How to make the Recruitment process "more humane"
7 suggestions to recruiters & decision-makers, to avoid causing job-seekers avoidable pains while applying for jobs and being interviewed.
The recruitment process can be life-altering for the candidate, and even for the company. A good team is after all what decides the fate of any company, and every employee contributes towards it. Unfortunately, many times the recruiters and the decision-makers end up turning the selection process into a dreaded ordeal. I'm not saying that everyone does so on purpose, but, it seems to be the case in a huge chunk of the tech industry. This post is just my attempt at bouncing off some ideas that i think need to be heard by the recruitment industry, to help more eligible people to get good jobs.
How & Where a person learned their skills is not a factor
Your team needs a person that can complete the task, if the candidate is capable of doing so, then they are skilled enough. Having a formal education (or college degree) doesn't need to be considered better or worse than a self-taught candidate.
A self-taught person would have often shown miraculous determination, ability to self-motivate, overcome adversities and grasp concepts by themselves. But, let me be clear, i'm not saying that a formal education is any easier or displays any less calibre.
My point is that it shouldn't be a matter of one vs. the other. It should just be an unbiased evaluation of the candidate's abilities.
Consider candidates as 'people'
Inform them about rejections & acceptance as soon as possible. Don't let uncertainty loom or give false hope. A quick rejection is often less painful than no response. The impact you may be causing could be immeasurable. It is not just a job, it is a matter of 'life'. The candidate needs to plan ahead for their own life, and for that of their loved ones.
Kids may need new apt schools. Spouses may need to manage their time schedules. People having family members that need medical-assistance would need to make arrangements. Accomodation, travel, facilities ,etc. need to be managed. So many facets of life unnecessarily paused or floating in uncertainty. The sooner you give the candidate your decision, the sooner they can have more clarity and resume their next steps in life.
Along with making them quick, it would also be useful if the specific criteria that caused the rejection are conveyed to the candidate. This can help them improve themselves in those areas, hence increasing their chances of succeeding in their next interview.
It may seem like a chore, but if you've decided to reject the candidate, you are already fully aware of the shortcomings or the mis-alignment that is present between the role and the candidate. Spending a few minutes to convey this information can be immensely beneficial to the candidate, and can also give your company a reputation for being someone that doesn't view employees as a mechanical and easily replaceable stand-in.
Understand the actual requirements for the role
Casting a broad net to invite people from all possible tech/skills is a waste of your time & their efforts. Also, it just adds more cost to the company, along with drastically increasing the amount of irrelevant applications that your team will need to sift through.
Carefully crafting a set of requirements that are actually relevant to the specific role would be helpful for all involved. Unnecessarily including all possible terms into the vacancy ad will not just keep away some good candidates, but it could also lead you to hiring someone that may not be the best fit.
Including information about the relevant tech used, responsibilities that will come under the role and the soft-skills that are expected, can help to attract people who are more prepared for the job. This would also make freshers and self-taught candidates to evaluate themselves better and know that they have a chance to apply.
Realistic skill matching
Most roles don't need 100% knowledge of every aspect of a tech or language. What you actually need to find are candidates with enough fundamental knowledge, willingness to learn, ability to solve problems & have the right attitude towards others. Then you have a reliable & future-proof team-member.
Making the terms clear about what concepts will be mandatory for the daily fulfillment of the role, and then mentioning other requirements which could help to excel in the role, could help to give your company and potential applicants, a better understanding of the role.
Matching the candidate with the actual concepts that are needed to handle a majority of the role is probably enough. The rest can be learned on the job by a good candidate.
Denying candidates without considering that they have the potential to upgrade their skills is not helpful for either party.
Justice In Pay
A job is a means for an income...a way towards financial freedom. There is no denying it. So regardless of how fulfilling or useful a role is, an employee needs a pay that is justified for the effort required and the skills needed. Also, it needs to be a pay not discriminated based on gender, race, nationality, etc but on skill. The employee is not just handling your tasks, but is also contributing a daily chunk of their 'life' towards the job. They deserve to be compensated accordingly. All candidates, are human-beings that deserve equal respect
A hard-working individual being denied a decent life due to the biases or prejudices of people , is a stain on all of humanity.
Experiences over experience
For most jobs, what is required is the ability to solve problems that may arise, or create new things with the use of some basic technology/skills. A newbie that has tried doing a 100 projects or spent a lot of time & efforts on multiple projects could have enough(maybe even more) skills as a person experienced for years at a job. It is naturally subjective to the actual person and the job, but having years of experience alone shouldn't be a prime factor that is considered.
Sometimes a candidate may be proficient in handling the actual work , but may not know the relevant 'technical term' for what they are doing. Unless it is absolutely necessary for the job ,(maybe for example in case of a teaching role) , not knowing the exact terminology doesn't have to be a measure of the candidate's skills.
None of this is to point fingers or make it an US vs. THEM. The aim is to suggest that we are all actually part of the same ecosystem. A recruiter today may need to be a candidate tomorrow. A candidate today may own a company or be the decision-maker tomorrow. So, taking the right steps can help to reinforce that people putting enough effort can get a job without needing to rely on luck or the mood of the recruiter.
A robust 'process' being in place is certainly a necessity, but, the human element cannot be forgotten. A slight change in mindset, and willingness to evaluate the ramifications of the small decisions that are taken by people, could probably have a large and immediate impact for everyone.
Also, making things more humane for everyone helps the industry as a whole (not to mention, it is the right thing to do anyway). We need to remind ourselves that we belong to the same 'social animal' group (humans) that need to support each other to survive, and thrive. We should not stoop down to being predators and preys that fear each other or relish in the suffering of another.
This was obviously not some research-driven article, and is probably the exact opposite of it. So, I'm sure there'll be many disagreements to the points I've mentioned above. Feel free to add them in the comments so that we can learn from each other. The whole point is to have a healthy discussion about all this so that we can make each other aware and move forward towards whatever is right..together.