitment activities.

Creating a Job Description: Crafting an accurate and engaging job description is the first step in attracting the right candidates, but it's often easier said than done. Employers must balance between being specific enough to attract qualified candidates and broad enough to not deter potential talent with overly stringent requirements. This balancing act requires a deep understanding of the role, the skills necessary for success, and the type of personality that would fit the company culture, making it a challenging yet crucial task in the hiring process.

Fear of Making a Bad Decision: The prospect of making a poor hiring decision looms large over employers, as the implications can be costly both financially and in terms of team morale. This fear can lead to prolonged decision-making processes, where employers may hesitate or second-guess their choices, hoping to avoid the potential fallout of integrating a candidate who doesn't fit. Consequently, this apprehension not only slows down the hiring process but can also contribute to missed opportunities to bring on board talented individuals who could have made significant contributions to the organization.

From the Candidate's Perspective

Lack of Feedback: Many candidates express frustration at the lack of communication from employers post-interview. This lack of feedback leaves them in the dark about their performance and areas for improvement.

Application Processes: The application process itself can be daunting, with some companies requiring lengthy forms, assessments, and even assignments to be completed. This can be particularly frustrating when it leads to no response or a generic rejection email.

Job Descriptions: Often, job descriptions are either too vague or list an unrealistic number of requirements, making it hard for candidates to know whether they are truly a fit for the role. This can lead to qualified candidates self-selecting out of the application process.

Automated Screening Tools: Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage the influx of resumes. However, these systems can sometimes filter out good candidates due to overly rigid criteria or a lack of keyword optimization in the resume.

The Impact of Technology

While technology has undoubtedly made certain aspects of hiring easier, it has also introduced new challenges. ATS systems, while efficient, often lack the nuance to accurately assess a candidate's suitability for a role. Similarly, the rise of social media and professional networking sites has made it easier to find candidates, but also harder to sift through the noise. 

Challenges Introduced by Technology

Over-Reliance on ATS Systems: While Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have made it easier to manage large volumes of applications, they often lack the ability to fully understand the nuances of a candidate's experience and potential. As a result, qualified candidates may be overlooked because they did not use the specific keywords the ATS was programmed to identify.

Quality vs. Quantity: The ease of applying to jobs online has led to a surge in the number of applications for many positions, not all of which are from qualified candidates. This inundation can make it challenging for employers to identify the truly suitable candidates among the masses.

The Paradox of Choice: With professional networking sites and social media platforms, employers have access to an extensive pool of potential candidates. However, this abundance of choice can actually make the decision-making process more difficult, leading to analysis paralysis or making it harder to commit to a hiring decision.

Bias in Technology: Despite advancements, technology is not free from bias. Algorithms and machine learning models are only as unbiased as the data they are trained on. There's a risk of perpetuating existing biases in hiring practices if these technologies are not carefully audited and adjusted.

The Human Touch: Technology can sometimes depersonalize the hiring process, reducing candidates to data points rather than individuals with unique stories and potential. This depersonalization can negatively impact the candidate experience and overlook aspects of a candidate's profile that would make them a great fit for the role and company culture.

Security and Privacy Concerns: With the digitization of personal information, there are increased risks associated with data breaches and misuse of candidate information. Both employers and candidates need to be vigilant about the platforms they use and the information they share.

The Human Element

At its core, hiring is fundamentally about people, reflecting the complexity and depth of human interactions and aspirations. The subjective nature of evaluating candidates' cultural fit and potential introduces a layer of unpredictability that no technological tool or process can fully mitigate. This inherent uncertainty often results in frustration for both employers and candidates; employers may struggle to identify the perfect match for their team, while candidates may feel marginalized or misunderstood, believing their unique capabilities and experiences are not adequately recognized. Moreover, the human element underscores the importance of empathy and communication in the hiring process, reminding us that beyond skills and qualifications, building meaningful connections and understanding between employers and potential employees is crucial for successful recruitment.

The Economic and Social Context

The broader economic and social context also plays a significant role in the hiring process. Economic downturns, skill shortages, and changing industry needs can all make hiring more difficult. Furthermore, issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion add another layer of complexity to the hiring process, as companies strive to create more inclusive workplaces.

Towards Better Hiring Practices

Despite these challenges, there are steps that both employers and candidates can take to improve the hiring process. 

For employers, strategies might include:

  • Streamlining the application process to make it more candidate-friendly.
  • Providing clear, realistic job descriptions.
  • Offering constructive feedback to candidates post-interview.
  • Utilizing technology judiciously, ensuring that it aids rather than hinders the hiring process.

For candidates, strategies might include:

  • Tailoring resumes and cover letters to the specific job and company.
  • Seeking feedback and continually improving interview skills.
  • Networking and building relationships in the industry.

The hiring process is inherently challenging, given its goal of matching complex human beings with equally complex organizational needs. While technology and improved processes can help, at its heart, hiring will always involve navigating the intricacies of human behavior and preferences. Both employers and candidates can work towards better outcomes by approaching the process with empathy, openness, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Only through concerted effort on both sides can the hiring process become less of a burden and more of an opportunity for growth and connection.

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