Skip to content

A respectful hiring process

I have been on both sides of the hiring equation.  I’ve been the one dressing up slightly nicer than usual, google mapping directions to a strange place, and nervously arriving ten minutes early. I’ve also been the one doing phone screens, trying to fit interviewing into a packed schedule, providing resumes to other team members for review, and making the call on which of two candidates would serve my organization better. (Thankfully, I haven’t had to fire anyone yet.)

Hiring is not easy, for either party. That’s why I think a respectful hiring process is so important. What are key components of such a process?

From the employers perspective:

  • Be honest. Be as clear as you can about the job and the expectations around the job. Comp is hard to be totally clear about because there’s always a dance around this, but levels of comp can be pretty clearly stated in the job req (entry/junior/mid/senior)–which means you have to do the research for appropriate comp levels to fit your budget.
  • Have compassion. Remember what it is like to be on the other side of that call or table.
  • Keep track of all your applicants in a database (even just a issue tracker). This will allow you to make sure you don’t lose track of anyone (or their documents) and know where everyone is in the process. As a plus, I’ve also mined this database when other openings come up.
  • Set deadlines for yourself, and tell applicants about them. Far too often, once the process starts, communication comes it fits and starts. Setting deadlines forces you to communicate at expected times (even if the communication is just ‘we have to move the previously stated deadlines’, it is still welcome).
  • When an applicant isn’t a good fit (for whatever reason), or the position goes away, tell the applicant as soon as possible.

From the applicant’s perspective:

  • Only apply for jobs that you fit the requirements for, or at least most of them. Applications that clearly meet only one or none of the requirements are a waste of everyone’s time.
  • Be honest.
  • In an interview, when you don’t know, say you don’t know, but also say how you’d try to figure it out.
  • Realize that this isn’t just an interview, it’s a chance to make a connection. I’ve connected people who didn’t quite fit my requirements with other employers, and asked people I’ve interviewed with for technical advice. Treat the interview process as one stroke in a broader picture, rather than a test to be passed.

I’m sure I missed something–any other suggestions to make the hiring process more humane?